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Tag Archives: seo
Court Says Google Has A First Amendment Right To Delist Competitor’s ‘Spammy’ Content – Above the Law
Posted: February 19, 2017 at 10:55 am
Last summer, a Florida federal court reachedsome unusual conclusionsin a lawsuit filed by SEO company e-ventures, which felt Google had overstepped its bounds in delisting a lot of its links. Google defended itself, citing both Section 230 and the First Amendment. The court disagreed with both arguments.
As to Section 230, the court found that Googles delisting efforts werent in good faith. The reason cited was e-ventures claim that the delisting was in bad faith. So much for this seldom-used aspect of Section 230: the Good Samaritan clause which states no third-party company can be found liable for actions it takes to remove content it finds questionable. And so much for viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Apparently, Googles long history of spam-fighting efforts is nothing compared to an SEO wranglers pained assertions.
The court also said Google had no First Amendment right to handle its search rankings however it saw fit, which is more than a little problematic. While it admitted Googles search rankings were protected speech, its statements about how it handled search engines werent. And, for some reason, the court felt that Googles ads undermined its First Amendment protections because its desire to turn a profit somehow nullified its editorial judgment.
It was a strange decision and one that suggested this court might be considering getting into the business of telling service providers how to run their businesses. It also suggested this court believed the more successful the business was, the fewer rights and protections it had. These dubious conclusions prevented Google from having the case dismissed.
Fortunately, this wasnt the final decision. As Eric Goldman points out, last years denial only delayed the inevitable. After a few more rounds of arguments and legal paperwork, Google has prevailed. But theres not much to celebrate in this decision as the court has (again) decided toroute around Googles Section 230 Good Samaritan defense.
Regarding 230(c)(2), the court says spam can qualify as harassing or objectionable content (cite toe360insightwith a but-see to theSong Ficase). Still, the court says e-ventures brought forward enough circumstantial evidence about Googles motivations to send the case to a trial. By making it so Google cant even win on summary judgment, rulings like this just reinforce how Section 230(c)(2) is a useless safe harbor.
Had it ended there, Google would be still be facing e-ventures claims. But it didnt. The court takes another look at Googles First Amendment claims and finds that the search engine provider does actually have the right to remove spammy links. Beyond that, it finds Google even has the First Amendment right to remove competitors content. From theorder[PDF]:
[T]he First Amendment protects as speech the results produced by an Internet search engine. Zhang v. Baidu.com, Inc., 10 F. Supp. 3d 433, 435 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). A search engine is akin to a publisher, whose judgments about what to publish and what not to publish are absolutely protected by the First Amendment. See Miami Herald Publg Co. v. Tornillo, 418 U.S. 241, 258 (1974) (The choice of material to go into a newspaper . . .whether fair or unfairconstitute[s] the exercise of editorial control and judgment that the First Amendment protects.) The presumption that editorial judgments, no matter the motive, are protected expression is too high a bar for e-ventures to overcome.
And the court walks back its earlier conclusion the one that seemed to find profit-motivated editorial judgment to be unworthy of First Amendment protections.
Googles actions in formulating rankings for its search engine and in determining whether certain websites are contrary to Googles guidelines and thereby subject to removal are the same as decisions by a newspaper editor regarding which content to publish, which article belongs on the front page, and which article is unworthy of publication. The First Amendment protects these decisions, whether they are fair or unfair, or motivated by profit or altruism.
The case is now dismissed with prejudice which bars e-ventures from complaining about Googles delisting efforts in federal court. e-ventures has gone this far already in hopes of seeing its terms-violating content reinstated, so it will likely attempt to appeal this decision. But it really shouldnt. Its unlikely another set of judges will help it clear the First Amendment hurdle. Not only that, but this area of law should be well-settled by now, as Goldman points out:
Of course Google can de-index sites it thinks are spam. Its hard to believe were still litigating that issue in 2017; these issues were explored in suits likeSearchKingandKinderStartfrom over a decade ago.
The plaintiff was given a long leash by the court, which should have tossed last year. Even with the extra time and the court doings its Section 230 circumvention work for it, e-ventures still couldnt prevail.
Court Says Google Has A First Amendment Right To Delist Competitors Spammy Content
Dangerous: Judge Says It Was Objectively Unreasonable For Cox To Claim DMCA Safe Harbors Trump Tops Obama, Hands Over Full Torture Report To Court Previous Administration Refused To Apple Wants To Stop You Fixing Your iPhone And iPad: Source Says It Will Testify Against Right To Repair Legislation
Posted: December 28, 2015 at 2:43 pm
Homeadmin2015-12-15T17:22:13+00:00 Our Next Meeting
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Posted: April 12, 2015 at 6:47 am
True SEO results using TOR Browser
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By: Malton Web Design
True SEO results using TOR Browser – Video
Posted: September 13, 2014 at 1:45 pm
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By: Bradenton SEO
Posted: November 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm
DALLAS, Pa., Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –Digital Net Agency, Inc. (DNA), a leading performance-based digital agency, today announces its acquisition of 4 Paws Marketing, LLC, an online marketing agency specializing in the affiliate channel. Its second acquisition this year, the deal elevates DNA to the largest affiliate program management agency in the United States for premier brands online, providing comprehensive one-stop digital marketing solutions to clients representing all sizes and industries.
Launched earlier this year with a mission to upend traditional agency models, the rapidly growing DNA focuses on maximizing agency accountability and minimizing client risk, all while fueling massive client growth. DNA is staffed by a team of veterans from Top 10 Search agencies and Top 5 affiliate networks, who have helped hundreds of advertisers from start-ups to Fortune 500 brands manage the most complex search and affiliate programs in the world. Dedicated to putting talent, research, technology, and proven strategies at the forefront of its business, DNA offers unique revenue and equity-based models to its clients.
“We have a long history working with 4 Paws Marketing, and the decision to advance our business relationship has been an organic one,” said Digital Net Agency CEO Aaron Baker. “Affiliate marketing is the holy grail of marketing in terms of accountability. 4 Paws Marketing possesses a deep knowledge within the affiliate marketing space, and will provide DNA and its clients with world-class talent within the affiliate channel. We are delighted with this decision, and the unique opportunity it will provide our current and future clients.”
An expert in the affiliate industry, 4 Paws Marketing provides its clients with a strategic approach to the pay-for-performance space. Using a results oriented strategy, and keeping a strong focus on accountability, 4 Paws Marketing boasts a client portfolio of leading brands and top Internet retailers. The company specializes in all aspects of affiliate program management, including aggressive affiliate recruitment and optimization strategies, brand protection and creative services.
Forrester Research predicts affiliate marketing will grow from $1 Billion annually in 2009 to $4 Billion annually by 2014*. The acquisition will allow DNA to feed this rapidly growing space with the unique opportunity of marrying DNA’s sophisticated brand protection technologies and advanced recruitment platforms, with 4 Paws Marketing’s top talent and deep expertise within the affiliate channel. Both new and existing clients will benefit from the increased capabilities the move will offer.
“We are thrilled to join DNA; their commitment to service and accountability within the digital market space coincides with that of 4 Paws Marketing,” said Samantha Morris, founder of 4 Paws Marketing. “DNA’s specialized ability to leverage advanced technology platforms will further our current capabilities, allowing us to lead the way with new and innovative approaches within the affiliate market space.”
The acquisition was finalized on November 5th, 2012. The integrated company will operate as a whole under the name Digital Net Agency, Inc. (DNA).
About DNADigital Net Agency, Inc. (DNA) is a leading performance-based digital agency with a concentration on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). DNA also offers social media and affiliate marketing to their clients with the same innovative approach and expertise. Founded by a team of veteran search experts and technologists from Top 10 agencies, DNA is dedicated to partnering with clients to fuel growth while delivering maximum accountability through its performance-based models. DNA is based in Dallas, PA, with offices in New York City.
About 4 Paws Marketing 4 Paws Marketing is a top affiliate program management service with over 11 years in the affiliate management industry. The 4 Paws Marketing team has big-brand experience as marketing managers and directors for Fortune 500 retailers, and a passion for the online marketing industry, particularly the pay-for-performance space.4 Paws Marketing ensures that each client is armed with the metrics needed to reach marketing goals, acquire new customers and enhance the overall value of the client’s online marketing channel. A portion of total monthly fees is donated to the non-profit, animal-related cause of each client’s choice.
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Digital Net Agency (DNA) Acquires Top Affiliate Management Agency 4 Paws Marketing, LLC
Posted: October 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm
Jay Rockefeller and the US Senate Committee sent a letter to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo asking them to do a better job preventing “their search engines from being gamed through search engine optimization tactics.”
Seriously, “search engine optimization tactics?” Really? The letter goes on, to explain that this is “scam involving moving services, which has seen affected consumers lose personal possessions and pay thousands of dollars above quoted prices to dodgy moving companies.”
When does it become politically incorrect to associate SEO with scams and spam? Why can’t they use a different job classification to talk about spammy SEO? Why not call it search spam tactics? By call it search engine optimization tactics?
I think we need one of us in the senate to write a letter to the US Senate Committee on how to classify our industry in a politically correct manner.
In any event, both TechCrunch and Search Engine Land have another view of this story. I am just covering it from a community perspective.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.
Note: This story was scheduled to be posted on this day, but was written earlier.