Web Site Files Complaint Against Google

50 comments

This new law suit looks like a loser. Someone trying to take a class action against Google because they had been dropped from the index. Still the lawyers should make a dollar or two out of it.

Quote:
The civil complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose by KinderStart.com, seeks to be certified as a class action representing the owners of all Web sites blacklisted by Google's Internet-leading search engine since January 2001.

KinderStart, a Norwalk-based Web site devoted to information about children, says it was dropped from Google's index a year ago without warning.

"The world is becoming increasingly 'Googlized,'" said Gregory Yu, a lawyer for KinderStart. "For most people, that has been a good thing, but not for everyone."

Comments

Actually good on the guy.

Actually good on the guy. About time google let people know what is going on and how to fix it if you are dropped from the index. You have no recourse apart from perhaps kissing matt cutts's ass on his blog. Not funny when yout traffic goes down the crapper.

Our stats are scarey, 87% Google on most sites, if I could have it differently then I would. Unfortunately Google are nearly a monopoly when it comes to search. For us we have cut our reliance on google to about 50% now. Still 50% of our business could be wiped at any given moment. Basically a lot of people have the value of their business in G and they need to sort out their communication channels apart from a cut and paste macro for serious complaints.

Has no merit

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.

Google has no obligation to index anyone, rank them whatsoever, nor keep them there once ranked.

What a bunch of whiny assed BS, judge should punt this frivoulous crap.

Google has no obligation to

Google has no obligation to index anyone, rank them whatsoever, nor keep them there once ranked.

Maybe not in the US, but stats that show that Google has 70%+ of the UK search market, and this could mean the company is effectively a monopoly here. I'm expecting to see this raised at some point in the future.

heh, I wish your sites the

heh, I wish your sites the same IncrediBILL so I can see you squirm

Bad business model..

Anybody that relies on google for thier business to survive, perhaps should not be in business...

"Anybody that relies on

"Anybody that relies on google for thier business to survive, perhaps should not be in business..."

For sure,heard all that before 10 zillion times. My main point is the lack of communication once you have been tanked. We had the supplemental issue recently. I would have paid 1000's to get back if they did not fix it. Point is it does not have to be for free. Google can charge for this. Of course then they will be accused of tanking sites for profit but it is far from perfect now.

Why should they communicate?

What obligation do they have to communicate to you? Does you local newspaper have to tell you every week why it didn't include an article about your business? Does every other website in existance owe you an explanation as to why they don't link to you or don't rate you highly?

Just because Google is 'big' does not mean it owes anybody anything.

Ridiculous

People who think the world owes them a living make me sick.

OMG I couldn't agree with Jill more

People who think the world owes them a living make me sick.

Finally! We agree on something 100%!

"What obligation do they

"What obligation do they have to communicate to you?"

We spend over $120,000 on adwords every year and I am sure companies like ours would appreciate some special treatment even if it is paid in the serps department. My paying customers always get the best service.

I am not the only one.

Check out #10 fron Danny Sullivan

http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/blog/060313-161500

Silly to the max-d

You really have to work at it to get banned from Google's index. You have to do something stupid that Google warned you about in writing on their webmaster guidelines page. Apparently the webmaster at the site in question violated one or more of the extremely easy to follow rules Google posts for the enlightenment of webmasters. If you can code, you can read.

If you drink and drive and get caught enough times your driving permit is almost certainly going to be revoked. It doesn't matter if driving is essential to your livelyhood. Similarly, if you violate Google's guidelines and get caught, your site's rankings are likely going to take a temporary dirt-nap. Google is simply policing their own space. It is their right and in taking action against those who violate their webmaster guidelines, Google is doing right.

I am not talking about this

I am not talking about this site in particular. I am just saying set up a big warehouse in India.Pay people $1 and hour charge 300$ for a review if you think you have an issue. Google has public relations to peeved webmasters, webmasters are pissed off about the $300 but google more than cover their costs and people can pay for this service if they want.
It will stop the bitching about google's lack of concern and probably stop law suits like the guy above.

Honest Question

Brian,

In the UK, does Google use unfair business practices or use its sheer size to limit market participation of Ask, Yahoo, MSN, FAST, or any other search tool? I am specifically asking in regards to the organic listings (as that is the topic of this thread).

If they do then I would be inclined to agree with you though I still strongly believe in the right to refuse service to those who abuse you.

The line here appears to me to be between Google as a private business and Google as a global public utility. There are serious social and economic issues tied up in the distinction.

Brian,

Brian,

In the UK, does Google use unfair business practices or use its sheer size to limit market participation of Ask, Yahoo, MSN, FAST, or any other search tool? I am specifically asking in regards to the organic listings (as that is the topic of this thread).

My impression is that a monopoly can be charged with unfair business practice by sheer virtue of being a monopoly.

So if an internet advertising business in the UK was - for some reason - removed from Google results returned for UK users, it would be interesting to see whether there would be a valid anti-trust claim to be made.

Like I said, this is something I really expect will be tested one day in the UK because of Google's sheer dominance in the UK search market.

Others could help

Um, like the peoplescube one, skilled people such as myself can basically determine the reason for a ban in no time at all. And I only would have charged 1/2 of that $300 for the poeoplescube case.

hopeseekr you cannot push

hopeseekr you cannot push the reinclude button though :)

Monopoly my ass

If someone ever rules a URL is a monopoly I'm going to stop the planet and step off.

They aren't the phone company, cable company or even Microsoft shoving products onto your desktop on every computer built on the planet. It's a choice, you can choose Yahoo, MSN, Google or Ask from your desktop, and just because everyone chooses Google doesn't make them a monopoly as there's LOT's of competition, it just makes them real damn popular.

IMO it would be like ruling McDondald's is a mononopoly on hamburger.

Stopping Google is about as simple as everyone waking up one day and collectively saying "OK, starting today we're only going to use Yahoo and MSN from now on, no more Google" and it has ZERO impact except changing the URL you type.

How can a URL be a monopoly?

Crazy talk, silly season, it's all a sign of end of times.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly

"Efficiency monopoly

An efficiency monopoly is one that exists because a firm is satisfying consumer demand so well that profitable competition is extremely challenging. It is not the result of government granted privilege, subsidies, regulations, etc."

Not Profitable?

So you're telling me Yahoo and MSN aren't profitable?

Sorry, doesn't have the sniff test, YET....

When Yahoo starts posting record losses and selling of it's parts faster than the Colonel can chop up a chicken, then I'd say Google should watch their backs.

But the site isn't banned

My toolbar's displaying a PR7 for its home page and PR3 for most of the internal pages I've looked at. I see 44,200 pages indexed by G, although the vast majority are listed as supplemental. But if they were "dropped" a year ago, I would think the supplemental listings would be gone by now.

They don't come up on searches for their name, but most of the results do link to them. That's not a ban.

Does not mean the others are

Does not mean the others are not profitable. Nothing to do with money it means they have a vast proportion of the search market share and therefore, well according to wikipedia anyway have and "efficiency monopoly".

Sue Wiki

Thanks for the idea, they have the Wiki monopoly, someone know a lawyer?

The fool

I am one of these people who believes that you can delevop and relationship with search engines no matter what changes they make by simply following their rules. It is really basic stuff, Google runs on a "build out" algorithm now, either you get it or you don't. Those who don't get it waste their time sniping at google, well, it's getting old. If you get dropped file for reinclusion and if you do not have a history of deception they allow you back in. What's the problem?

I agree with Jill and IncrediBill.

many hard workers...

You really have to work at it to get banned from Google's index. You have to do something stupid that Google warned you about in writing on their webmaster guidelines page.

I wouldn't out and out agree with this statement (especially since sometimes people may think they are banned due to algorithmic issues). A few examples:

To be fair I think Google has tried to do a good number of webmaster communication initiatives - more than any other engine. Also Yahoo! was not providing adequate support even for those who paid for it, as it took a comment from Tim to help solve Rand's recent problem.

Those who don't get it waste their time sniping at google

But if they pick up a couple legit citations in the process are they winners or losers? I knew the linking method was being deployed when I recently saw a payday loan site suing Google.

Aaron, I see where you are

Aaron, I see where you are coming from but that's not what I was getting at. None of the issues you've outlined above, with the exception of sites affected by NPR-esque cloaking issues, are about actual banning of websites by Google.

Supplemental hell issues are about an infrastructure update that will (likely) evenutally clear. That is a technical problem, not a decision to ban a site.

Google has been trying to work out issues surrounding the indexing of info from Blogs for over a year.

Not ranking for your brand name is not the same as being banned.

To get banned, you need to violate the rules. (That those rules at times can appear arbitrary is a legit issue.) To get jammed up in an algo or infrastructure update or in an unclear method of indexing information is different than getting banned from the index altogether.

and

I would like to learn what really happened there, humans get things wrong sometimes so yes you are also correct Aaron.

Branding

Whoever said sites like Paypal should rank for the top of their brand?

That used to be the theory until nitwits unleashed affiliate programs and created all the competition for their own brand so you won't hear me crying about that one, you can't have it both ways.

Google could always do the same stupid thing MSN does to solve the problem and whatever keyword you type in is shown at the top of the heap making PLUMBER.COM, PLUMBER.NET, etc. very wealthy domains all of a sudden whether deserving of that position or not.

You have to do something

Quote:
You have to do something stupid that Google warned you about in writing on their webmaster guidelines page.

Nope, not true. I had a site that was banned for something that wasn't stupid, and wasn't listed on their guidelines page. I linked out to sites that they arbitrarily decided they didn't like. And my site was a free service - I didn't make any money from it. I wasn't warned and I had to find someone who "knew someone" in order to find out why the site was banned.

I wish all of you luck, but the stress of game isn't for me.

brands rank if the results are relevant

Whoever said sites like Paypal should rank for the top of their brand?

Most people searching for eBay, Paypal, Yahoo!, etc. are all searching for the proper well branded sites. If those sites do not rank for their own brands eventually people stop using the search engine because the results are irrelevant.

Keep in mind in my Paypal example above it is not like they were ranking #2...they simply were not there at all when you searched for their brand. That is not relevancy.

PLUMBER.COM, PLUMBER.NET, etc

I believe Google already does this to some extent. Right now SEO.com ranks at #30 for the query SEO, and I don't see many quality or in industry citations for that domain. Andy also posted about matching URLs on LBB.

What does adwords have to do with it?

Quote:
We spend over $120,000 on adwords every year and I am sure companies like ours would appreciate some special treatment even if it is paid in the serps department. My paying customers always get the best service.

I'm sure you would like special treatment, but paying for ads doesn't have anything to do with your listings in the organic listings.

If you are paying that much a year on adwords, and not getting any adwords service for that, that's certainly a problem, although not one you can sue over. I would imagine bad customer service would hurt their business just like it hurts any other business.

But, I don't see the connection between paying for adwords and losing your rankings. There's no connection, nor should there be. Anyone who thinks there is, is pretty foolish.

but paying for ads doesn't

but paying for ads doesn't have anything to do with your listings in the organic listings.

While I am sure generally it is rare I have heard of multiple high spending friends talk about how they have got organic help through their AdWords reps. Wouldn't you give premium customer service to people who paid the bulk of your living costs?

No connection?

Quote:
But, I don't see the connection between paying for adwords and losing your rankings. There's no connection, nor should there be. Anyone who thinks there is, is pretty foolish.

Well, call the number for both of those and you end up at 1-800-Google. It's the same company. Google'd like there to be no connection, and I don't doubt that they keep it that way. But I don't see much wrong if you're spending 6 figures a month with a company to expect some organic love. The 'no connection' link only works because Google says so and people accept it.

This case will be heard in

This case will be heard in the same US District Court House which the recent Attorney General Gonzales vs Google case was heard

But they're dropped

Quote:
Google'd like there to be no connection, and I don't doubt that they keep it that way.

And yet this site is dropped. So where's the connection?

And yet this site is

And yet this site is dropped. So where's the connection?

Well I think there has to be an issue of tact to it. Clearly these people lack people skills (or are using this suit to help boost their link popularity and rankings in all engines).

You show a lack of compasion

You show a lack of compasion Jill. Mrs I am a hardfaced bulldog.

How about all these poor mothers

http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum30/33452-17-10.htm

I am sure if your forum went down the crapper you would be whining on the front page of TW or be using your influence to get matt cutts have a look at the problem.

What i am saying is people want a paid solution for serps issues. I for one would pay for it.

Gatekeeper

>>Maybe not in the US, but stats that show that Google has 70%+ of the UK search market, and this could mean the company is effectively a monopoly here. I'm expecting to see this raised at some point in the future.

I won't get into a pissing match over the term monopoly because that obscures the point. I tend to agree with Brian Turner that the net result is a commercial choke-hold on search. If you ain't in Google you barely exist to the outside world.

As a former Searchking portal partner that got carpet bombed by Google just for being on SK's servers I can tell you first hand that Google's market share - monopoly or not- is a very scary thing.

Now I agree that it is Google's index and they should be able to list or not list whoever they want.

At the same time, I think, Google has way to much market share. It's better now than it was back then but it is still too much.

That said, suing Google for not listing you is pretty silly except as a publicity stunt.

What's compassion have to do with right and wrong?

Quote:
You show a lack of compasion Jill. Mrs I am a hardfaced bulldog.

Waaa waaa. Whatever.

Fact is there isn't a paid solution at the moment for organic listings. Suing over it is wrong as it costs money to fight frivolous law suits. I hope that when they lose they have to pay for Google's attorney's fees.

Quote:
I am sure if your forum went down the crapper you would be whining on the front page of TW or be using your influence to get matt cutts have a look at the problem.

I certainly wouldn't be happy about it. And I might discuss it to see what happened, but no, I certainly wouldn't go to Matt Cutts about it. I believe in separation of search engine and SEO. One thing for sure is I wouldn't sue over it.

"Fact is there isn't a paid

"Fact is there isn't a paid solution at the moment for organic listings. Suing over it is wrong as it costs money to fight frivolous law suits. I hope that when they lose they haveI proposed something that makes sense in my eyes. Better than Jill's deal with it buddy attitude. to pay for Google's attorney's fees."

I guess we been talking about 2 different things. I am advocating something that addresses the site dissappearence issues so site owners a) have some recourse b) google has PR and some sort of communication to stop guys like this.

Anyway I have had enough of this one :) Waste of a weekend- All our sites are doing fine, no serp probs.

A final note: I used to laugh when I saw people sites go down in the serps
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schadenfreude

Well when a couple of weeks ago a big site we have went supplemental, shame on me. The laugh was on the other side of my face. As some of you may know this was a google glitch. They sorted it out now for us god bless em but if they did not the automated google replies would have turned me into a madman.
We do $120,000 in adwords, so I do not rely on serps for a living but having 300k pages go in a day is a real bummer.

"... a monopoly can be

"... a monopoly can be charged with unfair business practice by sheer virtue of being a monopoly."

The question is, what makes a monopoly?

Here is a dumb example... If everyone wants to wear blue-jeans, and Levis makes the most popular brand that everyone HAS to wear to be stylish, can a kilt maker claim Levis is a monopoly?

Here is a topic-specific example. If UK search users tend to use Google more than any other search engine (by choice), does that make Google a monopoly? Microsoft forced itself on us. It used its size and deals it had made with computer makers to push Netscape out of the market. It has threatened the very economies of smaller nation states to ensure they continue to use Microsoft products. From where I am sitting, that is anti-trust material. The consumer was left with no other practical option except Mac, which also began offering Microsoft software in some cases.

In Canada and the US, a business needs to actively push others out of the market to violate anti-trust laws dictating "fair" business practices. I cannot see how Google has done this by making a tool that is obviously more appealing to users than the alternatives. Google did not stop Yahoo, ASK, or MSN from entering the UK market but they did produce a search tool the UK market appears to value and use more than the others. There is competition in the market place, however the real judges, the consumers, are voting with their fingers and exersizing their free right of choice.

a business needs to

a business needs to actively push others out of the market to violate anti-trust laws dictating "fair" business practices.

That's what I mean, though - if you view Google not as a search company but as an advertising company, then if you have an advertising business that Google delists, is that fair business practice, or an anti-trust move against smaller competing companies?

I'm simply playing with the hypothetical.

Some kind of formal redress system would be appropriate...

as Google is an effective monopoly. In Canada we are looking at about 80% market share (based on logs for sites with approximately equal rankings across the big three).

It's absurd for all of us to have to live forever under a volcano like this.

It would be far more sensible to allow businesses to pay for handreview. There could be a limit to how many requests/quarter any given business. Why? There needs to be some way to prevent the ongoing probing of spammers from becoming too easy. The fee could be quite stiff. In the case of a Google mistake (banned by error - not often - but it happens), the fee could be reimbursable.

That said, I would say Yahoo is far worse to interact with in the case of a ban from the SERPs. Nothing except autoresponders. Plus a nasty threat - "If you apply for reinclusion and your site is still found in violation of our guidelines, the ban will remain in perpetuity" - when you don't know what the violation is that makes a request for reinclusion pretty scary stuff. The site in question, while optimised, was clean (no hidden text, no redirects, no link networks, no cloaking, no machine generated content).

Over a year later, the same site is still not back in Yahoo. Fortunately for Canada, as noted above, it is not a big deal. I am not alone in this. One of the biggest names in SEO has exactly the same problem and he has had to forget about Yahoo as well for a few sites. All the Yahoo PR about wanting to reach out to webmasters in this case falls on closed ears at this point.

In Google's favour, in the single instance where a site of mine was in trouble with Google, the site was reindexed within weeks of the changes.

To get banned, you need to

To get banned, you need to violate the rules.

What about Inside AdSense? That was banned for a while.

Poor business plan

It seems to me that KinderStart.com has a fools business plan. What kind of moron plans a business that needs FREE advertisement to thrive?

What kind of moron plans a

What kind of moron plans a business that needs FREE advertisement to thrive?

I think a ton of publishing business models do that.

Do you think Weblogs, Inc. would have been even remotely close to profitable without all the mainstream media hype and coverage due to their cluelessness about blogging? I don't.

>>Weblogs

Agreed, but it's still stupid. You don't open up a retail store and then sue the newspaper when they won't run front page articles about your business.

This Web2.0 mentality doesn't seem any better than the dark ages of a few years ago.

crazy talk

So if I build a better mousetrap, and everyone uses it and my competitors lose sales...then I am a monopoly? Ridiculous.

Don't get hung up on the

Don't get hung up on the word monopoly. Any market that becomes too stagnate can cause harm to other markets that rely upon it regardless of monopoly. Take the US automobile industry circa 1967 - 1985, sure there was technically no monopoly with Ford, GM, Chrysler and AMC all competing - but the fact is they were all producing bloated, pre-rusted, poor quality cars. Yes eventually the market corrected itself when the Japanese imports started cleaning their clocks and forced the American mfg. to improve, but we the consumers had to endure 20 years of junk American automobiles before that market correction happened.

Can we all wait for 20 years for searchers habits to change? Is Google's huge market share really helping or harming the web and web based commerce? IMO the longer Google continues with this sort of the market dominance the more harm it will do to both.

--

Quote:
IMO the longer Google continues with this sort of the market dominance the more harm it will do to both.

Perhaps.

But it's certainly not Google's fault!

Fault

>>fault

Don't care. Doesn't matter who kills the goose that laid the golden egg or how it dies, it's still dead.

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