Google was faced with a choice: in accordance with the decision of the British court, it must abandon the evidence that was brought to court in its defense, or reveal the details of the search algorithm. In this case, Google will need to provide this information to an SEO specialist who can convey its meaning to the members of the court.
Foundem vs Google
In 2012 price comparison service Foundem filed a lawsuit against Google. According to the plaintiff, his company has become a victim of Google’s anticompetitive practices. The lawsuit states that, starting in 2006, Google unreasonably hid competitors’ offers, issuing its own product as the first search results – Google shopping…
According to Foundem, the defendant’s misconduct resulted in the loss of their business. In a lawsuit, Foundem is seeking financial damages from Google.
Until the Foundem company was in test mode, information about their service was displayed on the first page of Google search results for queries related to purchases. Two days after the public launch of the service, Foundem found itself in the lowest search results and firmly entrenched in this position. This state of affairs was observed only at Google. Everything was fine when other search engines returned search results.
This suggested that Google was deliberately downplaying Foundem in order to promote Google Shopping.
Google’s arguments in its defense
To refute the charges against him, Google submitted confidential documents to the Supreme Court of England. According to the judge, these documents were supposed to “shed light on the actions and purposes of Google’s ranking algorithms and how they apply to price comparison services in general and Foundem in particular.”
Foundem insists that in this case we are talking about very complex technical information, the essence of which is very difficult for lawyers to grasp. The company has put forward a proposal to hire an SEO expert who is competent enough to explain the details of the search algorithm to the court.
Google rejects this proposal because it believes that bringing in an SEO specialist will compromise the integrity of the ranking process. In response, the plaintiff suggested that Google withdraw the controversial documents so that the information consecrated in them does not reach the general public. Google insists that the documents provided play a large role in its defense in court.
Conditions set by the court
In order for the case to get off the ground, the judge ruled: Google must withdraw the documents, or provide them for review by an SEO specialist. If Google ignores the ultimatum, the court promises to independently issue permission to an SEO expert to review the company’s documentation.
At the moment, the court has given Google time to make a decision. What exact length of time is being discussed is not specified.
Source: The Register