Recently a blogger buddy of mine named Lance Dunston was sued by an advertising agency. Unbeknownst to the plaintiff it turns out the blogger was sitting on free legal support, love from many many bloggers, and coverage in the WSJ, EWeek and Boston.com.
As Seth recently said, your legal team is an extension of your marketing department. And to sum it up, it was a bad day for Warren Kremer Paino.
What I find exceedingly stupid about this lawsuit is the plaintiff (who sells marketing services - how good could they be?) claimed that the issue was about manipulating Google's search results:
I think the core issue for the ad agency isn't really silencing the blogger. Its how his agency appears to the world when viewed through the eyes of Google. Basically Google's presentation algorithms - the technical approach by which a blog post is summarized in a search result - make it look like the ad agency is affiliated with child porn. That's a legitimate issue if you're concerned about how you look online. But suing the blogger isn't the answer.
The search results are going to show 10 results weather you are active online or not. If you have an offline brand that you do not promote heavily online don't be surprised if the top search results look ugly.
Temporarily the media frenzy around a lawsuit like this may clean up the search results, but it doesn't look good to read a bunch of posts about how your company is dumb or sends bogus lawsuits (and weather that is true or not that seems to be the primary story that is spreading).
After the search engines catch up with recording all the links to the blogger you just sued he may outrank you for your own brand. If he wins in court that sucks for you, and you granted him additional authority to say whatever he wants about you when it would have been just as easy to promote a few other sites or link bomb a different page on his site to make it show up instead of the page associating Warren Kremer Paino with child pornography.
By claiming that the main issue was Google's associating Warren Kremer Paino with child pornography (and then sending the million dollar lawsuit at an individual who could not afford to defend himself) you create a semantic connection that will associate your brand with those words. That's not good, because sometimes even suing just one person makes you look like a jerk.
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