Parental advice site Kinderstart.com filed a lawsuit against Google earlier this week (coincidentally the same day of the US government vs. Google trial) on the background of their Google Pagerank having dropped unexpectedly and without warning. The result: a 70% drop in traffic and a subsequent loss of 80% in advertisement income.
Kinderstart’s argument is that their pagerank was dropped not because of an automatic algorithm, but a subjective opinion within Google that their company shouldn’t be considered “serious”.
Read the full story on Reuters.
One of the motives behind the lawsuit could be that the only way of proving Kinderstart wrong would be for Google to show the court how their algorithm works, effectively revealing their trade secrets to the public, and, more importantly, their competitors. Basically, Kinderstart’s saying: “give in to our demands or risk having to expose your secrets to the world”.
Another motive―and an even more obvious one―is of course the increased attention and traffic this kind of exposure will bring to their site. The search engine allegedly counted 10 million page views per month-no statement was made, however, on whether that number includes the page views after the suit was filed. Kinderstart’s Alexa stats also conflict with this figure.
It’s quite obvious. Kinderstart thinks this is a win-win situation, as the income and exposure this case will give them way exceeds the amount of money they’ll have to shell out in case of a loss.
Bloody blatant, innit? It’s an astonoshingly silly lawsuit even when they try to justify it to the best of their lawyers’ ability, and they’ll have a lot of negative press especially from the blogoshere. Then again, bloggers are way out of Kinderstart’s demographic, so they’ll more than likely end up better off after this case than they were before.