Judge Confirms Search Engines Can Reject Ads

You’d think this would be obvious, but it took a recent law suit and a judge’s ruling to confirm Google, Yahoo and Microsoft don’t have an obligation to run every submitted ad.

Someone bought some gripe ads on Google, Yahoo and MSN, only to have them rejected. He then sued all three companies arguing that the search engines should be required to post his ads. The judge in the case appears to have made quick work of it, dismissing almost all of the claims and pointing out in no uncertain terms that many were specious and frivolous.

If I had a “dumb moves” category, this news would be filed there.

Tracking Potential Google Killers

Read/WriteWeb continues to monitor the second tier of search engines. Last month, they published the top 100 alternative search engines. This month, they’ve updated the list for February, with 32 new additions.

The criteria to make the list:

1) The Search Engine should exhibit superiority to Google—not as a whole, but in just one particular area. . . . We are not arguing that any one of the 100 list members is a “Google killer”. Rather, that they should be matched against the appropriate corresponding part of Google. For example, TheFind is a shopping search engine and therefore should be compared to Google’s shopping search engine, Froogle. . . .

Challenging Google’s NC Tax Breaks

The North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law (NCICL), led by former North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Robert (Bob) Orr, is challenging Google’s tax breaks. Orr and the NCICL are questioning whether the North Carolina Constitution allows the legislature to extend tax breaks like the ones it awarded to Google. (Google is not specifically named in the legislation.)

Orr says:

“The idea is that you don’t give individuals or individual companies to receive special treatment. There are provisions in the constitution that say your tax legislation be uniform. The fact is that these are tax breaks for one company. I don’t think anybody would disagree that these are not for Google.”

Take Advantage of Google’s “YouTube Bias”

A pingback from BlackHatSEO.no on yesterday’s post about YouTube infiltrating Google SERPs brought up an interesting point that I hadn’t considered.

What, you can’t read Norwegian? Okay, neither can I. But I’ll attempt to paraphrase:

Jordan McCollum from Marketing Pilgrim has an interesting post on how YouTube is beginning to creep up the SERPs. There’s some potential here—if your site is stuck in “Google’s Sandbox” you can generate a strategic video, optimize YouTube for on-site search [I think] and drive video traffic from YouTube to your site.

Now there’s one way to use YouTube to really help with your online marketing: but easier said than done. The “shoes” video apparently ranks because it’s a viral hit, and is probably most popular for its shock value and oddball humor. Can you imagine how it would change your perception of the brand if the video featured the words “ManoloBlahnik.com”? (That’s an upscale women’s shoe brand, whose shoes may well cost $300 or more. Let’s get ‘em.)

Linking to Partners is Not Selling Links

Since when is listing a company on a web page who is part of a true partnership program, paid or not, considered selling links? Since never, that’s when. But some people like to make a stink about anything they can find.

Conversion Rater blogged about Google linking to companies who are part of a paid partnership program that Google has. They titled the article “Google Selling PR7 Links For $10,000!“. An obvious piece of bait to say the least.

A blog posting some link bait doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is Google’s reaction. Matt Cutts put in a work order in response to the blog post and within hours, the page containing the links is PR0 and no longer passes rank.

Only Hire SEOs Who Rank?

Once again, today we see the ‘classic advice’ that the #1 thing to look for in an SEO agency is one who ranks, this time from Dave Davies of Beanstalk Inc. It’s been done before, but let’s just see what’s on the “search engine optimization” SERP today.

Hm… Wikipedia entry, Google Webmaster Help Center, and four sites offering search engine submission services. What’s left? Bruce Clay, SEO Chat, High Rankings and a site I’ve never heard of, but I think they do more than just search engine submission. I think.

Yeah, that ought to cover the SEO industry. ;)

On the plus side, Dave does indicate that the title and header tags are a good place to find keywords that the site is targeting. (Other people offering this advice often say ‘make sure your SEO ranks’ without telling you how to figure out what phrases he’s targeting.)

Federal Court Says Bloggers Not Responsible for Comments

The ACS is reporting that a federal court has reaffirmed both bloggers and forum operators cannot be held liable for comments posts made by their readership in blog comments.

Examining the impact of Sec. 230 on this case, the court noted that “Congress intended that, within broad limits, message board operators would not be held responsible for the postings made by others on that board,” adding that allowing bloggers and message board operators to be sued for the statements of commenters on their sites would have an “obvious chilling effect” on speech. Accordingly, the court dismissed the complaint against Lycos.

This is definitely a victory for the little guy who cannot afford to fight off legal action from large corporations trying to have comments removed from blogs.