back to article Google still faces legal spat with SEO biz that claimed it was wiped from web

An attempt by Google to get a competition case against it thrown out on free speech grounds was itself thrown out this week. The case [PDF], e-ventures LLC vs Google, working its way through a Florida District Court, has received little attention so far. It's noteworthy mainly because it's the first time an SEO (search engine …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SEO - The lottery that you can't win

    Page rankings - where your site/biz appear in search records. Google is the Dictator pure and simple. IF Google don't like you, you suddenly appear on page 999,999,999 out of 1,000,000,000.

    The Chocolate Factory NEVER Forgets a thing. Look how hard it is to get them to forget you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SEO - The lottery that you can't win

      Problem is, the first 5-8 pages are saturated with bollox these days. For certain search terms I have to hit 3 search engines (avoiding those which scrape Google).

      I thought search was a solved problem, but apparently discoverability on the web is getting worse.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SEO - The lottery that you can't win

        It was a solved problem (or closer to solved) before it became worth something to be ranked higher. Now it is a problem that even with of all Google's resources they can't do a good job with, which is why I am with you in often finding better results trying alternate search engines that the SEOs aren't trying to game.

        1. John Lilburne

          Re: SEO - The lottery that you can't win

          It was solved on the basis that "you are profiled". So they present you with search results from sites that you and your social network like. Google+ was meant to hid+ the fact that the search engines don't know shit, so you could thumb up a site and get similar crap next time. So thriw in a couple of wikipedia pages, and a handful of sites you've previously shown interest in and good to go. There is no attempt to winnow out the wheat from the chaff.

  2. hellwig

    It's so obvious now.

    I understand what's going on here with Google and the EU, Google and this case, Google and that case...

    People are under the impression that Google IS the internet! They don't realize that there is so much more to the internet than Google search. In fact, if you search something, and then click on the link, there's a high likely-hood that what you're seeing is NOT Google!

    No one (not even Google) claims Google is the gatekeeper to the internet. No one has to get Google's permission to host sites on the Internet or to access those sites.

    How is Google search anti-competitive? Do they force people to be linked ONLY from their website? Do they try to price out other FREE search sites by lowering the price of searches below fair market value? Do they collude with other big-name search engine players to force-out small mom and pop search engines? I don't think Google does ANY of that.

    Instead, Google runs their own, independent search engine and allows people to use it FREE OF CHARGE (don't like google tracking you, turn on an ad blocker or use private tabs).

    Now, if you are a BUSINESS that wants to benefit from Google's search services, OF COURSE you would be expected to pay! These SEO's are trying to ride the backs of Google's hard work. Sure, Google laid down the pipes, setup the infrastructure, wrote the algorithms, and hosts the content, but why can't I, an SEO, simply use all the infrastructure to make a profit? Seems like the exact case people get mad AT GOOGLE about when Google links to news article that might bypass pay walls or reduce AD revenue. If these people try to optimize a clients website to bypass the Google paywall (that is AD revenue), then why wouldn't Google also be able to block those abusive websites, just as news publishers look to block Google's access to news. OH WAIT, those companies aren't trying to block Google, they just want Google to pay them for that access.

    Everyone sees Google as a giant piggy bank they can break open anytime their feelings are hurt. Well guess what people, Google isn't too big to fail. If the EU and everyone else succeeds in cutting off all possible avenues of monetization for Google's services, they're just going to go away. Then who will we complain to when our pages don't get the visits they used to, Bing? Does the disappearance of a "monopoly" automatically make the next biggest provider the new monopoly? If Android disappears, will we FINALLY be able to call Apple a monopoly?

    For chrissake people, use Bing or DuckDuckGo or some non-American alternative. If Google is so evil, just STOP using it! You might be amazed what you can still do on the internet WITHOUT Google.

    1. Rol Silver badge

      Re: It's so obvious now.

      I remember a time when virtually the entire first page of a Google search was just links to other search engines finds and those annoying piggy in the middle marketeers, who would have "pink, left handed Martian chicken droppings" for sale, if that was what you typed in. The whole thing smelled like a scam.

      And indeed much of it was.

      Google has certainly cleaned things up and removed millions of crap links, that offered, at best, nothing of value, or far worse, an invitation to shopping hell. I've no doubt, that 90% of that junk was down to just a handful of skanky millionaire wannabes, who I can only assume, are now running coffee shops, or fried chicken outlets...you know, anything that makes a thousand percent profit on every transaction, with as little value addition as possible.

      So yeah, on this rare occasion, I'm on Google's side today.

      Can I have my 50 cents now?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's so obvious now.

        DuckDuckgo uses Googhoul exclusively apparently (just without the tracking supposedly)..

        There's an urgent need for more EU sites to compete headlong against US based services...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's so obvious now.

          The only other search engines out there are Yandex, Baidu or Bing and possibly Alexa. (you can't really count askjeeves, duckduckgo, yahoo etc etc - they all use google or bing for results)

          There are no big search buinesses like this (or any massive global platform businesses, possibly spotify excepted though not really a "massive" platform) coming out the EU and never will be until the EU makes english it's standard language and angel and VC investors have a higher risk appetite.

    2. DavCrav

      Re: It's so obvious now.

      "How is Google search anti-competitive? Do they force people to be linked ONLY from their website?"

      This question has been answered many times before. If you are the dominant player in a market you cannot just do whatever you feel like, and have to make sure you treat other people fairly compared with your own other businesses.

      I think it's clear that Google favoured, and still favours, Google Maps over other mapping websites. Right now Google Maps is fine, but it favoured it even when it was shockingly bad, and other ones, since starved of investment because they lost all their customers, have dropped in quality.

      You're not allowed to do that. It would be like Microsoft forcing all software to be installed via its app store. Which is so obviously anti-competitive that they would be slapped with a fine immediately. But some people seem to have a blind spot when Google does a similar thing (e.g., with Android).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's so obvious now.

      "It's so obvious now."

      That post's a long way of saying you don't understand competition laws!

  3. ma1010
    Angel

    Conflict of interest?

    Attorney Cheatum: "M'lud, there's no possible conflict of interest here. My client deleted those other sites simply because they were 'spammy!' The deletion had absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that those sites were competing with my client by offering other parties an alternative way to raise their search ratings besides paying my client directly. There is absolutely NO relationship between those two facts. As a great writer put it, the mere thought hadn't even begun to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing their minds. Honest!

    "Therefore, we move to dismiss the case in it's entirety, with prejudice, M'lud."

    The Judge: (Laughter) "Motion denied!"

  4. Herby

    So, who do you pay?

    Google to get high marks (works most of the time), or:

    Some fly by night SEO company that believes that they can outfox Google at their now game, and charges you to do it.

    As the saying goes: Youse pays your money, youse takes youse chances. The Google alternative looks more reliable to me. If you do pay a SEO company, you might get what you pay for, but if that other company changes its mind, you can get bypassed.

    Good luck!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, who do you pay?

      You described exactly what "abuse of dominant position" means.

    2. Ian 55

      Re: So, who do you pay?

      Or you could have some actual, you know, CONTENT.

      That people want to read.

      That'll get you better results.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The thing is…

    there are good SEO companies, and there's the bottom-dwelling scum.

    There are some that leave you alone until such time as you call on their services, then when called upon, can give advice on how to improve your website's rank with given keywords, how to structure your website so search engines can better index it, etc. Worth the money if ranking high is important to you.

    Then there are those who seemingly do a search for random domain names, and send emails like this:

    Hi, I’m XXXX, from a Sydney based Online Advertising Agency that specialises in both SEO and creating custom built websites for businesses.

    Our SEO and Web Services are legitimate, high quality, and most of all, affordable. We also offer written guarantees for our SEO services that you’ll appear on the 1st page of Google…

    (That was off debian-user by the way.) Some even send to owners of .id.au domains, and mention about "other websites in your industry"… errm… id.au is strictly for individuals, there is no "industry".

    Last time I checked, the first page of Google was in fact, Google.

    So while I don't always support Google, I don't necessarily support the SEO crowds either.

    1. Franklin

      Re: The thing is…

      I get about a dozen of those spam emails a day. And on those occasions where I've Googled the spammy SEO companies, I tend to notice that their companies don't appear on the first page of Google results.

      It's a bit like those psychics who claim to tell the future but can't seem to tell what tomorrow's lottery numbers will be; if an SEO company can't get their own business on the first page of Google, why on earth would any rational person think they could do it for someone else?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The thing is…

      And as expected, I wound up with one spam email this morning advertising SEO services, from a company that couldn't even make its own website appear on the first results page.

      Would you buy SEO services from a company that couldn't make its own website appear when you search for their business name?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    After the vomit fest I got to:

    "The main objective of our reviews & ratings is to assist our visitors in connecting with reputable vendors which historically have proven themselves capable of producing quality work. Each of the vendors featured within our database have been thoroughly examined in order to ensure the ratings are a reflection of the best vendors within the industry based on recent research and analysis, the latest client references, and the changing landscapes within the industries."

    Why does these read, to me, as we'll find competitors ratings and fiddle the stats to make yours look as good.

  7. BurnT'offering

    Re: there are good SEO companies

    Really?

  8. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

    Let me get this straight

    One company wants to skew search results one way

    Another company wants to skew search results another way.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've seen e-venture before, in company pages. While I don't appreciate or support them, I do appreciate their efforts to bring the giant to hubris..

  10. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    I am confused

    So some company or other pays an S.E.O. to try to get their search rankings higher?

    What is the difference between that and Google making political donations to, and lobbying whichever party will help it to increase it's profit the most?

    And if the, let's say the government, made it difficult to find websites it said was spammy or low quality, there would be hysterical screams of censorship.But it's fine if Google does the same? Oh please...

    And, if memory serves, Google pulled out of China because they were told by the Chinese Government that they had to pull links to websites that the government considered unsuitable.

    Am I the only one who can smell the stench of utter hypocrisy?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google has become a paid advertising site.

    Very profitable for Google

    Pricy for it's customers

    And less and less relevant to it's users.

    This problem is self solving (when it reaches the point of little more than an advertising rag, it will be dumped by it's users)

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "Google has become a paid advertising site."

      The internal takeover of Google by Doubleclick was completed some time back.

      The stench of that name was so bad that they had to rename to alphabet though. Renaming to DC would have resulted in a mass exodus.

  12. John Savard Silver badge

    Some Other Reason

    The service Google provides as a search engine to its customers is the search results they want to see.

    To provide this, Google uses techniques to try to distinguish genuinely useful and interesting sites associated with a user's search terms from sites that would be less relevant.

    An attempt to deceitfully trick these techniques, thus making them less effective, is against the interests of the people who use Google for searching. If enough people do this, Google would no longer be useful for searching for things.

    Not only should the lawsuit be thrown out, but legislators should be seriously looking into whether they could somehow criminalize so-called "search engine optimization". It's as simple as that.

  13. RyokuMas Silver badge
    FAIL

    Tumbleweed...

    Anyone from the pro-Google camp who are so quick to jump on any Microsoft-related article with "MS is dying" type posts care to comment on this?

    ... anyone?

    ... Thought not. Hello pot, this is kettle calling.

  14. Alan J. Wylie

    central London?

    a company with five global offices including one in central London

    http://www.eventuresworldwide.com/pages/contact-inquiries/contact-us

    United Kingdom: 90 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9RZ

    http://www.regus.co.uk/locations/office-space/london-covent-garden

    Again: 90 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9RZ

    http://www.regus.co.uk/products/virtual-offices/index.aspx

    Virtual offices

    A business address in the right place and a local contact number answered in your company name can make all the difference in business.

    Our professional teams will manage your calls and handle your mail. You get a choice of prestigious addresses for your business and use of all Regus Business Centres worldwide.

  15. Inachu

    Google is playing too may games with SEO stuff.

    Bring us back to the days of Infoseek please!

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