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Google Sued by Online Business for Traffic Loss

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This is going to be an interesting case. Here we have a company, Google, in a highly competitive field with a need for secrecy surrounding their biggest asset. At the same time, they have become so dominant on the Internet that they are now a market maker or breaker for tons of online businesses that rely on their traffic. Here now are three money quotes from this Fox News report:

Google Inc.’s mysterious methods for ranking Web sites came under attack Friday in a lawsuit accusing the online search engine leader of ruining scores of Internet businesses that have been wrongfully banished from its index. …

KinderStart’s lawsuit alleges Google’s policing efforts have penalized Web sites that have done nothing wrong. To make matters worse, the suit alleges the banished sites can’t determine how they can restore their standings because the company doesn’t explain its actions. …

KinderStart said its traffic plunged by 70 percent after Google dropped it. At its peak, KinderStart’s visitors viewed more than 10 million Web pages per month, according to the suit. …

[ADBLOCKHERE]Obviously, I am not a legal expert, but I think that at minimum, Google needs to open a department in their company that handles some kinds of official statements to site owners who have been punished by the Google algorithm. While Google needs to protect the secrecy of their “special sauce,” they have a responsibility to the businesses that make real-world decisions based on the traffic generated from Google.

Google wanted to be a success and, because their product was good, the world made them one. They have been the clear market leader in search. If they want to stay that way, they need to learn to cater to their increasingly visible and vocal customer base.

I don’t know if this is the kind of thing that can be mandated by the courts. I have no idea what this lawsuit will do. What I do know is that there are tons of sites that get punished every time Google changes its algorithms and a lot of them are not bad guys.

Everyone deserves the chance to play by the rules, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to know if and when you are breaking them.

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About Craig Lyndall

  • RedTard

    More sue happy idiots trying to bring down a good system. The judge should throw out the case and make them pay $.05/click for the previous months where google was sending them 10 million hits free of charge as a punishment for their foolishness.

    They got what they paid for, if they don’t like it they should buy advertising like everyone else instead of looking for a free ride.

  • I couldn’t disagree with you more. If you want to be the go-to company for traffic, you need to help honest people who are looking for proper channels.

  • RedTard

    I view this alot like an over-the-hill Hollywood star sueing the media for not putting him/her in the news more often. The news, like google, is free publicity which you can’t expect a guarantee on.

  • So you think Google has no responsibility to the people who made them the dominant search engine?

  • RedTard

    The market will dictate whether Google is providing accurate search results. If they kick enough good sites off people will not find what they are looking for and proceed elsewhere. Otherwise, free search engine traffic does not come with a guarantee.

    At one point my site was getting 10X the traffic it is now from search engines, I don’t think I should be able to sue to get that back the, internet has simply progressed and moved on.

  • I think you should have the right to find out if Google has perceived some wrongdoing on your part though. Maybe your site was a fad or something. But if they kicked you out because they thought you were doing something shady, that is something different.

  • RedTard

    From my little man view it would be good from a PR perspective to do something like that, it doesn’t seem like a legal requirement just something nice.

    Perhaps Kinderwhatever was breaking google rules to get those high rankings. A site that would bend the rules to get free publicity in google might be just the type to file a lawsuit to get free publicity from the ensuing news stories.

  • ted

    Per the complaint KinderStart did broke no rules and was not notified prior to being dropped

  • RedTard

    I did a little research on the site myself. When I visited http://www.KS.com and http://www.Kindercare.com owned by the plaintiffs it became apparent that they were simply a portal with zero content.

    Google probably kicked them off to eliminate the middle man and provide better results for their users. The site also attempted to force me to download adware. Google does not want it’s customers to have click on a link only to be provided another set of links and have adware pushed on them, they want you to get to the relevant content.

    If they post the exact formula used to determine a good search result scammers will simply adjust their pages to fit the letter of the law without providing quality for the consumer. If Google wants to cut out popup, adware, linklists, and other junk pages at their own discretion, I think they should be allowed to without court intervention.

  • Try going to Kinderstart.com

    I didn’t find anything weird there.

    My point though is that there are plenty of sites that are not doing anything wrong and get killed. If Google is in the business of helping businesses, then I think they need to be prepared to help sites comply with their rules, ESPECIALLY because they can’t come out and share them directly.

    I am not a google basher. I use them every day. Just saying that an additional facility to take care of this issue wouldn’t hurt.