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In a written order dated Friday, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose sided with Google in two of its three arguments that KinderStart, a directory and search engine focused on parenting information, should face monetary sanctions on the grounds that its allegations were "frivolous." The court plans to determine the amount of the fees after receiving a report from Google identifying its costs
[edited by: walkman at 7:38 pm (utc) on Mar. 23, 2007]
That is a load of @#%! I think they are getting what they deserve, and I hope they go belly up!
If you had been on the receiving end of lawsuits that have no merit, and cost you a great deal of money protecting yourself, you too would be cheering the outcome also.
Back to Lurking,
Kinder as in kind /nice.
I think it's probably "kinder" as in the German word for "children" - think "kindergarten".
I find it reassuring that the judge called this suit frivolous - it certainly seemed that way to me. We would have a very strange Internet future if search engines had to maintain their rankings once given!
Future frivolous lawsuits need desparately to be discouraged.
There's a breed of people who somehow think they're entitled to high search rankings no matter what they do, and if some of them think they can bulldoze an engine into reversing a legitimate decision made based on violation of their quality standards by groundless litigation, that kind of frivolous and wasteful action needs to be heavily sanctioned.
There's NO reason whatsoever why Google has had to go through the expense of dealing with this malicious, retaliatory backlash.
Sorry, but self-righteous "Mom & Pop's" who aren't "professional SEOs" might not be aware that they're trying to manipulate like any garden-variety search engine spammer, but in reality, that doesn't make what they're doing any different. It takes less than 60 seconds to catch what kind of PR manipulation was being done, and it's still being done - which would wash out any argument of lack of intent.
I don't think this is the case in US, expect in (clearly, as determined by a judge frivolous cases
Judge dismisses suit over Google ranking
Fogel dismissed KinderStart's allegations for a first time last summer but allowed the company to revise its complaint and present a new set of oral arguments during the fall.
In that point Kinderstart had the oportunity to think, "ok, well, it seems we're overreacting" and drop the case, but they didn't.
Google and other search engines have been legally determined to be "publishers" and therefore have complete editorial rights to manipulate search results in any manner including banning of sites they don't like or find competitive, or use of site-unique bias to suppress ranking of any individual site for any reason. The court reaffirms their right to do that and punishes Kinderstart for suggesting otherwise.
The Court's order is at: [claranet.scu.edu...]
However, I agree that something is wrong if it takes a court a year and beaucoup hearings just to determine that the suit is frivolous.
Kinderstart was making many claims against Google. One of the claims was that Google's PageRank as published in the Google ODP directory clone was a knowingly false derogatory statement about Kinderstart and other sites that were manually editorially selected for banning or suppression via site-unique bias. Such editorial selection reduced the PageRank that would have been displayed had the site not been manually selected for banning or suppression. Google tells search users that PageRank is an "honest" assessment of the site's value and strongly suggests it is entirely automatically developed. There is no suggestion that they arbitrarily, editorially fiddle with PageRank.
The Court seems to be saying that this particular claim was denied because of technical defects in the pleading that were not corrected even given a second opportunity. Subsequent valid claims could apparently be made by someone else.
Google seems to be gradually discontinuing their ODP directory clone, which has apparently not been updated since 2005 and is therefore very stale and essentially useless. The toolbar, used by a small number of users, is the only remaining place where PageRank is displayed to search users. Google could easily fix this problem by putting a note in the toolbar and directory documentation that says that PageRank is a partly editorial value judgement. Virtually nobody would read the note and everybody would be legally happy. At least for now.