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Google Lawsuit Dismissed

     

Brett_Tabke

7:05 pm on May 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



SearchKings suit against Google has been dismissed. Judge grants Googles motion to dismiss:

[gooogle.searchking.com...]

...the court finds that under Oklahoma law, protected speech -- in this case PageRanks -- cannot give rise to a claim of tortious interference with contractual relations because it cannot be considered wrongful, even if the speech is motivated by hatred or ill will.

littleman

10:41 pm on May 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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And so ends another episode of "How the PR Turns"

dazz

11:06 pm on May 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Fair point i say that google won but! If SK had won that would be the end of the google toole bar......would that have been a bad thing?

EliteWeb

11:12 pm on May 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member eliteweb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I dont think that would have been the end of the toolbar if google were to lose.

This case was stupid, you can not profit off of someone else. if your selling lotto tickets for a company and that person doesnt win who bought it from you because your sources were wrong, you gonna sue the lotto? Im glad SK lost, lame cases for suits. We as SEOs have intentions to get people higher on the search engines or to get more traffic, we're playing a broken game, walken the line, rebels if you will. If google doesnt like us we dont whine, ok maybe we do, but we dont sue people because of us trying to CHEAT them and make profit off of it.

:D

MJR

11:39 pm on May 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Apparently some are having trouble gaining access to the above link to view the copies of the legal documents.

[added] The above link apears to be available now

[edited by: MJR at 11:58 pm (utc) on May 30, 2003]

Brett_Tabke

11:40 pm on May 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



This case was far from frivolous. This one is difficult, because I could see both sides of this arguement with equal merit. It was hard getting ones emotions out of the way and seeing the case purely based on the facts.

Regardless of the final outcome, I hope this isn't seen as defacto precedent setting case that may discourage others from taken action if they feel their rights have been violated.

Although Bob King lost this round, he did win a moral victory in getting Google to admit they had tweaked the PR numbers.

EliteWeb

11:54 pm on May 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member eliteweb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



If your exploiting something in my system using it to your advantage then going about and selling this fact I feel I can make the changes to have it so your methods don't do any good.

I see it from both angles also and see how this damaged them but they did play that fine line. Google doesn't sell how to get higher PR, your using the information you gained to achieve your positions, taking advantage of someones system. I do it, you do it, we all do it, and when google changes something, or gives someone PR0 either manually or automated they've pulled yer plug :D

Its a fun game, and yes it was fun to see google say they did tweak SK's ranking, something google seems to rarely admit to :) I think there will be much more lawsuits to come and many wont end up in the result this one did.

WileECoyote

11:54 pm on May 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Okay...so maybe I'm confused here. Isn't it Google's right to tweak numbers that THEY come up with in the first place? Otherwise...every one would be suing the pants off of the search engines every time they update their algo.

Brett_Tabke

11:56 pm on May 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Let's not go down that road again of a rehash - it was talked about in depth last round.
[webmasterworld.com...]
[webmasterworld.com...]

MJR

12:08 am on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Many may see this as being over. Frankly I see this as just round one. With the judge dismissing the case, and for the reasons sited, this now opens the door for Google to *potentially* do two things.

1. File litigation against SearchKing, Inc. (PR Ad Network) for using their PageRank system as a means for profit. I do expect that SearchKing will be served with a cease and desist order at the very least.

2. Completely devalue ALL of SearchKing, Inc. holdings and thus sites affiliated with SearchKing, i.e. their Portal Network. And consequently remove SearchKing and their holdings from their database.

It will be interesting to see what develops over the next few weeks :)

Mike_Mackin

12:22 am on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Please just let this subject die.
I could post 27.5 possible things that could happen next.

It is over.

Marcia

1:43 am on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



>>possible things that could happen next

That has now got me thinking, though. This could have serious negative impact on people operating in certain spaces who rely on the type of promotion that's link reliant which it's usually necessary to buy advertising space or text ads for - particularly those sites that are best left unconnected to other sites they're associated with.

What this suit inadvertantly did, though I'm sure it wasn't anywhere near the intention and probably not anticipated, was to provide a test case which ended in a precedent-setting decision that will decide the course of future suits if any should ever arise.

There are a few very high profile sites out there that use different linking and advertising formats and methodologies that we could see hit before long by Google. Now that this case has been decided, the way has been cleared for them to go ahead and do so.

>over

This one episode is over, but it might not be over for others doing the same thing, albeit on the quiet, now that this decision has been made public.

It would be naive to think that Google isn't aware of at least a good portion of the sites that are doing this, and it's possible that they've held off until now awaiting the outcome before taking action.

People personally affected will be unlikely to reveal it, but in the event a sweep has been waiting in the wings, the next few months should be very interesting to watch, although with all the PR aberrations we're seeing it will make it harder to detect if some sites happen to get hit amidst the general confusion.

With some it may well be not only possible, but possibly probable. For some it may just be starting.

Morgan

2:57 am on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Isn't his name Bob Massa, not Bob King? I did think Google penalizing what he was doing was hypocritical and stupid, but I'm glad they can't be sued for it. I was a happy SK customer for the month before it blew up, just recovering now, and I was definitely upset at the time. Even though I know it won't last forever, I'm glad that for now at least, companies still have control over what they do with their site.

lukasz

4:15 am on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



EliteWeb, as Brett said it wasn't a frivolous case. Anyone who want to post in this thread should read the judgement first.

skipfactor

5:31 am on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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EliteWeb
we dont sue people because of us trying to CHEAT them and make profit off of it

Brings to mind a case where a thief enters a residence and in the process of ripping off the homeowner, injures himself due to "shoddy construction" and subsequently sues the homeowner for negligence. However, in this case the plaintiff wins.

PeterD

5:57 am on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



What's interesting is how confused the court was about Page Rank (confusing PR with rank in the results). Still, it seems like they came to the right conclusion. Definitely worth a read.

percentages

6:26 am on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Google's users have the right to be told that Google does not live up to its own propaganda:

>PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value.

>Google's complex, automated methods make human tampering with our results extremely difficult.

Above from: [google.com...]

Both of these statements are fundamentally untrue, and it appears, for right or wrong, protected because Google argued First Amendment privileges, thereby making them untrue.

Dismissed today, another battle for tomorrow.

I don't know how Google users are going to become as familiar with this subject as some webmasters....major news media are not likely to run it because the general public will not understand it in the allotted 30 second slot.

I don't like what SK did, but I like less the way Google is behaving!

Irony: MS got to where they are today because they weren't challenged early, about the only thing stopping Google now is MS (& possibly Yahoo!).

EliteWeb

6:33 am on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member eliteweb is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



The documentation was a good read what was even better was the comments on the site and the documents to settle the case before hand.

rtfmnews

4:24 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It's a pretty simple deal here. It's over anyway.

PageRank is an objective measurement, and it might not be an opinion when it comes out of the algorithm. Once Google decides to adjust it (apply a penalty), that penalty is an opinion.

roundabout

4:25 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



... SK didn't intend to create "a precedent-setting decision that will decide the course of future suits if any should ever arise"

This ruling is not a precedent that can be used in other courts. An order by a federal District court is not authority for other District courts ... you need an an appellate court ruling for that.

rtfmnews

4:49 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It only sets a precedent within that district, but the principle is sound, the reasoning is sound, and Google will win that case in any court throughout the U.S., if anyone wants to try it again somewhere else.

roundabout

5:03 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



>>> Google will win that case in any court throughout the U.S.

Not necessarily. The dismissal was based on the court's interpretation of Oklahoma law and the Jefferson County case, which is a 10th Circuit case. These factors would likely have almost no influence on a similar suit filed, say, in NYC.

rtfmnews

5:06 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The first amendment is part of the U.S. Constitution, not the 'western district of Oklahoma' constitution. If anyone can cite a ruling from any higher court that says opinions aren't protected speech, let's hear about it.

john316

5:06 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Lawyers have a tendency to get too lofty, a simple slander suit makes more sense.

>>PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value.<<

You told the world my site is unimportant , of low quality and lacks value..(and that cost me a bundle).

rtfmnews

5:15 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Unless you can *prove* that a statement is false, it's free speech. I also believe that SearchKing is unimportant, of low quality and lacks value. Now sue me.

roundabout

5:29 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



>> If anyone can cite a ruling from any higher court that says opinions aren't protected speech, let's hear about it.

You're assuming other courts are going to agree that SERPs are merely opinions. This may not be the case.

EquityMind

6:06 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)



I still hold that this was a frivilous lawsuit to begin with filed by a big whiner. Glad to see that Google won, they are a private company and can do as they see fit. No one should be able to tell you how you can run your own business.

rtfmnews

6:34 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If you can't prove that there is an exact, correct objective order for the SERPs, they're an opinion.

roundabout

6:49 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



>> they are a private company and can do as they see fit

private or public status is irrelevant

>> If you can't prove that there is an exact, correct objective order for the SERPs, they're an opinion

that's a good argument ... however, a creative lawyer might be able to argue that Google is not really commenting on sites, but rather providing access to information, and thus has a higher duty

what if google also decided to not allow searchking to buy adwords ... would that be ok too?

steve128

7:21 pm on May 31, 2003 (gmt 0)



The moral of the story, sell PR by all means...but do not advertise the fact.
As most don't, you are a sponsor...other resources etc etc ;-
This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38
 

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