Yet Another Company Sues Google For Not Being In Google's Index

from the this-won't-go-far dept

Eric Goldman has the details on how Ascentive (a company that many in the tech community accuse of being a scam) has sued Google for removing Ascentive from Google’s search index. There’s a separate complaint about trademarks and AdWords on competitive ads, but that’s an issue that’s been covered so often, we’ll ignore it in this case. Instead, what’s interesting is the claim that Google removing Ascentive from its index is somehow a violation of Ascentive’s rights. Of course, previous cases have shown that you have no legal right to have Google rank you where you think it’s appropriate — and if Google decides to remove you entirely, that’s its prerogative.

Goldman notes that Ascentive’s claim is a bit different than such claims in the past (but no more likely to get anywhere), noting that the refusal to list Ascentive’s site is a trademark violation, because “consumers expect to see the trademark owner in organic search results for the trademark and therefore consumers will be actionably confused if the trademark owner doesn’t appear there.” Talk about twisting the intention of trademark law! It seems unlikely that such a claim gets very far, but it will be fun to see how the court responds to it.

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Companies: ascentive, google

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Comments on “Yet Another Company Sues Google For Not Being In Google's Index”

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18 Comments
RD says:

Get a clue

Google is not a RIGHT. They OFFER a service, they are not OBLIGATED to include you in it. They arent the govt, they arent the law, there isnt any constitutional or inalienable right to be on Google. They dont HAVE TO do anything for you, so please get over yourselves (this applies to all the mouth-breathing retard companies out there who think like these morons).

Anonymous Coward says:

Actually, this one might have a play.

Checking today, Ascentive does show up on the search, and in a remarkable coincidence, there are ZERO adwords ads on the page (searching for Ascentive and Ascentive software).

Seems to me that Google is perhaps playing it safe, or maybe feels slightly guilty about exclusing a brand name company but selling adwords ads on those results?

Tghu Verd says:

Surely Google has a right of denial

I’d think that if this hits the courts it’s going to go Google’s way, but perhaps that’s naive.

On the face of things, Google is probably not obliged to list any particular URL in its index.

But given its market power, reach and depth, it might be forced to because otherwise it is explicitly acting to restrain trade.

So irrespective of Ascentive’s motives or business model, they could press the point in their favor.

Certainly will be an interesting one to watch, though if Anonymous Coward is correct and Google has essentially boxed them off to the side, it kind of takes the wind out of Ascentive’s sails (and sales)…

Bill says:

Googles index

Many of you are correct that there is not a legal issue if Google wants to eliminate someone. But on the other side of the issue, if Google is the one and only best search engine, then they take on a higher responsibility to be all inclusive or it is a form of sensorship. Does Google have the right to tell you who or what you can look up? Wasn’t that one of the initial freedoms of the internet. Soon will they be telling you what to read (or what not to read)?

Jessica (profile) says:

Re: Googles index

If Google were the one-and-only way to access content, I suppose I’d be concerned about my freedoms. But there are many ways to access sites, be it competing search engines, typing in an address directly, finding a link in someone other person’s page, etc. Google is only removing access via their search, not controlling the entire internet. If they censor/remove links, that’s their right.

Shoot for the sky says:

Both will play the laws...always

Scam pricks and google makes no difference to me. These are two idiotic bastard childs only playing at hiding their hand after throwing the rock. One claims it has the right to shot you out; the other has the right to gauge your eyes out. Either way it’ll hit those of us who play by the rules as set forth by principled individuals-and will always get the shaft…

Ben says:

to ChrisB - are you an idiot?

WTF? Google is evil as MS. Google just bought books after serving them illegally and bought them only for $125MM . (While amazon and other competitors weren’t allowed). The links between Google and the Obama administration are really worrying. (like MS and the oil companies in previous years). Being good to the end user doesn’t mean you are good for other companies and mostly publisher that don’t have any other choice but to take the Google solution (allowing Google to buy double click was really a bad move, they basically controlling the web). In this case you can see a company (it doesn’t matter if it is a scam or not that Google remove without any good explanation. What worry me here is that Google thinks it is above the law and because it is a giant it doesn’t need to explain itself to no one. (Taking money from publishers, just because some users click on the Google ads – mainly because you are giving Google a real estate on your site).

DB says:

A few people have already hit on this. This might not go anywhere today, but wait a couple of years. If Google’s market share continues to grow, and there is an established monopoly (or even duopoly) in search, then all of the arguments for net neutrality will also apply to search neutrality.

Just as Comcast can’t block access to a Web page it doesn’t like, Google will not be allowed to arbitrarily remove pages from its index.

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