City Company sues Web Search Engine
by Paul Monies
An Oklahoma City-based Internet company has sued Web search-engine giant Google, claiming that Google changed the way it ranks and displays web pages, drpriving the local company of revenue.
According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Oklahoma City last week, SearchKing Inc. president Bob Massa claims that Google Inc changed the formula it uses to rank web pages after SerachKing in August launched a company based on Google's rankings.
Massa's new company, PR Ad Network, serves as a broker for Webmasters and small companies that are looking to advertise on sites that tend to show up high on Google searches, which Google calls it's PageRank system. As weel as damages of more than $75,000, the lawsuit asks Google to restore SearchKing's page rankings to where they were before Google allegedly changed the system.
"This is not a frivolous lawsuit," said Massa, who started SearchKing in 1997 and has six full-time employees in Oklahoma City. "I just want them to rank our pages the same way they rank everyone else's."
Google spokesman Nate Tyler said it is company policy not to comment on pending litigation. However, he said Google regularly modifies and evaluates its search methods to improve the quality of searches.
"In some cases, these modifications result in changes to site rankings," Tyler said, "with the expectation being that the overall quality of our search service will increase."
Google uses software to regularly search the World Wide Web and rank pages. It uses mathematical formulas to rank pages from 1 to 10. Those ranked 10 show up highest.
Massa, 48, claims Google altered its formula to knock down SearchKing page rankings from 8 to 4, as well as punish sites that link to SearchKing pages. The alterations also allegedly hurt PR Ad Network, which made money by steering advertisers to highly ranked pages.
Google representatives say the company doesn't manipulate its formulas to exclude certain sites, noting on its Web site that "Google's complex, automated methods make human tampering with our results extremely difficult."
A preliminary hearing has not been set.
Despite the number of jobs leaving the state, a local Internet advertising sales company continues to grow, employing local talent at a rapid pace. . . . . . READ MORE