Since this article was written, there seems to have been a slight thaw on the part of Google's removal evaluation team. Lawyers are Shadow Making now reporting that a few requests are now being processed - some of which were previously denied by Google. Unfortunately, other requests are still denied, and Google continues to refuse to communicate what it will or won't do, or why it previously denied certain requests and then chose to grant them. Here are some examples of cases these attorneys have told me about in which Google Shadow Making has refused to act: A company spent two years and several hundred thousand dollars pursuing a court order establishing defamation on a Ripoff report page to ask Google to remove the URL. A real estate agent has been defamed and harassed for months via weekly posts by someone who clashed with them over paying rent.
One can understand Google's reluctance to divulge Shadow Making certain secrets. The company's search engine algorithms, for example, are trade secrets. But the process and policies for evaluating legal claims are arguably an entirely different matter — one in which Google expresses a desire for transparency by regularly publishing transparency Shadow Making reports. To be completely transparent, Google must clearly indicate the criteria on which it will base its decisions. As one defamation lawyer told Google, individuals can lose their businesses, careers, and ultimately their lives to online reputation attacks.
Even so, the company's actions around harmful and dishonest articles attacking the reputations of individuals and organizations continue to be mysteriously inconsistent. In Shadow Making this column, I will share some facts and thoughts on how victims of defamation should proceed in today's environment. Before I begin, let me take a moment to tell you that I work in the field Shadow Making of online reputation management. In my previous post on this topic, an online expert claimed that I failed to disclose that I do in the normal place for such disclaimers, although I mentioned working on such case in the text of the chronicle.