The right to life, liberty, and a favorable ranking

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2 Responses

  1. John Armstrong says:

    It seems obvious to me on a legal level that you’re correct. Also, on a functional level, the whole purpose of pagerank is to provide some metric as to the relevance of a given site to a given query — and to base that metric essentially on peer recommendations. This was what made Google what it was in the first place, back in the days of searchable indices like Yahoo or HotBot.

    What the plaintiff wants here is to usurp the peer-recommendation system. They want Google to send searchers to their site rather than what the algorithms judge to be the most relevant site. In essence, they want Google to give searchers (Google’s real clientele) what Google’s well-honed methods consider bad advice.

    The best analogy would be if I went to a broker who was being strong-armed by a corporation to advise me to buy its stock rather than that of a more profitable competitor, which seems to me to be an ethics violation on the part of the broker. KinderStart’s proper path is clear: offer more relevant (as judged by other websites) content than its competitors.

  2. Eric Goldman says:

    In my mind, you are clearly correct, for reasons I explain at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2006/03/google_sued_ove.htm . I have also posted a copy of the complaint there. Eric.