Lawsuit Against Google Dropped, For Now

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If you don’t like the ranking your business is given by a particular search engine, you may be able to sue over it. That’s what one man did, anyway, claiming a breach of contract on Google’s part when his websites’ placements dropped. Google rectified some omissions, but it also threatened to file an anti-SLAPP motion. The websites’ owner, Mark Roberts, dropped his suit.

Roberts had claimed his pro se complaint was the “first legitimate complaint vs Google regarding search result issues.” And despite dropping the suit without prejudice, Roberts apparently may refile if his websites don’t get reindexed to his satisfaction.

Litigation over search engine rankings has been on the rise lately (a rise from “none,” granted, but a rise nonetheless). These lawsuits create the possibility for a change in who decides the rankings (and/or how they are decided). A presiding judge would be in a position to decide the criteria, or it could even become a matter of legislation. These are remote possibilities, but they are disturbing, nonetheless.

That’s not to say some sort of structuring isn’t necessary. Search engines have a huge impact on the so-called “information economy,” and affect actual dollar figures, as well. It’s also understood that users expect fair and accurate results when they make a query.

More lawsuits could be on the way. Roberts maintained that Google violated California’s unfair competition law and made negligent claims; any website owners who believe their sites are more relevant or useful than the top sites displayed by a search engine could conceivably make the same assertion. Rampant litigation could lead to an appropriate solution, but it’s likely to create a lot of unnecessary headaches along the way.

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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.

Lawsuit Against Google Dropped, For Now
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