Sunday, July 02, 2006

KinderStart Case May Proceed

Back in March, I wrote about KinderStart.com and how it was suing Google over being demoted in its search rankings (read the suit here). Now it seems that that the US District Judge handling the case is sympathetic to KinderStarts' antitrust allegations against Google. KinderStart claims that it is a search engine and, as such, that Google engages in anticompetitive behavior when it dropped KinderStart from its rankings. Regarding this line of reasoning, one of Google's lawyers said:
What would prevent Microsoft from coming to us, saying Google is not adequately promoting Microsoft?
That's a good point. To say that no search engine could demote the ranking another search engine in its listings because to do so would be an antitrust issue seems a bit extreme. Especially in this case where KinderStart's claim to being a search engine is dubious.
Rather than a search engine, it would be more fair to consider KindStart as a link farm, which would be a violation of Google's policies. And not only does KinderStart offer pages and pages full of links to other sites, but they rip off the content of those pages. Usually when you click on a link that a search engine provides, it takes you to that page, rather than just pasting that page into the search engine's own.
Is it really anticompetitive for Google to disapprove of another search engine that engages in shady business like this by removing it from the Google listings? Isn't Google the dominant search engine because it has been successful in filtering out the bad websites while leading us to the best?
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