Mini law celebrity of sorts and animal rights activist Beverly Stayart is having a pop at Google for associating her name with “Levitra,” a drug not unlike Viagra, for what she sees is Google’s responsibility thanks to search suggest algorithms and keywords.
In the official complaint, Bev claims that “Google has sold to third parties the keyword phrase which Google conceived, “bev stayart levitra.”Advertisers bid on keyword phrases with words containing their products, such as levitra, to purchase “sponsored links” advertisements on Google, under Google’s keyword advertising program. The advertisers pay Google a fee to purchase the keyword phrase, in this case “bev stayart levitra.”
Stayart argues that, while Google may have not directly gone out to sully her name, because of its web bots or spiders which would likely have created the search string entry, are made and operated by Google, they are Google’s electronic agents and so the company is completely responsible for the results of their actions.
Bev does kind of have a point. Googling for her name, the only entry is for “Levitra.” In the court document Bev says she has made “several electronic communications and several letters by her legal counsel” asking Google to stop associating her with sexual dysfunction. She claims that Google “adamantly refused” to stop its “unlawful activities.”
Popehat.com suggests that she should be careful: if she does win, she may be more likely to have her name associated with “serial litigant” and “frivolous lawsuit” than any number of erectile dysfunction drugs. And which is more damaging to a reputation?
Bizarrely, a search for Levitra does not auto suggest anything to do with Bev Stayart.