Margaret Ornsby

Local Search Expert
Jul 22, 2013
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"Google may have to provide more details when they remove a site from search results for violating its guidelines." - Bill Slawski

Essentially, E-ventures is claiming that because its business focuses on getting websites higher rankings in Google's unpaid search listings, Google removed it and its affiliates so that companies will instead pay Google for higher rankings.

While publishers are entitled to discretion for editorial judgment decisions, plaintiff has alleged that Google?s reason for banning its websites was not based upon ?editorial judgments? but instead based upon anti-competitive motives.

Plaintiff has adequately alleged that it did not violate any of Google?s policies and that the representations made by Google that E-ventures? pages violate Google?s policies are false.

Google?s 1st Amendment defense to search censorship fails in court | Ars Technica

Eric Rohrback

Oct 3, 2012
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Yeah, I agree with the quote from Bill Slawksi. Google definitely needs to provide more details on WHY. If they're going to be vague about why they removed the sites from their index, then I can't see them winning a case like this if you have a judge/jury of non-digital marketers. Someone can say they'll promise to get higher rankings in Google, and even elude they may do it unethically. Google needs to bring proof that they violated their terms of service, which may also force them to clearly spell out what you can't do/why you're getting dropped when they decide to remove the site.

I read through the court docs listed in the article, and I have to say I agree with E-Ventures on this one and Google's defense was pretty weak. Although Google may have the right to drop E-Venture's corporate site (if in fact they did violate the rules), that didn't give Google the right to drop all the affiliate sites without pointing out why. The sites can't be penalized by association alone.

"Plaintiff alleges that nowhere in the Removal Policies does Google indicate that it will ban a website owner or take punitive action against a website owner by removing from its paid and unpaid search results every website affiliated or associated with the website owner"

If Google can't sufficiently defend that all sites violated the guidelines and spell out why, they have no chance to win.

Hopefully this gives them the kick in the butt to spell out why a site gets a manual warning clearer than they are. I don't like spam or companies trying to game the system, but if the owner of the system can't spell out in lay terms how you broke the rules it's hard to feel sorry for them. I wonder if we'll see some changes come from this... or maybe more cases come up in the future.
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