Today’s Wall Street Journal’s lead article discusses the cat-and-mouse game between Google and those who seek to “game” Google in order to boost their rankings. Of interest is the discussion of the lawsuit brought by SearchKing against Google regarding Google’s tweaking of its search algorithm (and the resulting bad effects on SearchKing’s methods). In that case Google is arguing that its search results are in essence opinions of a website, and therefore protectable speech.
I’m of two views of Google. An astounding amount of my traffic results from people using various trademark related terms (and the term MECCA COLA). Because my site is updated regularly (this past week being an exception), and because there are apparently numerous links to this site, I place very highly on Google. Accordingly, the folk at Google are clearly geniuses, critical to the Trademark Blog’s success.
On the other hand, when someone uses TRADEMARK BLOG as a Google term, Google collects some amount of money from LEGALZOOM.COM and LITMANLAW.COM for paid advertisements. Neither the advertisers nor Google share that money with me. In this sense Google is a craven free-loader – exploiting an advertising medium not paying for content (dramatic overstatement indicator on). Some day the Ninth Circuit may decide the Playboy/Excite keyword case and we may get some guidance on “free rides.” In the meanwhile, Google does me (and the Internet) much more good than harm.