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Google PageRank Suit Dismissed 97

idobi writes to mention a C|Net article covering the dismissal of the Google page ranking case. Despite the loss, KinderStart also saw the ruling as a victory. The judge left the door open for a refiling, and the company is seeking to bring the suit to class-action status. Assistant professor of law at Marquette University Law School Eric Goldman comments in the article: "Frankly, there are very few novel or surprising aspects of this ruling. For example, the judge rejected the claim that Google was a state actor, but this ruling is entirely consistent with the dozen or so precedents involving private Internet companies ... The other rulings seemed very sensible and fairly predictable from the complaint. It's pretty clear that the judge thinks that some of KinderStart's claims have no chance even with repleading, but the judge apparently has decided to give KinderStart that chance rather than just shutting the door."
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Google PageRank Suit Dismissed

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  • Re:Wtf? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @12:52PM (#15719936)
    No, that's wrong. They have the chance to ammend. There is no restriction about 'manual editting'.


    Fogel specifically dismissed some of the claims against Google "with leave to amend," meaning that KinderStart can modify and refile the complaint.


    "The decision suggests that, if properly alleged, Google may be defaming a whole class of Web sites sacked with a '0' PageRank," he wrote in a statement. "If plaintiffs show Google manually tampered with even a single Web site's PageRank, Google's entire claim of 'objectivity' of search results and rankings could collapse."
    This only says that Google's defense may fail if the defendent can (this time) prove that Google manually modified anything. They couldn't prove it the first time, so I fail to see how they could with a second chance.
  • by Rasta Prefect ( 250915 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @01:34PM (#15720247)
    Sure - and by this reasoning, the telco's and ISP's *can* charge variable rates for access to *their* networks. It belongs to them, they made it.

    ISPs and Telcos play by a different set of rules. They've been granted a whole bunch of special privleges by the government (I certainly didn't give them permission to put phone lines through my front yard, and I'm quite certain that the government isn't going to let another telco come along and install a whole second set). You'll notice the only ISPs that we care about Net Neutrality with are the broadband ISPs who own the cable in my front yard - Nobody cares if AOL gives their own services preferential treatment, because you can just switch to another dialup ISP.

    In the same way, switching to a different search engine is trivial - I just type a different address into the bar and use MSN or or altavista. Google is the biggest fish in the pond, but they're hardly the only one, so lacking the special Monopoly status that the telcos and a certain OS manufacturer have, there is no reason to restrict what they can do with their stuff.

  • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Friday July 14, 2006 @01:45PM (#15720335) Homepage Journal
    They'd have to show that Google is more than just saying "You suck". It's perfectly legal to express an opinion. Even if they can prove malice, their next step is to prove that the rank is a false statement of fact.

    So the judge is saying that he's also not completely closed to that idea, either. Google would probably say that a page rank is a matter of opinion. They'll respond that it's not; it's an objective number, and you artifically lowered ours. Google will say that the number is a product of an algorithm, and that the algorithm encodes certain opinions that they have, including "You suck."

    Or kinderstart could say, "Google makes a statement that our site is less 'good' than site X. We submit a bunch of paperwork to show our site is better. Therefore their statement is false, and we show malice with the artificial page-rank lowering."

    I doubt the judge would buy that, either, if for no other reason than that it makes every single Google decision actionable. But he didn't want to rule it out completely with prejudice.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham