Sued for SEO

21 comments

The LED Digest has a thread about an SEO getting sued because one of his current clients outranks one of his past clients. How absurd.

Comments

Over the years, there have

Over the years, there have been a few threads about disclosure to clients regarding the possibility that an seo may also be working for that client's competitors (or past/future relationship). Personally, I see it as a conflict-of-interest if they're in the same exact niche with identical keywords, geo-tags, etc. I haven't read the above article but if a past client claims that their seo received unique competitive information and a disclosure and/or waiver wasn't done, then I think there may be grounds.

No grounds...

There may be some appearance of conflict of interest to clients (which is a good reason to disclose such work), but as long as they're not simultaneously clients, this should be groundless.

The SEO can influence the SERPs, but he doesn't control them -- the search engines control the SERPs. So, on the face of it, I think this should be thrown out of court.

He shouldnt worry

Like Bruce said in the thread, he should be in the clear. Nobody owns rankings and to think that work was done 4 years ago? Please... as soon as you are no longer a client of someones, you have no responsibility to them for their ranks to stay up top.

Now if they were clients at the same time, there could be a legal argument.

any precedent in place?

No case here, I agree, but I was curious - is there a precedent in place? I'm wondering if there have been similar cases I haven't heard of. I would think conflicts like this probably come up before considering how little most clients seem to understand search (at least in my experience - but I probably have the lame clients!)

Sued for SEO

Potential litigants should please seek a lawyer soon, not Internet reactions...these comments could be giving horrible information. These are just reactions, not advise. But, I think the law has limitations. For non medical injury, or percieved injury...the limits are probably 3 years or less in all 50 states and territories. Even if severe conduct is shown, the litigant is probably off-the-hook. Waiting for 4 LONG years is not a legal lawsuit, in my opinion. It is attempted extortion. The local prosecutor would most likely be interested...and investigate this bogus suit for FREE.

All the more reason...

This is why there should be an ass list of site owners that should be avoided.

> ass list

I like it!!

Non-compete? Exclusivity Agremeent?

Those usually come with a hefty price tag, especially if they extend beyond 1 year.

It's a touch topic for sure

It's a touch topic for sure but I agree there is no case on the face of it. Could be in the details, though.

A non-compete is way expensive. A disclosure is easy, so the client should ask for one. What they will do when the SEO discloses he's active with their competitors I don't know, but at least it won't be a grey area.

As usual there is no problem with a conflict of interest. There are problems with undisclosed conflicts, or appearances of conflicts.

Shame

Ass list redirects to porn, great idea I have quite a few to add ;P

I seem to be be

....popular with wanker attorney letters. I have had my dba since 1997 and still get one minute wonder pricks claiming I am out ranking them through devious methods.

I'm not strictly a white tie (hat sounds wanky) person but am not a spammer like the wankers I keep getting fan mail from...

I have one word - wankers.

Yes let's have an asshole corner

wankers

but is a white tie stylish? ... come to think of it, not much white is stylish... pants? forget it. We should really come up with something a bit more trendy and fashionable :)

MattKP

True white ties are wanky too as are WHITE SOCKS back in the UK - WHITE BOXER SHORTS (Calvin Klein) Sans Skid Marks???? perchance

ASS list

Yet another reason to get sued :-)

Arse List???

.... get my fellow Brits in on the wanker letters.....

I'm setting up shop there next month and if I see an attorney letter shall wipe my bottom with it.

3 Questions on the Legal Issues of SEO

1. On a related note, has there been cases where a client sues a SEO for a drop in rankings?

2. On Non-Compete:
- How old does the previous work have occur to be considered conflict of interest? 6 months? 2 years? Until the first contract is out?
- If signing a non-compete, what is the length and what is the added cost based on the length of the non-compete?

3. Are there any precedent on this type of case?

Well...

I haven't heard about about any SEOs being sued for incompetence or a drop in rankings. As for the duration of a non-compete, that's specific to the agreement. Open non-competes are nearly unenforceable. The best way to handle a non-compete request is to ask the client to specify by name which competitors are to be included in the non-compete. The duration of the non-compete is usually one or two years and the cost is decided by duration. A dollar percentage of the total proposal price can be used as the price point for each named competitor.

And make sure you buy E&O insurance.

Non compete....

...I've got out of twice easily

What's E&O Insurance? My Missus deals with keeping me out of court

;)

Errors and Omissions.

Keeps you from losing your ass if you have a brain fart, like wrecking a client's shopping cart 5 days before Christmas.

Updated by the SEO being sued

... he paid the client off w/ a "5-figure settlement" ...

That's a shame. I understand

That's a shame. I understand entirely why he's done it, and if it's what makes sense for him, that's fair enough - it wouldn't have been me going through the pain and frustration (not to mention the expense) of actually fighting it.

I'm sure this issue will crop up again one day, and will be fought out at some later date, but this goes down as a bad day for the law, I think. It was a terrible resolution to a nonsense case.

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