I noticed in the paper over the weekend that two Melbourne real estate agents sought legal action in December to force Google to not display posts from a certain blog when their names were ‘googled’. The blog posts apparently showed the agents (Paul Castran and Mark Forytarz) in a bit of a bad light - suggesting one bullied a mentally disabled man into selling his house to earn the agent commission and that the other agent participated in illegal dummy bidding. Interestingly, there was no legal action brought against the blogger who wrote the posts. Also, the newspaper article stated that the posts were not removed from the Google index.
Suing Google has been tried several times before, and rarely goes well, but when I did a search the agents names:
The defamatory article is not there, and there is this line at the bottom of the page:
In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read more about the request at ChillingEffects.org.
Notice that the search was done in google.com.au, if you do it in google.com then the defamatory blog post is the first result (though perhaps this will be gone soon, too).
So what caused what here? Did legal action have no effect as claimed by the newspaper? Did the two agents just approach google through other channels (similar to a DMCA takedown)? Given that the initial action reportedly failed, did the recent publicity have anything to do with google removing the blog posts?
But now the posts have been removed from google.com.au, everything is fine for the real estate agents, right?
Now, if you search for ‘Paul Castran’ the #2 result is Paul Castran Wins Today’s Stupid Prize!. Time for more legal action?