March 2011 Quick Links, Part 3

By Eric Goldman

Search Engines

* Lots of Google antitrust activity:

– Apparently, an EU antitrust investigation IS something that Microsoft would wish on its worst enemy.

– Every legal regulator in the world is considering antitrust investigations into Google, including Ohio and Wisconsin (see my prior blog post about Texas’ investigation) and the FTC.

– The DOJ approved the Google-ITA merger—with conditions. This is superficially a win for Google, but I expect the anti-merger coalition won’t go away quietly.

– I interviewed with the SF Chronicle about Google and search engine bias (with photos!).

* New Google design features:

– Google lets each person individually block websites from their search results.

– Will Google’s +1 become the gold standard for personalized search, or will it be another failed attempt by Google to get social?

– A rundown of Google Autocomplete and its quirky blocking approaches.

* Blekko blocks 1.1M websites from its search index. Does this create 1.1M new plaintiffs who will sue for their “right” to be in Blekko’s index?

* More eye-tracking studies showing that searchers mostly ignore the ads on the right side of the page.

* Rebecca notes that the litigation between eBay and Craigslist has a keyword advertising component.

* Expedia and American Airlines have kissed and made up. My prior blog post.

Social Networking Sites

* Facebook is doing real-time ad targeting. Does this mean we’ll get Facebook’s notoriously poorly targeted ads faster? Something to look forward to.

* U.S. v. Gamory, 2011 WL 832554 (11th Cir. March 11, 2011). YouTube video being shown in court was a harmless error.

* New York Times: “Across the nation, millions of young people are lying about their ages so they can create accounts on popular sites like Facebook and Myspace….Parents regularly go along with the age inflation, giving permission and helping children set up accounts. They often see it as a minor fib that is necessary to let their children participate in the digital world.” My related blog post.

* Spooner v. Associated Press: Another lawsuit over an allegedly defamatory tweet.

* NYT on evolving norms about Twitter etiquette.

* Evan Brown on another sad case of online impersonation.

* Ceglia v. Zuckerberg, 2011 WL 1108607 (W.D.N.Y. March 28, 2011). Mark Zuckerberg is domiciled in CA for purposes of jurisdiction.

* I participated in an ABA Journal Podcast entitled “What Are the Ethics of Lawyer Review Sites Like Avvo?”

Content Regulation

* ICANN approved .xxx. India has already announced it will block .xxx. Meanwhile, how long until the .xxx registry vendor, in a rent-seeking fiesta, goes around to various state legislators and asks them to pass laws requiring pornographers to locate only at a .xxx domain?

* French court tosses a criminal libel prosecution over an academic book review–with sanctions.

* Craigslist drops its lawsuit against former South Carolina AG McMaster.

* The oft-cited study that Craigslist contributes to human trafficking may be junk science.

* An entrepreneurial law firm sets up anti-bullying practice. Expect lawsuits galore to ensue.

* Nature reports on lawsuits over rebuttals to scientific research and how a federal anti-SLAPP law might help. My prior blog post.


* A blogger takes down a DHS sting site for underage sex tourism.

* Latest iAWFUL list of bad Internet proposed legislation.

* National Federation of the Blind complains about universities that put students on Gmail accounts, saying the accounts don’t work well with speech reading software.

* Senators ask various companies to pull apps that identify drunk driving checkpoints.

* Believe it or not, some ban in-bound links. A list.