Google gets sued over “cynical manipulation of search results”

A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft pointed to research data indicating that the manipulation of search results to prioritise certain pages has a major negative effect on those sites that are displaced to a lower position in the list of results. The study found, for example, that a site that was moved from first in the search results to tenth lost an average of 85% of traffic compared with its original position.

This effect has not gone unnoticed by Streetmap, a UK-based online mapping specialist, who says that Google’s actions in this regard have made its products “harder to find”. As a result, Streetmap has filed a complaint in court, as it hopes to hold the tech giant accountable for its alleged actions.

As Bloomberg reports, Streetmap’s commercial director, Kate Sutton, said in a statement that the company has “had to take this action in an effort to protect our business and attract attention to those that, like us, have started their own technology businesses, only to find them damaged by Google’s cynical manipulation of search results.

This is the second time that Google has been sued over similar allegations in less than a year; in June, the company was sued by Foundem, a UK shopping comparison site, which made claims of “anti-competitive conduct” related to the Google Shopping service.

Google is also facing claims of anti-competitive behaviour in the European Union from a coalition of companies including Microsoft and Nokia, over the inclusion and prioritisation of Google products and services in Android devices, which make up 70% of the smartphone market. 

Source: Bloomberg

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Today is Thomas Jefferson's birthday. Google didn't put a picture of him on the home page, probably because they think he's a "Terrorist" -_- stupid google..

I dont understand, how can you sue google for your placing on THEIR website.
Its their website! Surely they can place you wherever the hell they like

Some pages of my site have appeared in the first page of search results for something like 10 years. All of a sudden some of my pages go down to the third, others to the seventh search results page and some are not even shown at all. The pages that appear before mine in the search results contain only garbage, nothing of relevance. I guess they are forcing me to pay for advertisements to show my results as they should.

As a result of this manipulation, I have lost some important revenue.

gallo68 said,
Some pages of my site have appeared in the first page of search results for something like 10 years. All of a sudden some of my pages go down to the third, others to the seventh search results page and some are not even shown at all. The pages that appear before mine in the search results contain only garbage, nothing of relevance. I guess they are forcing me to pay for advertisements to show my results as they should.

As a result of this manipulation, I have lost some important revenue.

Or you have received free advertising for the last ten years.

Everyone want's their business advertised for free or the same as others... but that's not how the game is played. If you want promotion, you have to pay for it. It's that way for all types of media outlets that promote businesses. You get what you pay for.

You'll get easy, knee-jerk likes for that comment, but the problem here, just as is the problem with Fairsearch, is a pathetic lack of context.

There's very little quoted from Streetmap, and there's no text of the actual complaint. We know absolutely nothing except what was needed to produce an article over at Bloomberg.

Likewise, all we have regarding Fairsearch is a press release about a complaint filed to the EU. Do we have the actual complaint? Nope. Nor is anyone asking for it, apparently. Are EU complaints even public record?

I'm holding off on all opinions on all of these matters because the information we're being fed is passing through a very precise filter that none of us should be letting ourselves emotionally invest in. As far as I'm concerned, the most vocally annoyed by these proceedings are those who had negative opinions about the parties already and just latched onto something new to feed them.

Joshie said,
You'll get easy, knee-jerk likes for that comment, but the problem here, just as is the problem with Fairsearch, is a pathetic lack of context.

I dont really care about likes and if someone likes my post or not.

You talking about FairSearch regarding Streetmaps, or in general?

Edited by techbeck, Apr 12 2013, 5:50pm :

techbeck said,

I dont really care about likes and if someone likes my post or not.

You talking about FairSearch regarding Streetmaps, or in general?

Both stories lack the text of the actual suit/complaint. In this case, go to the Bloomberg article this page sources. Look at paragraph two:

"Streetmap, a provider of Internet maps, filed a complaint in London March 15, according to court records."

Seriously? "According to court records"? What kind of bastardization of context is this? You know, because maybe those records are inaccurate and a complaint wasn't actually filed!

Can we SEE these court records? I'm extremely used to this sort of thing being public record in the US--is that just simply not the case in the UK/EU? Or are news outlets just not interested in bothering with sourcing the most important source to the whole damn article?

/I complain more than anything about a lack of meaningful citation in articles about legal proceedings. It frustrated me that 99% of the crap about SOPA never bothered citing passages, let alone a link to the actual bill. Whenever I see an article ignore the primary source of information for a story, I can only assume it's either laziness or spin, and I respect neither.

Joshie said,

Both stories lack the text of the actual suit/complaint. In this case, go to the Bloomberg article this page sources. Look at paragraph two:

You can find out info on FairSearch buy doing a search. I also posted an article in BPN.

Can we SEE these court records?

Info will come out in time...like it always does.

techbeck said,

You can find out info on FairSearch buy doing a search. I also posted an article in BPN.

I'm not sure why you bothered saying this. If you look at my original post:


Likewise, all we have regarding Fairsearch is a press release about a complaint filed to the EU.

This "info" I can find out by doing a search is the press release I was criticizing.


Info will come out in time...like it always does.

Funny how that doesn't stop anyone from forming their complete opinion and closing their mind off from that point forward.

Joshie said,

Funny how that doesn't stop anyone from forming their complete opinion and closing their mind off from that point forward.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion before or after the facts come out. Its just a discussion. Myself, I said I wouldnt be surprised but it is shown they are not apart of FS, then I am not going to be closed off about it. People who are closed off I tend to ignore or not pay to much attention to....if it isnt fact.

Do Streetmap.co.uk know that their site was deliberately moved down? As it could be (far more) likely to have automatically moved down because their site is incredibly terrible and less relevant to people?