Does Google Penalty Equate to Defamation?

The case has taken an interesting twist, as the judge decides whether receiving a 0/10 PageRank penalty from Google equate to the legal definition of defamation.

The judge asked whether Google has a free speech right to prioritize some sites over others in how it constructs computer formulas in its search system. “Assuming Google is saying that KinderStart’s Web site isn’t worth seeing. Why can’t they say that? That’s my question,” Fogel said.

Kinderstart is obviously grasping at straws here. If the judge rules that indeed a Google penalty equals defamation, that would set a dangerous precedent. It would take a brave judge to start interfering with what Google can and cannot do to search rankings.

Yahoo Tries to Jump-Start Talks with AOL

  Fortune has learned Yahoo has recently approached Time Warner in an effort to try and buy AOL…again!

Here’s what Fortune has to say about the benefits of Yahoo buying AOL…

Swallowing AOL won’t transform Yahoo, but would give it increased traffic and a shot in the arm for its search-advertising business. The real question is whether Time Warner wants to sell. “Time Warner has a new strategy for AOL and is not contemplating any deals,” says a company spokesman. Citigroup analyst Jason Bazinet estimates AOL is worth about $13 billion. Of course, Time Warner might demand more.

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Zillow Faces Attack Over Inaccurate Real Estate Estimates

CNET is reporting real estate info site, Zillow, has had an FTC complaint filed against it for posting misleading home pricing estimates.

In its complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition states that Zillow is “intentionally misleading consumers and real-estate professionals to rely upon the accuracy of its valuation services despite the full knowledge of the company officials that their valuation Automated Valuation Model (AVM) mechanism is highly inaccurate and misleading.”

I think the claim is bogus. Zillow is just a research site. You can’t sue it for publishing real estate estimates, anymore than you can sue Jupiter or Nielsen for their research studies.

Google Adds Blogger Alerts

Good news for all you blog tracking addicts, you have a new weapon to add to your online reputation monitoring arsenal. Google has announced new Blog Alerts which allow you to track any keyword or topic of interest, or even your favorite blogger!

Here’s some examples.

– You want to know when anyone blogs about global warming.

– You like to track all Google mentions on Slashdot.

– You’re a bit obsessed with chocolate recipes on food blogs.

– You need to know when RottenTomatoes covers Will Ferrell.

– That well-known search pundit John Battelle seems to have a lot to say.

SEM Scholarship Week 3 Winner Announced

Week 3 of our SEM Scholarship contest has concluded and we have our third finalist.

Congratulations to Jordan McCollum who wins the third round with her entry – “SEO is Pointless (But You Don’t Have to Tell Your Clients)“. Jordan’s entry carried the most unique views of all our entries in week 3, with a total of 633 unique views to his page, winning by just 3 unique views! It was a close battle this week, with many entrants getting creative in their efforts to promote their entry – some even using PPC!

Jordan wins a copy of “Search Engine Optimization: An Hour a Day” and “Please Ring Bell for Service” and qualifies as one of four finalists, who will face our expert panel of judges, to determine who will win the $6,000 grand prize package.

Week 4 entries are now published
and entries have now closed.

Search Engine Marketing Scholarship Contest Entries – October 30th

We’ve uploaded the final round of our SEM Scholarship Contest entries and the procrastinators finally came thru. :-)

The following 20 entries qualified for the week and we’ll track the traffic to each article over the next week. The most popular post of the week will secure the author one of four finalist positions for our grand prize giveaway.

Here’s the full list of article entries:

The Golden Rule of SEO

By James Bowden

Everything you need to know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) you learned in kindergarten. Really. You may already know much more than you think.

The armies of programmers that create search engines work very hard to get computers to do a bad job of what you do in the blink of an eye: make a judgment about a web page that makes sense – common sense.

This article introduces the basic ideas behind Search Engine Optimization (SEO), using concrete examples to reinforce these principles. It also aims to teach you the information needed to make informed SEO decisions on your own.

In the beginning…