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Google: EU Antitrust Fine is "Inappropriate"

     
6:51 pm on Nov 3, 2015 (gmt 0)

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You'll all recall the EU statement of objections (see link below) and here's the latest reply from Google which Reuters managed to see.

Google is saying it's offering a free search service, and that there's "no trading relationship" between it and it's search users, hence the statement from Google that a fine, potentially as much as $.6.6 billion, would be "inappropriate."

"Imposing a fine in the present case would be inappropriate. The novelty of the statement of objections' theory, the selection of the case for commitment negotiation and Google's good faith participating in these negotiations militate against the imposition of a fine," the document said.

Google said it should not be charged with abusing its dominance in Europe as it provided a free search service.

"The statement of objections fails to take proper account of the fact that search is provided for free. A finding of abuse of dominance requires a 'trading relationship' as confirmed by consistent case law. No trading relationship exists between Google and its users." Google: EU Antitrust Fine is "Inappropriate" [uk.reuters.com]


Google Challenges the European Commission's Statement of Objections [webmasterworld.com]
6:48 pm on Dec 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Here's why:

1.) Google promotes the pirate content by elevating it to the top of the serps over the legitimate sources, even when it is broken, of poor quality, thin etc. & very obviously of inferior quality to the legitimate sources. Quality is subjective but some things are just obvious.

2.) Google ignores about 50% of my DMCA orders. They often make the ridiculous claim that they could not find the infringed content on the page when the infringed content is very obviously the ONLY thing on the page & is clearly visible.

3.) Even when Google responds to a DMCA and delists or demotes a particular piece of content... that same piece of content, at the same URL, from the same site is within days or weeks allowed to reappear in the serps and again climb to outrank the legitimate sources.

4.) In my case the pirate sites & pages containing the pirate content are without fail monetized by Google Adsense. In no case has Google ever closed the offenders Adsense account or forwarded any of the earnings to me. The offenders get a useless warning and are allowed to continue doing it over & over & over.

5.) Google image results which outrank all the legitimate sources are made up almost entirely of stolen images which if followed lead to sites providing illegal, pirate downloads of copyright protected content.

6.) Google YouTube results which outrank all the legitimate sources are made up largely of videos created with pirate content which in the descriptions lead to sites providing illegal, pirate downloads of copyright protected content.

7.) Google knows that it is impossible for me or anyone to force a site from overseas to remove offending content. Without fail the infringers are from far-flung countries not subject to U.S. law. Google is a U.S. company with a responsibility to play fair. My only direct recourse with the offenders is to threaten their standing with Google search or Adsense but Google fails to uphold their responsibility so my threats ring hollow.

Good enough or shall I continue?
9:01 pm on Dec 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There are 188 membered countries of a potential 196 in WIPO. Non-members are the states of Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, & Timor-Leste.

[wipo.int...]

Since you have an attorney and you attempted a lawsuit against Google while ignoring the pirates themselves and your attorney is no sucker I'm sure they can figure out how to leverage WIPO.

It would be substantially cheaper and easier than filing a lawsuit against Google.
10:20 pm on Dec 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Not sure why you believe Google is the pirate!
Napster was not a pirate either. They categorized stolen work too. The difference between Napster and Google is how they monetize the stolen work. Profiting from theft, no matter what type of theft it is, should be unlawful in any country. But when you are one of the big boys, you can write the laws and that's what Google has done. Does it make it right that Google profits from theft? No. But taking all the credit and profits from other people's work is Google's business model.
10:36 pm on Dec 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In ever post you include at least one baseless lie. In your better posts you present at least one piece of actual info. Info that is easy to find & info that does no good when Google simply refuses to comply. With your every response you seem to have misunderstood the whole point of what I've said. Maybe thats my fault.

You assume & baselessly assert that I or others in my position "ignore" the pirate sites and focus solely on Google when I (and others) have clearly indicated otherwise. Your google searches about how this all should work just don't outweigh the actual experience.

Here's why we sometimes put on the tinfoil hat and wonder out-loud what possible motivation one could have to grasp at every straw & invent whatever fact they need to disprove a persons experience or even their theories. It's almost as infuriating as it is boring... almost.

Piracy is just one part of all this. Piracy is just one of several different categories of crap that a lot of legitimate content & sites are currently buried by in google serps.

Fathom does make one good point though. An answer could lie in turning to international or foreign laws to seek relief... or at least change.
11:19 pm on Dec 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@raseone Some tips:
1) Get rid of your f_t_a site. It's dreadful, spammy, over-optimised internal links, pages 404 and most likely hit with Panda (I didn't check timelines). It also may be perceived to duplicate your g_f site, which is therefore potentially also hit with Panda. 301 pages to your g_f site if necessary.
2) You've hidden the whois on all 3 sites of yours I've looked at and there's no contact address or staff details on any. Google (and users) hate this as you cannot be trusted. Unsurprising that Google doesn't want to rank you.
3) Your g_f site also looks dreadful. Have you ever seen a high ranking site look like that? Stop thinking about your graffiti 'brand' and think about user experience. The foreign spam sites that are stealing your content look far less spammy than your g_f site.
4) From what I've seen of your stuff in the serps, you haven't been entirely transparent with describing relative rankings. When I run searches, I typically see in order (1) a number of genuine sites selling your products, (2) spam sites, (3) your site(s). So this isn't as simple as pirates destroying your sales. The impact of those pirate sites is debatable. The biggest positive impact to you would be to get your sites to the top of the serps by fixing them.
5) As I and others have said, many businesses suffer someone stealing their ideas, or a competitor stealing their sales, or a customer not paying their bill, etc. The problems you face are no different to anyone else's. The successful ones focus on ensuring that their offering is sufficiently fabulous that the crap that happens is minor collateral damage. But, much like your contempt for forum rules, you deem it necessary to put all your effort into proving you're right rather than focusing on being an excellent webmaster.
6) Your artwork and fonts are absolutely amazing.
7) Stop spamming this forum with your pretty speeches.

@mrengine I totally agree, but Google isn't profiting in this case. So not relevant here.
12:36 am on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Simon H wants very badly to provide unsolicited tech support. Nice try. By all means keep researching who I am & wandering around sites I built 12 years ago and sites I abandoned entirely 2 years ago. That will surely get us right to the bottom of this google issue.

Also keep throwing buzzwords like "spammy" & "over optimized" at my 100% original content. Keep trying to paint that picture that I'm some sort of black hat. Keep responding to me & asking me to stop responding in the same breath. It seems to be working.
3:06 am on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I find it strangely reassuring that on April 11, 2011 [moz.com...] Google launched PANDA 2.0 that affected around 2% of its global archive. That's on the neighorhood of say a few hundred million pages of crap, back then. And while you claim you are a victim of a false positive Google has had somewhere north of 30 updates to fix your false positive and yet it continued to return a quality score of crap. Go figure!

I find it quite refreshing that it took you 2 1/2 years before you posted your problem here [webmasterworld.com...] because when you're penalized, sites that are not penalized will indeed out rank websites that are devalued not because the other websites aren't dong anything wrong but because you got caught and they likely haven't. Only a novice wouldn't sus that out.

I'm 100% that if you actually registered your content and provided Google your issuance number they would not only shutdown the problem Adsense Publisher accounts, they would reimburse you at least the fees they made from the piracy, they knew nothing about. Course if you can't prove you own it that indeed is the first hurdle to fix. They do this for everyone else, but earlier in this thread you mocked Adsense revenue, which suggest you mock Google's earnings by proxy.

It is important to note there are only a handful of cases since April 11, 2011 that went before the US Courts where Google is the defendant and none are about Adsense or Piracy. So clearly you never file any action, contrary to your claim. When you have no rights it is too expensive to seek damages through legal means.

You posted a secong thread publicly [webmasterworld.com...] and I posted in that thread and then you also posted in the members lounge for a review of your website.

It is interesting that someone noted Napster here.... And your product seems audio related, if your audio scores themselves are not your original creative expressions but borrowed from other artists without any licensing agreement from the creator. That is illegal in itself and it is clear no NON sucker attorney would touch that. Course I am only pondering over your claims and why Google hasn't ever like them since April 11, 2011.

Then took another 2 1/2 year hiatus before starting your rhertoric again.

Your audio widgets sound like webspam so if the shoe fits ... Run with that.

Please point out my lies... I am more than happy to address them.

BTW BLACKHAT means violating Google's Guidelines (which you are). Clearly 30 updates of PANDA means you never got nailed by "1" false positive... But 30 of them, suggesting a clear trend ... You just don't have a clue what original creative expression is.
4:31 am on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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raseone your website has ZERO backlinks, it's no wonder just about anyone can outrank you for your own stuff. Contrary to google "guidelines", building your links is fine. Its only in the SEO community where every statement John Mueller or Matt Cutts makes is taken so seriously and blown out of proportion. Build some links to your website and see what happens :)
5:26 am on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@masterjoe

I assume you're talking about one of my own sites and not a clients. Last time I checked I had over 20,000 incoming links to each of a few sites. Some of these sites are over 15 years old. There are many thousands of perfectly valid, completely natural incoming links to my sites. I've never bought or traded a link or done any link building. No fake blog articles or links in the footers of my client sites or any of that.

There was a period of time a couple years ago where the number jumped over 50k on one one site which I assume was some sort of seo attack... but I really didn't look into it because I totally refuse to make any attempt at policing links to my site. I can't control who links to me & I wont try. The number had shrunk back down to about 20k last time I looked. I probably wont look into that.

I have mixed feelings about the whole backlink issue. I can see how it makes sense for a search engine to value incoming links from trusted authoritative sites. That makes sense. Punishing a site for bad incoming links seems irrational. people have no control over this. it would make more sense to place no value at all on links from site with no authority or unknown authority.

@fathom

You are waaaaaaay off, lying as usual & completely full of it. Plenty of my original content is protected by copyright registration. My issue has nothing to do with any audio. I didn't wait 2 years for anything. I didn't get "caught" doing anything. Your certainty is incompatible with reality. I find your desire to make up fictional stories about me weird & suspicious. I will not address you any further.
5:56 am on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I agree -- one of my competitors has recently dropped off the first page which moved my site up one spot. Unfortunately he got spammed with gay #*$! links, which I am sure nobody would try to build on purpose. Google seem to think it's only SEO people who do link building, when just about anybody can go to fiverr and blast someones site for $5. I was quite happy to compete legitimately (to a reasonable extent) and make the best site in my niche, but now I think that getting a #1 or #2 spot is grounds for getting spammed. My link profile is pristine right now, apart from one crappy profile link I did not build, but I am not going to be "disavowing" anything on this particular website. Its been over a year since Penguin refreshed, I think they know exactly what they are doing in terms of extracting money from people. they punished a good number of small businesses to make way for larger sites promoting Amazon and adsense garbage on their websites, as well as parallel to that, getting smaller advertisers to start paying for traffic that doesn't even deliver.
6:44 am on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@materjoe
Exactly. When you strip away all the smoke & mirrors it's really pretty simple. Heres something that ads some intrigue to my particular case.

Years ago, before adwords and adsense were open to the public... maybe 2004? I got a weird email from an actual human at Google. I was told that I had a quality site that offered free content of high quality & value & I was offered an opportunity to help test Googles new Ad offering. After a short exchange I accepted. It went well. A year or two went by. Adsense money was small but helpful & did not seem to bother my users much. There was limited intermittent contact with Google as I spread adsense to several other sites.

Later, maybe 2006 I received another email from an actual google human. They wanted to come to my house to interview me & learn about how I run my business 7 my sites. I was again told that the reason is that my sites & my products are cool, unique & of high quality & value in basically those exact words. 3 Google employees came to my home and interviewed me & reviewed my sites & my strategies for over an hour. It was videotaped. My main thought was just how disappointed I was that the free gift they had played up in email turned out to be a crappy water bottle with a Google logo.

another year or 2 went by and I was invited to the Google campus with about 60 other webmasters for a meeting about Adsense. During that meeting some apparently sensitive heatmaps were displayed which drew a concern from one of the Googlers. A Second Googler assured him that it was "ok". "everyone here has been whitelisted".

Thee metting ended with individual, 1 on 1 counseling with each of us about our sites and strategies at which point I was once again complimented and honored with praise on my awesome sites and cool creations. I asked the Googler why these particular people were chosen. She replied that it was because of "Quality". I laughed and replied that I hope that meant "good quality". She affirmed this and said something about not inviting bad webmasters to stuff like this.

Then a few more years went by where everything was cool... then panda or penguin or whatever they call this nonsense happened. Since then it has all just sucked. My business now depends 0% on the internet or Google. It's pretty weak. I liked the internet.
6:56 am on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I just realized you were probably talking about that wordpress portfolio site when you mentioned zero backlinks. I don't use that site much. it was built as part of a project when I went back to school a while back. I would not be surprised if it had no backlinks. Sometimes I use it to show prospective design clients.

Maybe I should hire Google's partner "Reach Local" to write some fake blog articles full of backlinks for me.
7:30 am on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Also ... Just to throw more shade... I have spoken directly with John Mueller and he suggests that I keep at it. He also agreed that my sites were cool and my content valuable. He also admitted that some markets have been "inadvertently" damaged. He seemed like a nice guy ... Oh one more thing ... He also offered advice that none of us should ever expect to see the traffic that we used to from Google. By then it was a bit late for me but I took it as clear advice to stop chasing the ghosts and stick to the important parts.
7:54 am on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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1. A superficial look at anything doesn't mean the reviewer is an expert with any ability to offer an indepth review that defines QUALITY as it relates to your industry. The REPs gave you a false sense of security... (Plus a worthless water bottle). I got a Google pen that glowed in the dark with a rotary of colors.

2. Google's QUALITY changes with time. The Farmer Update reduced alot of previously theoretical quality websites to ruins in hours. Prior to then, adding 50 articles about "What is SEO" written by 50 different author was wrongly considered QUALITY.

3. The larger a website is the more potential to be devalued by PANDA, as quality tends to have links to them or only a couple of link generations from a source of PageRank.

4. Course that can then drive websites to be devalued by PENGUIN thereafter due to UNNATURAL LINKS.
6:32 pm on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Early in this thread someonefrom overseas asked why we in the U.S. Do not pursue this more effectively.

What you see here us part of the reason.

When we share our experience the same scenario consistently plays out.

1.) we're met with a flurry of baseless accusations, insults, character assassinations and told we deserve it.

2.) We are lead on an endless wild-goose- chase burning up our precious time and money trying to exercise some fictitious demon from our sites. Even though a lot of the advice us valid it rarely improves our google standing at all and often damages it.

3.) We eventually lose hope and faith in google and give up. Often we then find out former niche filled by an offshore scraper or pirate often serving our former customers with our own content.

4.) We try to fight back but we no longer have the time, resources, patience or mental fortitude to endure further abuse in a fight that seems hopeless.

So, nearly 5 years later here we still are.
9:02 pm on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That might be true for some... The ROI for business failure is WISDOM!
9:14 pm on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That might be true for some... The ROI for business failure is WISDOM!

Apparently it plays havoc with one's "caps lock" though..;)
9:47 pm on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@fathom Best to ignore @raseone. He's just a troll who likes the sound of his own voice. Based on his sites, he doesn't understand what he's doing from a webmaster perspective (despite believing that he does) and any ranking demotions are deserved. Surprised the mods haven't closed down these hijacked threads yet and/or banned him.
11:50 pm on Dec 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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My voice does sound great in Arial.

The people who go so far out of their way to come after me & discredit me are running the exact same line of talking points that Google uses to confuse the issue & defend itself. Because people are watching: webmasters, journalists, lawmakers, bystanders... I will stand here and speak truth to power no matter what you hurl at me.

So far you have not managed to divert from or expand upon the talking points at all. Your tactics are obvious & I can only hope that people see that.

There is no measure by which a page that is both illegal & broken should outrank every legitimate source especially when some of the legitimate sources are among the best & most authoritative sites in their field. No excuse for the free pass that piracy gets even when its been repeatedly reported.

It really doesn't matter if Simon likes some of my sites or not. Plenty of people do. What simon wants is for my experiences & my story, the facts that I've shared to lack credibility. He wants the readers not to believe me. If you think about it, this is a very strange thing for someone to want.

What is happening to me is happening to a lot of people, to a lot of perfectly legitimate sites, to a lot of businesses, content owners, publishers etc. What is happening to me is a perfectly valid example of the abuses at the root of the EU antitrust case.

I did fine with Google for a dozen years or so. when Google turned bad I tried to do what they said they wanted, when that didn't work & Google sponsored piracy of my content dominated the serps for my entire niche & for virtually all of my copyrighted & trademarked creations I tried to fight them. That didn't work either. I sacrificed my long-standing exclusivity and offered my content through high-end distributors but even years later those distributors remain buried by a combination of piracy, counterfeit, and other forms of nonsense even when searching for my trademarked creations by their individual names on Google. This Only happens on google.

All of this is completely true & I have been careful over the years to keep the evidence that proves that. Simon H has 0 hope of shutting me up.
2:49 am on Dec 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There is no measure by which a page that is both illegal & broken should outrank every legitimate source especially when some of the legitimate sources are among the best & most authoritative sites in their field. No excuse for the free pass that piracy gets even when its been repeatedly reported.


In theory, there is one... If 1000 cars are in a race and 2 are speeding (violating the guidelines), the cops pull you over (for speeding) allowing the other (the pirate) to continue to race beating the other 998 to the finish line (998 authority sites)

Just because one violates Google's Guidelines doesn't mean they have gotten caught, yet.

When you do violate the guidelines you tend to beat most or all legitmate authoritiative sites. Surely, there is tons of evidence for this.

When you do get penalized (as you openingly concede). It is ridiculously easy to beat that. You're the proof there.
3:09 am on Dec 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Utter nonsense, lies and continued baseless accusation that addresses none of what i've said or the real issue at hand or the topic of this thread.
4:15 am on Dec 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Well I'm glad you desire to switch back to the topic of the thread.

The EC may or may not win, Google may or may not lose.

Clowns to the left, jokers to the right and the EU is in the middle.

It's the bottom of the 2nd inning.
12:57 pm on Dec 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Utter nonsense, lies and continued baseless accusation that addresses none of what i've said or the real issue at hand or the topic of this thread.


If this is the standard of discussion that we've sunk to I'm out of here. Have a great Christmas, everyone.
4:31 pm on Dec 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Exactly what 5 ziillion owners and publishers of content have said right before they give up on debating the google problem.

Thats why theres no press, no legal action etc. in the U.S. Most people were taught by their mothers not to argue with a crazy person because bystanders wont know which of you is crazy.

Some of us are less content to let Google win this argument simply by confusing it.
5:59 pm on Dec 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@Simon H This is the "Google, Alphabet Inc., Finance, Govt, Policy and Business Issues" forum not a webmaster forum where one critiques websites and offers helpful suggestions.

@fathom Crooks don't observe US laws. All that faffing about with legal threats against pirates who will just rebrand and move is ultimately pointless if Google still ranks pirated content higher than legitimate and original content.

@raseone The problem with WW is that over the last few years there has been a marked increase in Google supporters all too willing to believe that their great god Google can do no wrong and the web hating morons who came up with "Panda" and the rest of the Animal Farm f*wittery know what they are doing. Then again, Google got hit for a fine of over $500 million for facilitating drug dealing ( [bits.blogs.nytimes.com...] ). The politicians in the EU don't seem to have been bought off yet. The EU case may go against Google but it is about a lot more than Google's FUDbuddies in the media would have one believe. There are some serious politics about taxation at play in the EU.

Happy Christmas/Solstice/Seasons Greetings to all.

Regards...jmcc

[edited by: jmccormac at 6:44 pm (utc) on Dec 23, 2015]

6:03 pm on Dec 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Amen.
3:38 pm on Dec 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thats why theres no press, no legal action etc. in the U.S.

The problem is when it comes to content, the legal loophole given to Google and all search engines is the DMCA. The DMCA is our recourse to protect our creations. I'd love to have all of those politicians that signed that law to spend hours submitting DMCA takedown notices only to find the content is getting copied and re-posted just as fast. The law allows forces us to chase our tails (wasting a significant amount of time at the expense of lost productivity) while the thieves just simply use their churn and burn methods that Google rewards so handsomely. If Google can't police their own index and prohibit stolen content from appearing, and being surrounded by Google's ads, then Google should compensate the victims. $100 for every successful DMCA takedown notice where stolen content appears both in Google's search results and one of their properties (ie. blogspot).

Now I don't expect anyone that lacks the victim experience to be able to understand the damages. But when these same people fly to Google's defense, without understanding the extent of the damages we endure, that is pathetic. But us little guys are not the only victims. Yelp's CEO has called out Google for stealing their content and "other consumer harms" ( [recode.net...] )Yelp's CEO also recently went on to say in his podcast:

“Google has just completely lost its mind when it comes to focusing on the user,” Stoppelman said in an interview with Kara Swisher on the latest episode of “Re/code Decode.” “They’re doing whatever it takes to preserve that monopoly, and it’s sad.”

Whether it's monetizing our stolen content, or tracking kindergartners and other students as the recent EFF complaint sent to the FTC this month claims ( [eff.org...] ), it's abundantly clear that Google does not care what they take or who it harms. And for the most part US legislators are all beneficiaries of Google's money. As jmccormac stated, the EU politicians have not been bought off yet. Hopefully the EU can bring forth some justice for the entire world and help restore the value of innovation.
5:11 pm on Dec 24, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The EU government will make a mint off Google, and the US government will make a mint off Volkswagen. Its a win-win.
11:00 am on Dec 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@fathom Crooks don't observe US laws. All that faffing about with legal threats against pirates who will just rebrand and move is ultimately pointless if Google still ranks pirated content higher than legitimate and original content.


Usually some form of evidence demonstrates an act of piracy. At least a filed lawsuit might suggest the alleged victim is serious about their complaint. The fact that Google doesn't take these specific claims serious enough to simply use their DMCA Safe Harbor speaks volumes.

I'll admit piracy does happen but hijacking a couple threads at WebmasterWorld usually isn't what you stake your positions on.
10:44 pm on Dec 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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DMCA protection is weak. All the burden is on the content owner. When the owner is a small business and the offender is a huge Titan like Google the situation is impossible.

Weakness of the DMCA is only part of the problem. Google simply fails to comply with the DMCA way too often in my case. Take-down orders ignored, infringing urls allowed to reappear in serps and outrank the legitimate sources over and over. Nearly 100% of infringers monetized by Adsense. Repeat offenders still allowed to monetize the same stolen content without even needing to "rebrand" or resort to the "churn & burn" tactics so well articulated by glakes.

Google seems to know when they've wandered out of safe harbor and that's when they seem to respond so aggressively. In my experience and observation that's when the tactics start to get low and the threats, accusations and name-calling start.

Piracy is only one of the many breeds of nonsense that Google seems all too eager to push to the top of the serps. How all this amounts to increased profits for Google is extremely obvious as is how powerless a small business is to fight it.
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