Do Search Engines Need To Be Regulated?
from the speak-freely,-search-freely dept
We've seen way too many lawsuits from people who get upset that Google doesn't rank them highly enough (or that Google has erased them from its index for gaming the search rankings). They often seem to think that it's a natural right that Google must rank them and must rank them highly. Of course, some of us feel that Google is a private company, and has the right to rank sites however it wants. If those rankings aren't very good, then that simply represents an opportunity for the other search engines to provide a better solution and steal away users. Law professor Eric Goldman, who tends to agree with us on that point, now points us to a new academic paper suggesting the opposite: that search engines should be regulated as their results represent a form of free speech. Specifically, the paper argues four key points should be regulated into place:
- Search engines should not be allowed to remove any sites from a search index unless required to remove it by law.
- Search engines must reveal the basis of their ranking methodology and must continue to use the methodology they have made public
- Search engines cannot manipulate search results except if there is a clear example of abuse that needs to be changed
- Search engines should be required to clearly state which results are paid and which are organic