Google SERPs Anger UK Footballer

    March 6, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Arsenal and England international left back Ashley Cole is displeased in a legal sense over Google’s alternative suggestion in search results for his name.

Whether searching for Ashley Cole at or, the search engine returns top news stories, three organic results, and then the alternative phrase Google thinks the user may have wanted to find: “See results for Ashley Cole gay.”

Cole’s displeasure at Google first came to light in a report from UK-based Pink News. The England defender already has lawsuits underway against two other British publications for suggesting two Premiership players were bisexual, even though he was not named in either paper.

Pink News said Cole’s solicitor, Graham Shear, wanted to find out why his client’s name generated the search result in question:

“I am keen to find out whether the decision to automatically include the term “gay” to the keyword ‘Ashley Cole’ was an editorial decision or more revealingly, one made by a computer based on the volume of searches for ‘Ashley Cole’ linked to the word ‘gay’.

“I would be interested in when and what prompted this and whether the process started since we launched the cases against the News of the World and the Sun or before. Perhaps Google can explain what happened and why.”

A Google spokesperson said in the report that the listing would not be “initiated by a human with editorial control.” As of press time the suggested queries still appear in Google when searching for the athlete’s name.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.