A judge in California has dismissed the case brought by parenting information site Kinderstart against Google, which claimed that the search engine had unfairly downgraded their ranking.
Kinderstart launched the case last year, claiming that Google had downgraded the company’s search engine ranking without warning, and for no apparent reason.
The company claimed that the drop in search rankings had adversely affected its revenues, and accused Google of violating free speech, unfair competition and defamation and libel laws.
Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled that Kinderstart’s complaints were unfounded, and also said that Kinderstart’s counsel should have removed allegations that Google discriminated against or manipulated its Web search rankings after the judge had ordered the lawyer to do so in an interim ruling.
The judge stated that:
“KinderStart had failed to explain how Google caused injury to it by a provably false statement … as distinguished from an unfavourable opinion about KinderStart.com’s importance.”
The judge also upheld Google’s right to modify or change its search ranking algorithm at any point:
“PageRank is a creature of Google’s invention and does not constitute an independently-discoverable value. In fact, Google might choose to assign PageRanks randomly, whether as whole numbers or with many decimal places, but this would not create “incorrect” PageRanks.”
Google litigation counsel Hilary Ware said in a statement:
“We always felt these claims were unjustified, because courts have consistently rejected complaints over search engine rankings, so we’re pleased that Judge Fogel promptly dismissed this case.”