Donna, I admire you. You sure do have some stamina, the way you’ve had them Louisiana lips of yours puckered so firmly to Google’s evil ass this long.
And yet still, they ask for more.
Personally, as you probably know, I’m with Michael Gray on this one… they have overstepped their bounds. They used to tout the fact that it was all algorithmically determined, and everything was completely automated (as was always their favorite fallback):
In search engines, a website’s fluctuation in the search results is a natural consequence of updating and maintaining the index. This means that some sites will be ranked higher than before for a particular keyword and others lower. In Google, these changes are completely automated and no changes can be made manually for particular cases.
(Cached version of the above quoted page can be found here.)
This stance of course offered them a very strong measure of insulation, in the form of “No, of course there was no bias, Your Honor… our proprietary algorithm is completely automated.” It was of course also a huge selling point for investors as well, since obviously with a dataset as large as theirs, any labor that can be performed by computer is much more cost effective than that which has to be done by hand.
Now that they have abandoned this particular company line, and are manually tweaking both the rankings and PageRank displays of the websites in their index, how will this affect their cases the next time someone brings them to court for unfair business practices?
I guess we will just have to wait and see.