Could You Walk In Google’s Shoes? Making Tough Calls With Search Listings

It's pretty easy to sit back and slam Google for how you think it should make decisions when it comes to search listings. It's much harder to actually make those decisions, when you have a deeper understanding of all the implications involved. To experience this better, here's a chance to put yourself in Google's shoes and make some of the tough decisions. Below is a video from a special session we did at our SMX West search marketing conference earlier this year. Patrick Thomas, Google's search policy specialist and Matt Cutts, the head of Google's web spam fighting team, suggested a v [...]


Google Says European Law Does Not Support Mosley Lawsuit To Censor Search Results

Google Europe Yesterday, Google posted a plea on their Google Europe blog asking European courts to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former Formula One president Max Mosley. The lawsuit requests that Google build a filter to identify and block what Mosley claims is unlawful content. A report on Bloomberg.com claims Mosley's lawyers filed a suit in a French Court, asking Google to create filters that could identify and remove content referencing "Nazi-themed" sex parties in association with Mosley.  A lawsuit has also been filed in Hamburg, Germany. In response to the lawsuit, Google's associate general cou [...]


Search Privacy Low On List Of Privacy Concerns For US Internet Users

search privacy Despite the fact that search history can be so revealing about people's desires and interests, a new survey of US internet users finds that concern over search privacy -- while significant -- still ranks far behind other online privacy issues. The survey by the Pew Research Center covered 1,000 adults in the US, was conducted last month and asked a wide-range of questions about online privacy. You can read it here, and also see our coverage on Marketing Land: Report: Almost 90 Percent Concerned About Online Privacy & Trying To Avoid Advertisers. One part asked people to rank types o [...]


How to Recover When Your Content Is Stolen

dmca-google Last month, I shared a case study of a client I'm currently working with on a duplicate content issue. It turns out that this particular site had significantly lost rankings over the past year because of other sites "lifting" their content, often verbatim, causing the client's site to lose rankings through Panda updates. This is a common problem for content producers. You produce great content only to have other sites disregard copyright and repurpose the content on their own sites -- without attribution. I see this often in the case of associations and non-profits that may be producing val [...]


Privacy Groups Want Judge To Reject Google’s $8.5 Million Settlement Over Search Privacy Lawsuit

google-legal-240px Last month, Google agreed to pay $8.5 million into a settlement fund over a class-action lawsuit by two searchers who accused the company of transmitting their personal information to third parties without their consent or knowledge that the information was being shared. The final court approval of the proposed settlement was scheduled for today, but five US privacy groups have asked the court to reject the preliminary settlement agreement. Electronic Privacy Information Center, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Watchdog, Patient Privacy and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse wrote a joint l [...]


With Amazing Chutzpah Google Claims It Can’t Be Sued In UK Courts

Google legal Last year Google was embroiled in controversy over its circumvention of the Safari browser's cookie-privacy settings (on the iPhone and beyond). As a result the company paid a $22.5 million fine to settle the case with the US FTC approximately a year ago. The FTC summarizes the facts that lead to the settlement: [F]or several months in 2011 and 2012, Google placed a certain advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick advertising network, although Google had previously told these users they would automatically be opted out of [...]


Bing Reports They Receive Hundreds Of Thousands Of DMCA Complaints Every Month

google-bing-piracy-featured Because of its share of the search market, Google is most frequently targeted by copyright holders filing DMCA complaints, but the search giant is not the only one managing requests to remove unlawful links from search results. TorrentFreak reports Bing not only receives a great number of takedown notices monthly, but Microsoft submits DMCA complaints to its own search engine, as well as others. "Each month, Bing receives DMCA notices from a variety of copyright owners that seek removal of hundreds of thousands of URLs," said a Microsoft spokesperson. According to TorrentFreak, while Micros [...]


New Research Says Search Engines Have Little To Do With Promoting Pirated Content

google-bing-piracy-featured A new research paper authored by Matt Schruers and published by the Computer & Communications Industry Association argues that search engines have been unfairly targeted in the quest to impede online copyright infringement. According to the paper, the perception is that search engines are the primary culprit in copyright infringement cases, offering visibility to unlawful and pirated content. But, Schruers writes, "the contention that disappearing undesirable entries from search results would substantially prevent piracy is flawed" and "the solutions to online infringement have little t [...]


Revealed: The 17 Other Search Engines The FTC Warned Over Paid Ad Disclosures

ftc-featured In June, the US Federal Trade Commission warned seven "general purpose" search engines -- including Google, Bing and Yahoo -- about the need to ensure they were properly disclosing paid ads. But 17 other "specialty" search engines were also warned. Which ones? The FTC wouldn't say. Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request, Search Engine Land can now reveal the names. Our story from June -- FTC Updates Search Engine Ad Disclosure Guidelines After “Decline In Compliance” -- explains the warnings that were sent in more detail. At the time, the FTC said that AOL, Ask, Bing, Blek [...]


Suing Your SEO: Can An Agency Be Held Liable For Poor Results?

Legal [caption id="attachment_168378" align="alignright" width="239"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] It was only a matter of time before a lawsuit was filed against a search engine optimization agency for failing to deliver. Last week, the legal marketing industry was aTwitter (and aFacebook and even aPlus) with news that law firm Seikaly & Stewart had filed a lawsuit against The Rainmaker Institute seeking a return of their $49,000 in SEO fees and punitive damages under civil RICO (read: mobsters and racketeering -- more on that later). To the best of my knowledge, this is the larges [...]


German Publishers Opt-In To Google News — For The Moment

Google legal Following the enactment of a controversial copyright law in Germany, Google said that it would require publishers to formally "opt-in" to Google News or be excluded from results. Accordingly major German publishers have decided to do so -- for now. The new law, which went into effect today and gives publishers almost total control over the use of their content, still allows news aggregators and search engines to show “single words” and modest “text excerpts” but creates legal uncertainty and potential liability for those who misinterpret the rules. What qualifies as a "text excer [...]


Google Continues Censoring Piracy-Related Search Suggestions By Blocking Grooveshark

google-search-censored-featured TorrentFreak reports Google has added another website to the piracy block list for their instant search suggestions. The site is named Grooveshark, which is a popular free music streaming service. Google would not comment specifically about Grooveshark, but told TorrentFreak, "our algorithms prevent terms closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete." Back in January 2011, Google began filtering piracy related terms from their instant search suggestions. Google said then that they will "prevent terms that are closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete. [...]


Google Agrees To Settle Lawsuit Over Passing Search Queries To Third Parties

google-legal-240px Google has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit that stems from two searchers accusing the company of sharing their search queries with third parties without user content or knowledge. As part of the settlement, Google has agreed to pay $8.5 million into a settlement fund, with that money going to seven groups/organizations on the condition that they agree to use the money for public education and/or research related to protecting online privacy. In October 2010, Paloma Gaos sued Google because the company "transmitted user search queries to third parties without knowledge or consent [...]


Search Engines Ixquick & StartPage Double Up On Security Measures With 2 New Encryption Standards

Online security, privacy On the heels of the US PRISM scandal, private search engines Ixquick and its partner site StartPage are leveraging new encryption methods that offer higher levels of security beyond the standard SSL encryption. With a combined four millions searches daily, Ixquick and StartPage boast they are the first search engines in the world to employ "Perfect Forward Secrecy" (PFS) along with TLS 1.1. and 1.2, creating a more secure network around their search traffic data. "We're setting the standard for encryption in the post-PRISM world," claims StartPage developer and privacy expert Dr. Kather [...]


Google’s Schmidt: Hollywood Should Take Content Pirates To Court

copyright-piracy-featured Google's Eric Schmidt says that the entertainment industry should focus on taking content pirates to court, rather than just trying to get Google (and other search engines) to remove pirate sites from search results. His comments, reported by Variety, came yesterday during an impromptu chat with reporters at an annual financial conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. "The industry would like us to edit the web and literally delete sites, and that goes counter to our philosophy," Schmidt is quoted as saying. But Google does remove pages. The company announced at the end of 2012 that it had r [...]


StartPage, Ixquick Passed 4 Million Daily Searches On Monday

startpage-ixquick-200px StartPage and Ixquick, sister search engines that offer private searching, announced that they surpassed four million daily direct searches on Monday. The announcement comes about three weeks after the parent company announced that they reached three million daily searches for the first time. Ixquick CEO Robert Beens credits the higher search activity to public reaction to the ongoing NSA/PRISM surveillance scandal. People are making major changes in their on-line habits and looking for ways to protect their private information from US government surveillance. Our fans especially apprec [...]


FTC Updates Search Engine Ad Disclosure Guidelines After “Decline In Compliance”

ftc-building-featured In 2002, the US Federal Trade Commission issued landmark guidelines to search engines, to ensure they were make a clear distinction between their paid and unpaid listings. Now, the FTC has updated those guidelines, saying it has seen a "decline in compliance" since they were first issued. The FTC posted the news today on its site, along with letters that were sent to over 20 general-purpose and specialty search engines. The move comes just over a year since I wrote to the FTC noting that there were several compliance issues I was seeing with search engines and its guidelines. In part [...]


Duck Duck Go’s Post-PRISM Growth Actually Proves No One Cares About “Private” Search

duckduckgo-featured Look out, Google! Duck Duck Go is on the rise, posting a 50% traffic increase in just eight days. Is this proof people want a "private" search engine, in the wake of allegations the PRISM program allows the US government to read search data with unfettered access? Nope. Google has little to worry about. People don't care about search privacy, and Duck Duck Go's growth demonstrates this. Don't get me wrong. If you ask people about search privacy, they'll respond that it's a major issue. Big majorities say they don't want to be tracked nor receive personalized results. But if you look at [...]


Google To State AG’s: We’ve Blocked Over 3 Million Bad Ads From “Rogue Online Pharmacies”

google-cop-police-featured As part of its response to a potential subpoena by the Mississippi attorney general and accusations from The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) earlier this month that Google facilitates the sale of drugs without a prescription, among other illegal transactions,  Google legal director, Adam Barea, says the company has blocked or removed from its systems more than 3 million ads by suspected "rogue pharmacies" in the last two years.   The current complaints from the State Attorneys General focus primarily on Google allowing illegal sites to show in the organic search result [...]


Mississippi Attorney General To Subpoena Google For Illegal Sale Of Prescription Drugs

google-legal-law-featured Mississippi attorney general Jim Hood will subpoena Google records and emails to determine if Google facilitated the sale of drugs without a prescription and other illegal products, including counterfeit copies of movies, games and music. "Google is aiding and abetting criminal activity and putting consumers at risk," says Hood, "This is of grave concern to the chief law enforcement officers of this nation." The attorney general heads an intellectual property section of the National Association of Attorneys General and is urging other attorney generals to follow his lead. According to a [...]


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