Ranking Suit Against Google Dismissed

    July 14, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

KinderStart will amend its complaint against Google for effectively dropping the KinderStart website from its index when Google assigned the company a zero PageRank.

Ranking Suit Against Google Dismissed
Kinderstart Lawsuit Shown The Door

Can KinderStart make a defamation suit stick to Google? Will Google see a complete dismissal of charges after the next court date in September? Give us your verdict at WebProWorld.

The lawsuit against Google by KinderStart may have been dismissed, but it has not ended. Attorneys for the plaintiff noted in a statement made after the judge’s decision that they “have the full opportunity to amend all Nine Counts in the class action complaint.”

However, the attorneys may wish to attend to their website first. At press time, the GlawInfo.com website returns a message that the page has been suspended. That’s not a good impression to make on visitors looking for more information.

In their statement, KinderStart’s legal team appear to have chosen a new tack as they amend the complaint ahead of a September 29th court date:

A most serious concern for Google now is defamation. The decision suggests that, if properly alleged, Google may be defaming a whole class of Websites sacked with a ‘0’ PageRank. If Plaintiffs show that Google manually tampered with even a single Website’s PageRank, Google’s entire claim to the world of “objectivity” of its search results and rankings could collapse.

The defamation claim is not as far-fetched as one may think at first glance. Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University assistant professor and director of the High Technology Law Institute, reviewed the KinderStart opinion, and said “there are very few novel or surprising aspects of this ruling.”

He also examined the defamation issue in the case:

Despite the relatively unremarkable nature of Google’s win, one area of the opinion definitely caught my attention. The judge’s reactions to the defamation claim were not wholly favorable to Google and could signal some risk to Google.

Goldman excerpted the judge’s opinion as it pertained to defamation, and dissected its potential for causing Google some headaches:

Reading between the lines, I think the judge may be saying it he doesn’t like Google’s apparent duplicity on its PageRank descriptions. Google claims PageRank is objective in its public statements, yet in court Google claims that PageRank is its subjective opinion. This duplicity just doesn’t look good for Google.

Goldman sees Google as ultimately winning the case, due to the “skill of Google’s counsel.” But it’s mostly a sure thing now, instead of definitely.

Add to Del.icio.us | Digg | Yahoo! My Web | Furl

Bookmark WebProNews:

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