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Google Wins KinderStart - Suit Dismissed
Brett_Tabke




msg:3287858
 11:49 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

[news.yahoo.com...]

In its suit, the company argued its site's sudden demotion in March 2005 to a "zero" ranking in Google's search system had severely harmed its business.

KinderStart had sought class action status on behalf of what is said were many other sites that suffered the same fate as Google fine-tunes Web site rankings in search results.

"KinderStart had failed to explain how Google caused injury to it by a provably false statement ... as distinguished from an unfavorable opinion about KinderStart.com's importance," the judge's ruling states.


 

onefiddle




msg:3287860
 11:54 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

A judge makes a good ruling in a lawsuit case for once.

treeline




msg:3287882
 12:19 am on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

What? Some people aren't as important as they think they are?

Say it ain't so!

;)

walkman




msg:3287890
 12:34 am on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

this is smart. Now all they have to do is remove the directory, add a few pages for "KinderStart in publishing" and submit a re-inclusion request. They suffered a few years, but they did get plenty of links.

Pf course, once the penalty is removed, "KinderStart in Poker" would be interesting. :)

cabbagehead




msg:3287975
 2:58 am on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

See - I disagree with the 3 comments above.

On one level yes, Google can do what they want in their results; its their company. But you must also look at the bigger picture here; to stop the is over-simplifying the issue.

Google has kind of become the defacto gateway to the Internet, which they do NOT own. This is pretty similar to the issues with AT&T of yester-year. They are a private company built on top of a *public* domain and control the dominant user interface for that domain. as such they are a monopoly of the domain.

This would not be a big deal in-and-of-itself, if they had well-published and well-understood criteria for doing well in the search engines but the fact they can decide your destiny (unless you pay for their sponsored results) is little better than letting a single thug control main street and decide who gets the best storefronts. Oh and by the way that thug generally gives better positions to those who pay him for his other services (read between the lines as pay to play!).

Yes, there is absolutely a problem with this. And Google knows it, which is why they formed the PAC committee in Washignton last year. It is just a matter of time until this simmer turns to a boil... and they're getting ready for it as we speak.

Keniki




msg:3287978
 3:03 am on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think several cases regarding pagerank had also been won so there was a precedent here. I also think the judgement is correct as pagerank is the previlage of google to determine. To argue why pagerank was taken is futile, far better as other people have posted to try to resolve the problem. I am sure a email dealt with by Adam or Matt would have cost far less than the lawyers....

Keniki




msg:3287979
 3:09 am on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

This caught my eye and would like to reply

This would not be a big deal in-and-of-itself, if they had well-published and well-understood criteria for doing well in the search engines but the fact they can decide your destiny (unless you pay for their sponsored results) is little better than letting a single thug control main street and decide who gets the best storefronts. Oh and by the way that thug generally gives better positions to those who pay him for his other services (read between the lines as pay to play!).

I see many sites doing very well on search results with very little pagerank and outranking sites with far superior page rank right now.Also see many sites that do not advertise with google doing very well.

[edited by: Keniki at 3:11 am (utc) on Mar. 21, 2007]

koan




msg:3287990
 3:26 am on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, there is absolutely a problem with this.

Internet traffic from a search engine is not a right, it's a privilege. Back in the days, the only traffic you would get is from external links, directories or offline marketing, which they still can do. And Google Policies are pretty straight forward. They may not list every little prohibited methods to gain importance in their eyes, but it is clear: if your obvious intent is to cheat their algorithm, they will discard your site one of these days. As a private company, they are not the white pages of the internet, more like the yellow pages. KinderStart deserved all they got, especially after this frivolous lawsuit.

treeline




msg:3288028
 5:00 am on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google doesn't control the dominant gateway to the internet. They offer an opinion on what you may find most interesting. Many others do this as well, though currently most people like Google's opinion better so stop by to check their advice often.

Google isn't out of control: they answer (daily) to a far harsher master than even the courts -- public favor and the marketplace. In an instant everything Google has built could slip away from them if someone starts offering opinions on the best websites to visit that people find more to their tastes. Altavista, Excite, Lycos all offered once-treasured opinions on where we should surf, but someone came along with more popular opinions and they can hardly get a date now.

Search engines & directories fight site owners dictating how they express their opinions because it could make them less attractive to the public at large and thereby boost another search engine's position. To survive Google must struggle constantly to provide the best guide to where to go on the internet possible. Otherwise they leave an opening that someone WILL drive a truck through. A Brinks truck.

Receptional




msg:3288162
 9:55 am on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Oh and by the way that thug generally gives better positions to those who pay him for his other services (read between the lines as pay to play!).

I wish that were true from a selfish perspective - but it really isn't. The truth is that in general, those that can afford to pay to play can also afford to build online brand and (dare I say) search friendly sites.

Google itself does not link the two algos as far as I know.

WhiteWebServices




msg:3288235
 11:26 am on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know what, specifically, KinderStart did to lose their rankings?

(Not that it changes Google's right to include sites in or exclude sites from its rankings at will.)

Yogesh Sarkar




msg:3288369
 2:05 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

It would be like saying a blogger who once liked you article removed the link (which he had himself put online) which whipped out your traffic, so you eligible to sue that person!

The only difference here is the fact google has deep pockets and good traffic and few people think they deserve a part of it and when that does not happens they can sue google and get preferential treatment by bullying them.

piconsulting




msg:3288371
 2:07 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

wws: They just got hit by the superbowl update in Feb 2005 and decided that because their organic (free) rankings sucked, it gave them the right to sue.

p5gal5




msg:3288429
 2:49 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I spoke with the head counsel (Yu) pretty extensively when he and the two plaintiffs faked pubcon passes in Vegas and snuck into a Google-sponsored event. Or, should I say, he spoke at me and I (kindly) pointed out that a company cannot sue Google for having a flawed business model.

At the time of the loss in pagerank, KinderStart was a MFA directory with no alternate revenue streams. He claimed that the loss of PR (NOT a loss of traffic) resulted in a loss of trust of their users, thus making them less likely to click on their ads. There were so many things wrong with his claims that I didn't even know where to begin.

While I agree that any one company having such control over companies' incomes is concerning, this was an extremely poor, unorganized, unsubstantiated lawsuit.

crobb305




msg:3288430
 2:50 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

They just got hit by the superbowl update in Feb 2005 and decided that because their organic (free) rankings sucked, it gave them the right to sue.

Odds are, if they had just waited, and worked on their site (in whatever way they could), and didn't raise such a fuss, they may have been back in Google and ranking well by now.

irr1449




msg:3288517
 3:53 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Google has kind of become the defacto gateway to the Internet, which they do NOT own. This is pretty similar to the issues with AT&T of yester-year. They are a private company built on top of a *public* domain and control the dominant user interface for that domain. as such they are a monopoly of the domain."

Maybe we should just have 1 search engine run by the government search.gov and have it run completely fair and equal. Every business will rotate into the top spot for a specific period of time equal to (Total business in industry) / (24*60*60), Therefore everyone will have an equal amount of time at #1. The only down side is that it might take 6 years to be spidered.

crobb305




msg:3288580
 4:30 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Maybe we should just have 1 search engine run by the government search.gov and have it run completely fair and equal.

Which government?

kevinpate




msg:3288628
 5:14 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

G is no more "the defacto gateway to the Internet" than a California beach is the gateway to the Pacific ocean.

Ok, it's popular. Yeah, lots of folks like to go there to see, and to be seen, but at the end of the day, pretty much the same can be said for other beaches.

Lots of ways to play without pay, not all as successful as others, but they exist.

I suppose overall the savings on publicity may have offset the attorney fees and costs of suit, but if not, it's an even sillier gimmick than it seemed to be when the first shot went over the bow.

gibbergibber




msg:3288830
 8:10 pm on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

--Google has kind of become the defacto gateway to the Internet, which they do NOT own. This is pretty similar to the issues with AT&T of yester-year.--

No, it's not similar at all.

People use Google entirely 100% out of choice, there's absolutely no obligation to use it at all.

If I wanted to use something else, I could use Yahoo.com or Live.com, and I would suffer no penalty for doing so. I can do so at any time, and indeed I often do try other search engines to see if they find more interesting sets of results.

The fact that people choose to use Google is purely because Google's brand is so strong, not because they control any infrastructure of any kind. It's the same reason people choose Coke instead of Pepsi, or chocolate cake instead of cheesecake.

hybrid6studios




msg:3289920
 4:49 pm on Mar 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

From a marketing point of view, KinderStart is ridiculous. Companies need to have a broad spectrum of revenue-generating marketing efforts, not just SEO and Google. I always tell clients to not depend solely on SEO, or Adwords, or any other single marketing effort. Everything will fail you for a day, week, month or more at some point, so it's good to have several channels to pick up the slack if one channel fails. Sometimes things are out of your control (temporarily). They could get their rankings back by fixing whatever caused the penalty, but since they were relying only on Google, they were screwed. That's their own fault.

ispy




msg:3293873
 1:58 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yea, the lawsuit was weird. But do you really care? I mean Google is not on my list of compassionate companies and I'm sure it worried little about how the financial losses involved would effect the rest of us.

Marcia




msg:3293895
 2:32 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know what, specifically, KinderStart did to lose their rankings?

No one can ever know for sure, but my guess is that this is what they were doing, and still are:

[webmasterworld.com...]

subgraphs in the web link graph which may have incoming edges, but have no edges to other components. Link spammers often generate such structures in attempts to hoard rank. Analysis of the nonprincipal eigenvectors of may lead to strategies for combating link spam.

Now someone will say "But, but, but - lot of sites use redirect scripts, like for tracking purposes."

Yes they do, but the visitor does end up at the sites linked to that they clicked on because they want to go to the site - don't they? Isn't that what's usually normal for a resource directory? Or is it usual practice to get bunches and bunches of links in and then, if someone clicks on your links to other sites, open those other sites with a frame and never let visitors leave your site to go to the one they wanted to?

Just MHO, of course.

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