Across the pond in Seattle, USA, Mark Baldino, a Washington D.C. locksmith (CEO of Baldino’s Lock and Key Service, has sued Google and two web directories, Yellowbook and Ziplocal, claiming that they are aware of false business listings. What is unusual about the case is that the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) and Lanham Act, which are federal laws, are the basis for the lawsuit. Bryan Seely who is what some may call an “ethical hacker” (in order words a once hacker, turned internet security expert) claims that he can spot a false listing quite easily because he used to create lots of them previously, states that many companies are going out of business because Google is doing nothing about fake business listings which are present on Google Maps. Mr Baldino states that he has received three letters from Google which state that they are aware of false listings (but they have done nothing about them).
Here are a couple of links relating to the lawsuit which was filed in U.S. District Court https://www.fairtradelocksmiths.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/BaldinoLegal.pdf and https://www.fairtradelocksmiths.com/legal-battle/ which allege that Google “proactively clutter search results with false listing” and “deliberately mislead consumers by publishing false information with prior knowledge that the information is deceptive”. Mr Baldino is claiming damages and claims that his businesses have seen a decrease in $8.4 million in revenue in the past six years – a loss of a third of his customers in this timespan.
Visit Baldino’s Lock and Key at http://www.baldinos.com