Judge Perfectly Happy With Google's Rankings

from the sorry-about-that dept

A few weeks ago we were pointing out why the latest in a long series of lawsuits from people upset about their Google ranking was pretty ridiculous... and now it appears the judge in the case agrees. He has quickly dismissed all the claims in the suit, noting that there's no free speech violation, and no evidence that Google is somehow abusing a monopoly position by messing with your ranking. The one area the judge left open -- which could be interesting -- is that the plaintiff could refile the suit claiming defamation. That would be a bit more difficult to prove, but the specifics of the situation is that Google gave the company a ranking of "0," effectively removing them from the index. The company could try to claim that a ranking of zero unfairly hurts their credibility in the market and is defamation -- though, it seems like that's still a really difficult case to win. Either way, it sounds like we'll find out soon enough, as the lawyers immediately said they plan to refile the case in the next few months.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 12:37am

    First post!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 1:26am

    So whats the score with this entire "first post" bs... Especially when the "first post"er doesn't even bother to add any significant content to the "post"?

    Why even bother, when NOBODY knows who you are - or is that on purpose, so your not considered a complete lamer in the RW?

    Do you actively search the net for as-yet un-commented posts? Is this your sole reason for being? SAD!

    Anyway, I've forgotton what I was going to say now as I'm so pissed off I didn't get the "first post"... :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    krum, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 1:53am

    Re:

    Technically, you did get "first post" since your post had actually content. Just the word's "First Post" applied to the first post of an artical implies that a "bot" or non-human being could have posted said "first post" there by nullifying that poster's bid at "first post."
    Anyway, I'm still shell-shocked that anyone would have the time or the reason to sue Google over such a retarded subject. Would you like a Wine-a-kein with your Wah-Burger and Cries?? Would you like me to call Nine-wah-wah? Grow up! Your site isn't number one? Then offer some content/product that people want to search for and maybe it will show up on the metacrawlers.
    BTW, second post!

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Tracy, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 1:57am

    Re: Re:

    Krum, you sound hot!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Sohrab, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 2:19am

    unfortuatly, its good old sue happy america.

    Believe it or not, I work in the PC department of Best Buy and we had a customer who came in and was wondering how he could raise his google ranking so it showed up 1st when people searched for him.

    He 1st thought it was "hit" based and wanted to know how to get more hits on his site. I explained to him there are bots you can get but your not gonna find them on any store shelf "how to cheap the web, make your own bot" this week with $30 rebate.

    Then I told him that google is also not based on hits per site and he wanted to know how to manipulate that. -_-

     

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  6.  
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    Trueshadow, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 4:50am

    missing the point

    This lawsuit underscores a real danger arising in our digital age. As the amout of data balloons exponentially, the search engine becomes a powerful political force and economic force. Who actually bothers to check option 5,457 of their search? Even if that is the perfect site to answer there question. Having your site ranked by number of hits says nothing about its veracity, and once you achieve a top 10 rating it becomes ever more difficult for other sites to get hits. This has obvious economic ramifications, but also political ones as ideas that are not mainstream become buried ever deeper in the information deluge. Further, we have only Googles word that it is unbiased in it search ranking. A lot of power for an unregulated entity.

     

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  7.  
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    MEoip, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 5:00am

    Start new

    I'm going to start a shady company with the sole purpose of getting a zero then sue, rake in millions and retire.

     

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  8.  
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    shinji, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 5:17am

    churn

    who remembers altavista, or yahoo, or any number of search engins that went the way of the albatross. ;)

    the reason google got popular in the first place is that people could trust the ranking system. unfortunatly, like its predicessors, google has gone commercial with its rankings. but dont take my word for it. search google, for anything. top 10 sites will be money makers.

    whats keeping google alive now is their innovation. gmail, video, callenders, tranclators, maps and more.

    however the people know when they look up a subject and get garbage. Eventually some yound company will grow and become trusted for honest content and rankings. google will still be useful for all those innovations. but people will start searching for information elsewhere.

    and the cycle begins a-new

     

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  9.  
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    Preet, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 5:46am

    Honestly, if you search for something and find commercial interests, just add more specific words and you get what you need. Most people stick with their original search and try the 50-60s results when that isnt the solution. Blaming google for that is just silly.

     

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  10.  
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    DreadedOne509, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 5:54am

    Agree with Preet on this one. Most people don't know how to use a search engine (any of them) correctly. If the users would bother to learn how to use Google and it's advanced features, they would see it is fairly simple to drill down to exactly what they are looking for in short order.

    Crying over their rankings is pathetic. Add viable content or go bust like the thousands of companies before you. This is netnatures way of saying you are on the road to extinction :)

    Have a good day!

     

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  11.  
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    DreadedOne509, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 5:55am

    Coined a new word!

    Netnature

    Love the sound of it!

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Ryan, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 6:05am

    Google is NOT commercial. there's ads running along the top and right, but none of the other sites pay them money.

    If they did go that route, every search you ever did would return "buy viagra here"...

    If you get nothing but commercial results for products (and you're not searching for commerical stuff) then learn how to write better search queries.

    If you just type in "cds" you're going to get places to buy cds. Type in "alan jackson cd" and you'll get places to buy that..

    if you want reviews and such, type in reviews.

    The general assumption by Google is, if you're typing in something that can be bought, you're probably looking to buy it. If you're not, tell them.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    maestro_nate, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 6:15am

    boolean anyone?

    Completely agreed wtih Preet and Dread1509. Personally, Google is the best out there, not to sugest that i am not frequently frustrated by its lack of ability to find sites when my searches are too specific.

    I'm sure this has something to do with the coding or something, but (for example if i forget the URL) I generally find what i'm looking for after a combination of googles, guesses and skimming. Google (or any othere index to a large amount of information, for that matter) is more of a filter and the only thing conceivably better than google, would be a proper boolean-operated search engine // metacrawler. ... This would assume that all information on the net was free and indexable, which of course, is not the case.

    As long as i'm complaining - why does Hotmail not allow mail forwarding to another address? I'd be out of it in a for good if I could use g-mail to receive my e-mails.

    *sigh - to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    maestro_nate, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 6:19am

    re: booleans

    oh, I do know that google is boolean - does anyone know why there isn't a working wildcard function? Or a working proximity operator? Am i using it incorrectly?

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Xanthir, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 6:30am

    Maestro_nate: I thought I recalled reading somewhere that they do have wildcard capability... But it's very likely that I'm wrong. Otherwise, if the keywords (like site:) dont' get you what you want, Google doesn't use it.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 6:40am

    huh

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 7:03am

    17th Post

    YES!!! 17th Post!!! I am THE MAN!

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Sandah Aung, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 7:05am

    Make Google Think

    All Google needs to prove is that they are actually using algorithms to pagerank the websites. I think the real driving force behind this case is Google's ubiquity. Google decides life and death of companies which have gone online.

    It is necessary for Google to be unbiased with their algorithms. And I believe that this case reminds the company to ponder over their search rules.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    I, for one, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 7:28am

    What DreadedOne509 and Preet say is true, but a bit misleading. We all assume that by "results given for a search term" the search term is a simple keyword list, not a properly structured query. Let's designate that a 'naive' search, the sort ordinary people just type in.

    Googles rankings for naive searches ARE heavily biased in favour of a number of variables that favour commercial interests. It's just a fact, I've got no problem with it, I guess that's how they make money and all is fair.

    Just please don't pretend, or lets's use the right word... please don't LIE to me Google - that the results are ranked purely on the merits of information content, because you don't need a PhD in statistics to see that they are not.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 7:44am

    I have nothing of value to say, other than to pay homage to the fine tradition of "First post!", as was argued against by the (ahem... ) second (cough... cough... ) poster. You tread on hallowed ground when you question the integrity of this honorable past-time, and can only pray that the Internet community at large comes to realize the vital importance "First post!" serves in all our lives.

    Second in importance is "Pr0n!", to which we also owe our deepest respect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Arochone, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 7:59am

    Twenty-one!

    Twenty-First post!

    first post is like #1 rank on google - it's the most likely to be read. And if someone happens to post before they get it out, and it gets moved down...well then their reputation gets damaged. They should sue for defamation. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    John, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 8:21am

    Google overly "helpful"

    Frankly, I hate when Google gets overly helpful. If I'm searching for code that has the function "ord" I do NOT want to find all pages with the word "order".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous bastard, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 8:43am

    Re: Google overly "helpful"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    MockingBird, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 8:44am

    Googles rankings for naive searches ARE heavily bi

    my company has achieved high (top 10) rankings in a lot of keywords relative to us (in google, yahoo, msn, etc). Although we also use paid advertisement this has had no bearing on our SEO (search engine optimization) results.
    great SEO results have ben achieved by content, backlinks, etc.
    if commercial results are at the top of the seo rankings, maybe it's because they could afford the people who understand how to pu together a site and internet presence to support a top 10 ranking.
    Imagine that!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Bastard, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 8:48am

    Re: Google overly "helpful"

    John,

    Learn to write a query, numbnutz. :-P

    Try adding -order to your query. That will remove any results which contain the word "order". Also put quotes around specific terms you are searching for.

    IF YOU THINK YOU CAN CODE, YOU NEED GRASP THE BASICS FIRST.

    Somethimes I find mysefl thinking that people should have to have a license to own a computer...

    Now tie your shoes and don't forget to breathe, OK?

    23rd and 24th! ;-)

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Bastard, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 8:50am

    Make that 23rd, 25th, and 26th...

    Don't knock the first post crew until you've joined them. :-P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 8:52am

    Re: missing the point

    Once upon a time there was NO google or decent search engine. Once upon a time businesses had to rely on word of mouth, content advertising in newspapers and magazines - etc.

    People still read magazines. People still read the newspaper. There are still plenty of places to get people to notice you. The internet is not ALL MIGHTY when it comes to business exposure (unless your business is based solely on the internet - at which point you took a risk on creating a business that relied solely on a still unrealiable and unstable medium for business-related activity).

    Stop relying on google to do business for you. That's laziness and anyone who gets nailed because of it should have thought about it first. I for one, have no sympathy for any of these winers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 8:59am

    Re: churn

    "...but dont take my word for it. search google, for anything. top 10 sites will be money makers..."

    Isn't that the point? If the system is working then the top ranked sites WOULD be money makers - why would a shitty site be ranked high?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 9:03am

    Re: boolean anyone?

    "...why does Hotmail not allow mail forwarding to another address?"

    Just a guess but I would bet it has something to do with spam.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    haiku, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 9:15am

    Xref the xref

    I also go along with Preet: if you don't know how to use the tool then don't blame the tool.

    However, I think that suppliers may soon have cause for greater concern than over Google rankings

    I recently had cause to purchase a fair amount of computer hardware whilst overseas. With Google it was a snap to shortlist a number of suppliers in the area that I was to be visiting. A quick visit to each site established actual prices, availability etc.

    (Note to Google: SQL-type joins with vendor name wildcards would be greatly appreciated!)

    I then Googled the name of each of the suppliers on the shortlist.

    The top suppliers (my ranking based on price & ability to deliver) were quickly ditched thanks to the number of complaints that Google returned.

    The order finally went to a supplier who was not the cheapest, but had an excellent reputation for fixing screw-ups.

    I also saved a fair whack on hotel bills by using Google in tandem with travel rating sites like Trip Advisor.

    -- haiku

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 9:44am

    maestro_nate: "oh, I do know that google is boolean"

    Er, not really. Advanced Search employs some Boolean logic, but Google doesn't directly support boolean search. Wish it did.


    John: "Frankly, I hate when Google gets overly helpful. If I'm searching for code that has the function "ord" I do NOT want to find all pages with the word "order"."

    search for : ord -order

    And, ah , read the help files. They're only helpful if you read them...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    dfd, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 9:46am

    df

    porn

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Jr, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 9:48am

    Re: Start new

    You know they lost though, right? :/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 9:53am

    I think the lawsuit is more over a zero ranking which means you don't get listed at all. Google has many reasons they say they do this. Duplicate content or too many inbound links from link farms. The problem with those reasons is that if you wanted to sink a small website you could be duplicating there website, using a link farm to point to there website and legitimate links to yours. Effectively putting them out of business. Those are just some of the know problems, I am sure there are others.

    I think they have a case but the problem is the fraud against them isn't being done by google but by some company most likely overseas that doesn't have to answer to anyone.

    I don't know all the details of the case but this is just an example of how it can happen and why someone would want a way to fix it.

    Just for anyone who doesn't know how much power google has doesn't know how much paid advertising costs on the web now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    anonymous coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 9:59am

    my kids are out of control, my wife and i are fatties, and my website's ranking sucks. it's all someone else's fault!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: boolean anyone?

    Please keep on the subject! And what the hell does luncheon meat have to do with Google?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Tyson, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 10:12am

    Learn to use Google

    ttp://www.google.com/help/cheatsheet.html

    http://www.googleguide.com/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Historian, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 10:49am

    x = x + 1

    I say.. just add a 1 to the loop so that the first post will always be listed as:

    2. by Anonymous Coward on Jul 14th, 2006 @ 12:37am
    First post!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Jeremy, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 1:58pm

    Re:

    That bias is not the result of paid search placement though. It's the Bias of the internet. Most people who use the internet use it for business or researching products these days. Google is just meeting their market. While the bias may be their it's not underhanded or a hidden conspiracy for paid rankings. It's just a mirror of the way the internet is structured today. Most people who search for generic terms are indeed looking for products to buy. And the business with the most rep on the web (ie: incoming links and other pagerank criteria) appear at the top of the list.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    MeatPancake, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 4:45pm

    Does nobody understand this?

    Look. Google is a Private Entity that displays searches for people who request them. Google isn't even that great of a search engine (much hype...think .com boom). Unfortunately its only good for buying products. If I want to find a widget I go to Google, Ask, or others and if I actually need articles or information there are many other better search possibilities. As Google is not the only search engine and most people go to several on their searches it should not matter if they manipulate their rankings. These jokers are sueing because they got cancelled for being poor business people. Realistically, If I had based my entire business plan on one search engine, I would be a complete moron.

    Funny, It likely is defamation based on the current model in the legal system...but good luck arguing that esoteric twisted thought process to a bunch of non techies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Googler, Jul 17th, 2006 @ 8:22pm

    umop apisdn

    Google isn't that great of a search engine? :o blasphemy!!! to you I say you're a witch.. a witch... look at your nose... you do have a wart... you turned me into a newt :P Seriously though, there isn't another search engine out there right now where you can find something that you can't find on Google, even search results from other, say, torrent search engines. And then you can find even more stuff... What really amazes me is people who say they can't find "such and such about such" and you go to google, no boolean operators, and enter "such and such about such" without the quotes and what they're looking for is within one of the first 4 pages. Seriously, are they people typing in tongues? backwards? h4x0r 3l33t and they don't know it?

    Oh... I got better :P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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