A few years ago the company SearchKing attempted to Suing Google for penalising its search engine optimisation techniques. SearchKing was using techniques that Google felt was reducing the quality of organic searches by playing the Google system. The case didn’t take long to fall down, the judge deciding that it was a case of free speech and Google’s ranking was their opinion and must have full constitutional protection.
The first of the two most recent cases is KinderStart vs. Google. KinderStart has been blacklisted by Google for reasons that Google will not talk about. The KinderStart website is well designed (keyword rich, header and footers etc) but a search for ‘kinderstart’ in Google returns 900 results with the KinderStart website not appearing in any of these. That is some evidence that they are being blacklisted. The blacklisted company is taking a different angle in this law suit, they are trying to argue that Google is an ‘essential facility’ when they blacklist and penalise (with no explanation and no recourse) websites they are unjustly hurting business. If KinderStart can prove that Google is an ‘essential facility’ this may well open the flood gates for a whole raft of court actions.
Which side of the fence do you sit on? It seems as if there are two opposing sides to this argument (of course). Firstly does Google have the right to punish sites because they tried to cheat an algorithm that Google keeps secret? Big G is absolutely massive and is the main super power online; it is the duty of all Internet users to check the power of any online monopoly companies. The second argument is that Google is a free service and is only one of many ways to advertise your business. If you solely rely on Google to advertise your business, go against its rules and expect to be punished. Google is an outside party and can behave how it wants; if you advertised something in a free ad paper and the free ad paper didn’t like the ad and removed it, who can complain about that? If you don’t like Google rules then find another way to advertise your business. What do you think?
On a slightly different note Lauren Rosenberg from Salt Lake City is trying to Suing Google for giving her unsafe walking directions. Rosenberg used her phone to find a route from one end of Park City to the other, the route lead her along a road without a pavement and she was subsequently hit by a car. Rosenberg is seeking for more than $100,000 worth of damages. Apparently the PC version of Google Maps comes with a disclaimer ‘Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths’; however the mobile version is missing this warning.
As a British person this kind of law suit makes me giggle. Surely she can see if the road is safe or not. In the UK there are some great rivers for swimming (weather permitting) but the local councils do not provide jetties or other structures to help swimmers get in and out of the rivers with ease (many of our rivers are lined with stinging nettles or brambles). Apparently if the local councils did provide swimming facilities they would then become liable for any injuries that took place using those facilities and so it is easier for the local councils to not provide swimmable areas. This kind of logic is really backward thinking and annoys the hell out of UK citizens. If Lauren Rosenberg wants facilities that make her life more enjoyable and easier then she needs to accept that they will not always be 100 percent. It would be interesting to see what percent of the route was safe and what percent was along a dangerous road. If some one sells you a car with no breaks then this is of course reason for action, but if we all complained about every little thing then technology will never move forward.