Blogger Lawsuits are the Equivalent of an SEO A Bomb

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

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.

So instead of attempting to understand how Google displays results they sent a lawsuit. These ad agencies need to get a clue. They really do.

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.

Published: May 3, 2006 by Aaron Wall in marketing


So why
May 4, 2006 - 10:37pm

So why is he not penalized / sandboxed for getting links too quickly? Because reputable media organizations are linking to him?

Tom Chuong
May 24, 2007 - 4:56pm

This is a classic case of pure stupidity and incompetent legal team with the assistance of an even more clueless marketing team. I can almost visualized the drama that transpired in the conference room. "Look guys, we're a million dollar PR company and we don't know a damn thing about SEO. I say we sue this blogger because I would rather spend time suing this bloger than work on that campaign for XYZ company."

May 5, 2006 - 12:08am

Spot on with that observation.

It is not just how quickly you get links, but also the quality that matters. These links are as editorial and natural as citations get.

May 3, 2006 - 3:03pm

I saw this about a week ago via fark. Seriously, anyone with an Internet Connection would have to be retarded to hire Warren Kremer Paino after this Public Relations nightmare lawsuit.

They are supposed to be a PR firm but clearly have no grasp of PR.

May 3, 2006 - 4:55pm

Damn. . . Just wasted two hours reading this story and the commentary.

Thanks but can you stick to posting boring, technical non-interesting SEO stuff next time?

This is a text-book case in the the law of unintended consequences:

May 3, 2006 - 6:42pm

This is a dumb lawsuit. Hopefully it gets thrown out of court.

January 4, 2007 - 7:57am

You say "plaintiff...claimed that the issue was about manipulating Google's search results" but the quote that follows doesn't seem like it's from the plaintiff, so I guess I'd have to follow links to know the plaintiff's side. Bad reporting, but typical for a blog. You and your readers sound like Libertarians. Libertarians suck. I'm in favor of more accuracy and less misleading information on the internet.

January 4, 2007 - 8:00am

Funny that your trollish comment doesn't even have an email associated with it Barry. How pathetic is that?

May 4, 2006 - 4:28am

I want to start blogging, but fear that I don't have the resources to back me up when I start commenting on so many of the rediculous things that are happening in this world, all in the name of stupidity and cash. I admire all the people willing to help you with this and hope that it all goes well with you. It is shameful that this planet society allows such rediculous and incredibly infantile behaviour to even take place (not lance, but the people responsible for the sex number mess) This drubbling, unbarred, descending, plummeting, overturning bouleversement of reason is a redundand and rediculous as this sentence. Unbelievable. Ah; the human race. If I could learn to lauph instead of getting so upset my guts hurt, I would be lauphing myself all the way from a tummy tummy to a six pack.

May 4, 2006 - 6:44am

We have been called out on Fox News and Court TV by an attorney threatening to sue us because he is not happy about how we are covering the client he represents, and forwarded this post to him.

After looking into the matter, he backed off, but it has been interesting waiting for the sheriff to come and serve me, and then the blog and media storm that would follow.

Link To Scared Monkeys Story

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