States Threaten Action If Google Doesn’t Delist “Illegal Sites”

google-legal-cash-featured According to the Washington Post, 24 state attorneys general are trying to pressure Google to discontinue ads and the indexing of sites they argue teach or enable criminal activity. In particular, they continue to pressure Google to eliminate advertising connected to the sale of illegal or fake prescription drugs. The attorneys generals' complaints were initially aired in a December 2013 letter to Google General Counsel Kent Walker and then a follow-up letter sent in February 2014. The December letter lists the following complaints and concerns: These issues include: (1) Google's moneti [...]


Report: Google Now Master Of Lobbying, Backroom Dealing

google-legal-law-featured An article in the Washington Post asserts that Google has now become a master lobbyist and behind-the-scenes manipulator in Washington. It details the company's increase in campaign contributions and outreach efforts to influence legislators. The message of the lengthy article is that Google is now buying influence and policy outcomes that favor the company. Source: Washington Post There are numerous concrete examples cited for the idea that Google has manipulated policy outcomes or bought influence through contributions to individuals, third party groups or academic institutions. [...]


The War On Links

shutterstock_104739881-fear-of-links In case you didn't notice, we are waging a war over links. Some would say that SEOs are at war with search engines, but I disagree. Search engines and SEOs have a symbiotic relationship; and without meaning to, we've killed the value of the link. The link, once a simple connector from one site to another, has become the subject of intense scrutiny by SEOs, Google, and even the US Copyright Office.  Do you remember what it was like to really "surf" the Internet? The way you could bounce from site to site simply by following blogrolls and webrings? The rush of energy and excitement that [...]


Google Updates Its Privacy Policy

google-locks-privacy-featured You may have noticed Google's Privacy Policy has been updated as of March 31, with a red letter "Updated" call-out the site's home page preceding Google's Privacy & Terms link. This is the first time the company has updated the policy this year, following an update in December of 2013. There were only two updates last year, one occurring on June 24 and the other on December 20. Google posted a "Comparison" page to outline the most recent Privacy Policy updates, along with an archive of updates dating back to June 9, 1999. "As you use our services, we want you to be clear how we're [...]


Google Gets Another Street View Privacy Fine — In Italy

street-view-car-featured It seems like each European country is taking its turn fining Google for some privacy infraction. This time, it's Italy and involves Street View. Google has reportedly paid a roughly $1.4 million (1 million EUR) fine. According a story in Reuters, the issue this time was the failure to clearly mark Street View cars during Italian street photography in 2010: The fine announced on Thursday relates only to vehicles not being labeled clearly enough. The watchdog has also reported to Italy's judicial authorities that Google accidentally captured fragments of electronic communications as part of [...]


US Court Says Baidu Has Free Speech Right To Censor Search

baidu-600 Late last week, Chinese search engine Baidu succeeded in gaining dismissal of a lawsuit by pro-democracy activists based in New York (Zhang et al. v. Baidu.com, Inc). Plaintiffs had sued in the US and argued that Baidu improperly blocked them from seeing content on the search engine. Specifically, according to Reuters, the plaintiffs said that people in the US couldn't access content (including their work) advocating greater openness and democracy in China. Among other remedies, they were seeking $16 million in damages. Ironically, the US District Court judge said that Baidu's right [...]


EU Antitrust Chief Says Google Settlement Essentially Done

google-eu-featured Amid criticism from politicians and Google's critics, EU antitrust chief Joaquín Almunia has essentially said that the current version of Google's antitrust settlement proposal is a done deal. While he didn't rule out changes definitively he seems to think complainants' criticisms have been addressed. The current proposal requires Google to give up considerable screen real estate and branding to vertical rivals. Google's opponents want another "market test" (time for criticism and study of the proposal's potential impact). They also don't want to pay Google for placement in contex [...]


EU Settlement Nearly Done, Google Antitrust Drama Shifts To India

Google legal Although the Google antitrust settlement in Europe isn't final it appears we're in the final minutes of the final act. There still may be a surprise or two in store but we mostly know how this story is going to end. Now it appears the Google antitrust drama is shifting to India, where an antitrust investigation against the company is ongoing. According to a report in the Times of India, that country's competition authority, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), has the power to impose a fine of up 10 percent annual revenues, averaged over a three year period. That could mean up t [...]


BrightEdge Uses SEO Patents As “Sword,” Sues Searchmetrics

patents-600 Oh no they didn't: BrightEdge has sued rival Searchmetrics using multiple SEO patents, which were granted last year. The concern being expressed by some today is that this could be the beginning of a wave of litigation as BrightEdge seeks to capitalize on its newly granted IP or goes after competitors that it perceives to be infringing. The patents in question broadly pertain to various automated SEO software tools: 8,577,863: “Correlating web page visits and conversions with external references” Granted 11/5/2013 8,478,700: “Opportunity identification and forecasting for search [...]


Tweet Showing How Google Itself Is A “Scraper Site” Goes Massively Viral

gone-viral-600 Perhaps it's SEO's "Oreo moment," a tweet relating to search engine optimization that's gained nearly as much attention as Oreo's famous Super Bowl blackout tweet. But the subject was a perfect storm of goodness -- a real-life example of Google doing the type of thing in search it seems to be telling others not to do. Yesterday, the head of Google's web spam team Matt Cutts announced a new Google Scraper Report for publishers to use if they see a site that has copied or "scraped" its content and which outranks the publisher in Google searches. That quickly brought up a number of people j [...]


German Design Firm Claims Willful Patent Infringement Over Google Earth

Google Earth A German design firm is claiming that Google and Google Earth have infringed its patent (USRE44550 E1) and is seeking triple damages under the notion that the infringement was intentional or willful. The firm, ART+COM ("ACI"), makes the following claims: The development history of Google Earth indicates knowledge and infringement by key Google employees Google Earth "bears remarkable similarities to ART+COM's commercial system, which was developed nearly a decade prior to Google's introduction of Google Earth" The claimed patent and method for rendering geographical objects (Terravis [...]


Will 11th Hour Objections Derail The Google-EU Antitrust Settlement?

Google Europe When the European Commission recently announced yet another antitrust settlement with Google the matter appeared to be coming to an end. This was the third proposed settlement from Google but indications from EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia suggested that it was essentially final and only formalities remained to approve it. Unlike the two previous settlement proposals, this one is reportedly not going to be subjected to a "market test" (formal review by rivals and critics) -- although the European Commission will be accepting comments, apparently. Google's critics immediate [...]


Microsoft: We Don’t Censor Search Outside China

bing-china-600 Bing censors search results in China in accordance with Chinese law. But does it do so in the US and elsewhere around the world for Chinese users? That disturbing proposition was raised yesterday in an article appearing in The Guardian. The article asserted that Bing search results for Chinese language speakers in the US were radically different than those in English for controversial terms such as Tiananmen Square or Dalai Lama: Microsoft’s search engine Bing appears to be censoring information for Chinese language users in the US in the same way it filters results in mainland China. S [...]


It’s Done: Google Settles Search Antitrust Case In Europe

Google EU Roughly a year after Google settled an antitrust investigation with the US Federal Trade Commission, Bloomberg is reporting that Google and the European Commission have reached a final settlement that would end the regulator's antitrust search investigation against the company. According to the report, "Google will escape fines or any finding by regulators that it may have discriminated against competing search sites." Google similarly escaped any significant fines or penalties in the US investigation. The heart of the controversy as it has evolved -- and the core of the settlement -- is [...]


Report: Google Close (Again) To EU Antitrust Settlement

Google EU The third time may be the charm. According to Reuters Google is (once again) "close to settling a three-year antitrust probe by European regulators after it offered 'much better' concessions" to the European Commission (EC). However Google has been here before. Two previous antitrust settlements were strenuously opposed and thus defeated by Google critics and competitors. As part of that lobbying campaign several sponsored studies were issued, which uniformly found the core of Google's settlement proposals -- prominently showing links to rivals' results -- would have little or no impact on [...]


Google May Be Forced To Pay $1 Billion To Patent Troll

google-legal-cash-featured A New York-based "patent troll" called Vringo, through its subsidiary I/P engine, successfully sued Google, Microsoft, AOL and others using two patents related to search advertising. The plaintiff won approximately $30 million at trial in 2012. Google was asked to pay $15.8 million of that amount. Yet plaintiffs were also seeking ongoing royalties, which the court has now awarded. Google was contesting the royalty and the company will likely now appeal the calculation, which is potentially massive. The math is confusing. However, as Ars Technia reports, the royalty amounts to ju [...]


German Courts Follow French Ruling & Order Google To Block Max Mosley Images In Search Results

Google Europe Google has lost another case in the Max Mosley lawsuit, this time in Germany. According to a Reuter's report, a German court has ruled Google is responsible for distributing scandalous pictures of the former Formula One president, and is ordering the search engine to block links to the images from appearing in search results. The lawsuit stems from a 2008 case Mosley won against the British tabloid News of the World for publishing photos of Mosley engaged in a sex party with prostitutes. Last year, Mosley filed a lawsuit against Google in France and Germany to keep the images from appearing [...]


An Easy Way To Check What Referrer Data Google, Bing Or Yahoo Pass To Your Secure Site

secure With the three major search engines migrating their default searches to secure search, over SSL/HTTPS, marketers and webmasters want to know what referrer and analytics data will be passed to them and what won't. The majority of Google is secure search, Yahoo yesterday defaulted all searches to be conducted over SSL, and Bing is currently testing SSL search for those who opt in. Testing Referrer Data From HTTPS Search To HTTP URL The default protocol for passing referrer from an HTTPS URL to a non HTTPS URL is to not pass any referrer data at all. Both Yahoo and Bing comply with that, whi [...]


Yahoo Search Goes Secure, Taking Referrer Data — An Indicator Of Yahoo’s Popularity — With It

yahoo-featured By default, searches on Yahoo.com are now done through a secure server. That means more protection for searchers but less data for search marketers about how they are receiving traffic. Most visits from Yahoo done via search will appear as if someone came to a site directly. As a result, Yahoo's apparent popularity as a traffic driving source will appear to plunge. Yahoo also has left a loophole to keep sending search data to advertisers. Yahoo Makes Secure Search The Default is our story on Marketing Land with more details about the shift. In summary, it's still rolling out and by M [...]


Google Remarketing Ads Found To Violate Canadian Privacy Law; To Revamp Ad Review System By June

google-canada-featured Google has agreed to several concessions after an investigation by Canada's Office of the Privacy Commissioner found Google in violation of Canada's privacy rights for the use of sensitive health history in remarketing campaigns. The investigation began last January, when a man complained that his personal health history was being used for ad targeting purposes.  After searching for and visiting sites related to medical devices for sleep apnea, he was retargeted with display ads for those devices when he browsed the web. The Commissioner's office has agreed with the man that Google [...]


Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide