Online Store to Sue Blogger Over Google Ranking

SMS Text

An online shoe store owner is threatening to sue a blogger Dean Hunt ( unless the blogger ‘lowers his Google ranking” for a keyword phrase that the store owner feels he deserves.

Hello Dean,

My name is [edited] and I run [edited].com

I have been running the site for over two years and we have been ranked very highly for the search term [edited].

On Thursday morning I checked our google positions and your site is now above us for this term. I haev checked your blog and it has nothing to do with [edited], so I think it would be best all round if you remove your blog from google for this search term.

Please understand that we make our living from this, and you are just writing a blog that has nothing to do with [edited].

If you do not remove yourself from google for this search, then I will call them myself and have you removed.

I expect a reply soon.


Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable adds:

In short, the store owner feels he should rank better than the blog, because he is selling the item on his site and the blog is only informational and not transactional. If this person knew anything about Google, he would know things tend to work the other way around.

After the initial mailing, Dean received a follow-up threatening email:

You have to understand Dean that an online business should be higher in Google than a blog.

Don’t forget that Google is a business as well, they obviously make more money from other businesses than they do from blogs, so it is in their interest that I am higher than you for certain searches.

I have also contacted my lawyer about this issue, so you should expect a letter in the post very soon.

I expect a reply soon.

An online business should be higher in Google than a blog.”

Doesn’t that guy know what the word blog actually stands for?


Sure, this should be filed in the Idiots & Stupidity Category, if we had one here at SEJ, but it’s news worth following. Your thoughts?

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Chris Pearson

    This is unbelievable.

    I’d tell him to kiss my rectum, and then I’d post about they keyword in question.

    I would be tempted to call attention to it, too, in a “Can you believe this idiot?” sort of way.

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    Yeah Chris, wouldn’t be a great nail in the coffin for this issue to have thousands of bloggers covering this story, linking to the blog via the keyword in question, and probably outranking the e-store right off of the top 50 results themselves.

  • Ron Wilcox

    perhaps it’s google he should be suing…

  • Jim Messenger

    I agree with Chris.

    It will be interesting to see what king of idiotic legal argument his liar lawyer can make.

  • Steve

    I have seen this on many SEO sites over the past 24 hours.

    It is an incredible show of arrogance from the retailer.

    Maybe we should all Digg it onto the main page and then do a google bomb. ūüėČ

  • Shortshire

    I agree with Chris. Same as Steve, i’ve been noticing this on a lot of sites also. A lot of retailers are suing. I wonder if many of those companies ever thought of making a blog and posting information on it and raising their ranking? I don’t think so.

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    We just need Dean to fess up with the key search term.

    Doing some basic Google searches from his site and shoe oriented terms should be easy, but his blog platform is very Google unfriendly ūüôā

    Which adds to the irony of this story!

  • Richard Ball

    This is like trying to sue the weatherman because it rained yesterday but didn’t rain today. This retailer should do any/all of the following: buy PPC ads, start their own blog, list products on shopping engines, hire an SEO. The last thing they should do, however, is hire a lawyer. Silly. But funny.

  • Chris Pearson

    This is digital whining, plain and simple.

    Last time I checked, this was competition. Maybe the guy could take a few pointers from the site that’s outranking him and start down a similar path.

    Or maybe he could start an armchair bitchfest.

  • Ken Savage

    I always tell people I do any web work for that it never hurts to put up a subdomain up and start a WP blog. Amazing this guy isn’t getting the hint.

    By the way Loren, nice redesign by Chris.

  • David Krug

    You know I really think he should just open up a shoe store called The Blog and direct compete using affiliate marketing. But hey im an affilaite marketing junky.

  • franky

    Is it all that innocent? Is Deano also a dress shoe?
    And doesn’t Dean Hunt also figure on ?

    What about a new entry The Deano Dress Shoe? And a nice price for the TLD.
    Hey, I’m all about smartSEO and selling sites.

  • franky

    Uh? Link got eaten?
    Anyway I linked to Page 2 for search term Deano Dress Shoes at Google UK.

  • Steve

    66 Diggs thus far. Congrats

  • Status Eye Care

    Yesterday I was at and read that letter and the reply he gave to them , today i found this second reply. ITs so ffunny how this guy is wazting his time, instead he should hire a good seo to make his site better.

  • Steve

    81 Diggs now. WOW!

    How many will it take to get this baby on the main page?

    What other big sites is this story on?


  • Loren Baker, Editor

    This story did make it to the front page of Digg for about 1 minute, then it mysteriously ‘Diggapeared’.

    Not sure why it would have been burried, but I’m getting a lot of referrals to the internal Digg story page.

  • Dean Hunt

    Hi Dean Hunt here.

    I really enjoyed your article.

    I am just on my way out, and I am meeting with my lawyer in the morning.

    Thanks for all your support. If the story gets onto the main page of Digg then I will take a screenshot and e-mail it to the guy. ūüėČ

    The same applies if it gets onto the main part of & perhaps

    I will try my best to keep you updated.


  • Zack

    I want to find out who this arrogant businessman prick is. Why did you leave out the URL?

  • Dean Hunt


    I have had over 300 e-mails asking me to reveal the keyword and the URL.

    I have been VERY tempted to do so, but until I speak with my lawyer I am going to tread lightly.

    I don’t want to be held responsible for the actions of others.


  • Ana

    This is unbelievable. I can’t wait to see the site (the business)’s URL. Would be amusing.

  • Mike

    The great thing about this story is that Dean isn’t taking this too seriously and that drives that e-bully nuts.

  • Heather

    Wow. That business owner displays a fundamental misunderstanding of how the web and Google work, and then expects others to simply rework things to his benefit for no reason other than that he wants them to. I’d LOVE to know the legal basis he claims to have for sending his lawyer after this.

  • Torka

    Unfortunately, it’s likely his lawyer doesn’t understand how Google and/or the Web works any better than the business owner does. It would be nice if he/she did, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  • enric

    if he can afford suing a blogger he might just aswell spend it on better SEO (or hell pay the blogger to add alink to his store). I’ve been strugging with this kind of BS on my online store too and i share his pain but i dont whine. It’s just how it works, im a a google addict aswell and i dont want to see stores listed all the time when i just want information.

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  • Peter

    You would think someone who “makes a living” by relying on Google rankings might do — wait, I have an idea — a Google search for “google rankings,” and learn a thing or two about how the system works, before sending such asinine threats.