While under the gun for antitrust concerns worldwide and fighting with Oracle in court over their use of Java in Android, Google has also managed to get themselves into legal trouble on a more local level. A marketing and SEO, or search engine optimization firm out of Florida, known as E-Ventures Worldwide, is bringing suit against Google for removing some of their listings from the search giant's results list. Unlike normal SEO firms, who help with marketing by making a page or piece of content as likely as possible to wind up being found in a relevant search, E-Ventures Worldwide produces and maintains professional evaluations and reviews of products and vendors.
According to Google, E-Ventures' pages were pulled for being "pure spam." E-Ventures contended that they did not violate any of Google's policies and were instead seeing their pages pulled for anti-competitive reasons - specifically, because they presented competition to Google's local search business by attracting customers to enlist E-Ventures' aid in climbing the search rankings without paying Google. Florida US District Judge John Steele sided with E-Ventures, saying that cases like this normally involved Google's PageRanks system, which ends up falling under a "publish what you want" sort of free press law known as the Communications Decency Act. Google's removal of E-Ventures' websites, however, means that Google has stated that E-Ventures' removed listings violated Google's terms. This is a factual statement, rather than an opinion, meaning that it can be disproved and that there are ample grounds for a case to proceed.
E-Ventures' sole defense thus far, of course, has been that their pulled results did not violate Google's policies. If it comes to light in court that their pages were in violation, Google will be in the clear and the case will have no reason to proceed. Should E-Ventures' argument hold water, however, Google could dig themselves deeper in the antitrust hole; a loss in this case would, without serious evidence of another motive or an error of some sort, be a clear example of anti-competitive behavior that would speak negatively to the character of the company in relevant proceedings.