Website Guilty Over Google’s Automated Snippet

The Register reports a Dutch court has ruled against a Dutch web site, where the web site was sued over the automated snippet used in Google for a keyword phrase.

When someone searched for [Zwartepoorte] and [bankrupt], Google showed and the snippet in the Google search results for was:

Complete name: Zwartepoorte Specialiteit: BMW…This company has been declared bankrupt, it has been acquired by the motordealer I have worked for Boat Rialto…

What is the issue? Well, Zwartepoorte did not go bankrupt and was upset when the Google snippet showed they did. So Zwartepoorte sued, not Google for this error, and won. The site owner had to change their web page so Google would remove the snippet.

This is pretty crazy if you ask me. Google algorithmically makes the snippets. No where on the page did the site say the company went bankrupt. In any event, the court required the web site to modify the page so Google would remove the automated snippet.

“The Court argues that it might be true that the website had no control over the functioning of Google but suggests that these questions about the opacity of Google’s functioning should be addressed in a broader context… then concludes that defendant had its own responsibility,” says van Hoboken, a PhD candidate at the Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam.

Hat tip to Blogstorm for spotting this case.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Legal | Google: Web Search | Legal: Crawling & Indexing | Top News


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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