When grown adults act like children.
March 19, 2006 3:51 PM   Subscribe

Kinderstart sues Google to get a higher page ranking. Why on earth should Google be obligated to give another search engine access to their proprietary page ranking methods, unless the goal is for Kinderstart to either steal or play games with Google's ranking methods... again?
posted by insomnia_lj (13 comments total)
Seriously though, who cares? If Kinderstart wins this, it would be a big deal, but they'll almost certanly lose, just like Search King.
posted by delmoi at 4:01 PM on March 19, 2006

So is Kinderstart, like, the bastard child of Head Start and KinderCare?

Original name.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 4:12 PM on March 19, 2006

Well, if their plan was to get the blogosphere's panties all knotted up, they succeeded quite well. I'd imagine that Kinderstart's Google ranking will climb quite a bit, and traffic to their website has probably gone up a lot as well.
posted by drstein at 4:16 PM on March 19, 2006

That'd be a great business model for Google... rate highest whoever sued them last. </sarcasm>

More seriously, they so dominate the search space that they could easily run into monopoly problems. They will have to be most careful when indexing pages of organizations/products that compete with their own.
posted by Malor at 4:21 PM on March 19, 2006

From the main link, it doesn't seem as if they just want a higher ranking - they gamed the system, google caught 'em and penalized 'em. Now their rank is lower than it would have been without the link farming, since Google wants to discourage that sort of thing.

This, on the other hand, is complete crap.
The complaint accuses Google, as the dominant provider of Web searches, of violating KinderStart's constitutional right to free speech by blocking search engine results showing Web site content and other communications.
Also, glueschk is right about the attempted gbomb. Sure, you've increased the likelihood of somebody searching for "immature" to get the target, but you've also helped their general page rank, so somebody searching for "kinderstart" will also be more likely to get the target. And those people won't hear about your "cause".
posted by swell at 4:32 PM on March 19, 2006

posted by monju_bosatsu at 5:08 PM on March 19, 2006

Their legal strategy in this case is a little different than the "Search King" case which tried to argue just based on the ridiculous basis of free speech.
Yu hopes to prove Google has become an "essential facility" that should be required to warn Web sites before dropping them from the index. "We don't really feel there is enough transparency and openness in a service that has become so important," Yu said. [article]
This time their claim is this "essential facilty" business. So although they're attacking this from a different angle it's still a ridiculous and impossible to prove claim.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:19 PM on March 19, 2006

I'd give this lawsuit a lot more credence if it said that ... Kinderstart had tried everything to find out from Google exactly what had caused Google to cut their page rank so Kinderstart could fix the situation, but that Google had not cooperated.
posted by Zinger at 6:20 PM on March 19, 2006

I doubt that Google handpicked this site to make an example of them. But I do see some issues that may be harming the site, and the way that it might rank in Google.

There are three types of pages that make up about 98% of the kinderstart site, and none of those are doing the site any favors when it comes to ranking in the search engines.

Those are (1) the URLs which frame the pages listed in their directories, (2) the comments pages, and (3) the ratings pages. If those many thousands of pages were disallowed in a robots.txt file, the remaining 2,000 pages might stand a much better chance ranking in Google.

I can't say I care too much for the way that kinderstart frames the pages that they link to, especially since they don't have a way for people to break out of those frames. I also suspect that those URLs are seen by Google as duplicates of the originals, which harms the site.

The comments pages are filled with "viagra online" type spam and were showing errors like this:
Warning: pg_fetch_object() unable to jump to row 0 on PostgreSQL result index 5 in /home/httpd/html/kinderstart.com/comments.php on line 107
The ratings pages have no links from them, and are probably treated as dangling nodes by the pagerank algorithm, which could impact the site negatively.

Chances are good that disallowing those three types of pages in a robots.txt file wouldn't harm them, and may allow for a much better internal distribution of link popularity/pagerank, which could lead to better rankings.

I also find myself wondering what impact the URL for this page from kinderstart has on the way that their site is treated by Google:


It may not be part of the problem, but I wouldn't use an URL like without knowing for certain that Google would treat http://www.kinderstart.com:8080/ and http://www.kinderstart.com as if they were different pages.

There are other technical issues, and they should probably be explored.
posted by bragadocchio at 7:49 PM on March 19, 2006

Wow. Awesome analysis, bragadocchio.

Are the deficits you mention the result of techniques SEOers use(d) to increase page ranking?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:13 PM on March 19, 2006

Thanks, five fresh fish.

They are considerations that someone, whether SEO, developer, designer, etc., who learns something about how search engines crawl and index sites could use to make sure that the pages of their sites that have content worth spidering show up in search engines.
posted by bragadocchio at 9:07 PM on March 19, 2006

Malor, Google only dominates the search space in regards to their mastery of marketing. Yahoo still delivers more impressions. I see only 50% of my traffic from Google. FYI.

Brag, great analysis! Frames seriously hamper success in search engines. In my experience, kinderstart seems to think that they can continue to control search and the search marketing channel (much like you can other traditional channels). This should be an interesting wake-up call to them! Welcome to the 21st century kiddies!
posted by Dantien at 7:30 AM on March 20, 2006

Their home page doesn't even validate. What do they expect? They should have spent the money on SEO help instead of blowing it on attorneys.
posted by Mr_Zero at 8:04 AM on March 20, 2006

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