Blogger Fined for Ranking Too High on Google

Negative restaurant review gets French blogger in trouble

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 17, 2014 1:24 PM CDT

(Newser) – Apparently in France, writing a negative review can land you in deep merde—at least if that review gets too popular. A French judge has fined a blogger more than $3,000 because her bad review of a restaurant ranked too highly in that restaurant's Google search results, the BBC reports. The restaurant, Il Giardino, sued because blogger Caroline Doudet's review, titled "The Place to Avoid in Cap-Ferret: Il Giardino," came up fourth when searching for the restaurant. The judge also ordered Doudet to change the title.

"This decision creates a new crime of being too highly ranked" on search engines, Doudet complains—though a French lawyer says this kind of emergency ruling actually can't create precedent. "It seems to me that the judge did not understand the technical issues," the lawyer says. Doudet doesn't intend to appeal, and says she deleted the post outright because it's "easier" than changing it. Doudet's review, which complained about the restaurant's service, is actually consistent with other reviews on TripAdvisor and Google+, Search Engine Land observes. And Wired points out the crowning irony: Now, searches for Il Giardino are dominated by stories about the lawsuit.

In this Oct. 17, 2012, file photo, a man raises his hand at Google offices in New York.
In this Oct. 17, 2012, file photo, a man raises his hand at Google offices in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
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What is perverse, is that we look for bloggers who are influential, but only if they are nice about people. - Caroline Doudet

Maybe there were some errors in the service, that happens sometimes. ... But this article showed in the Google search results and did my business more and more harm, even though we have worked seven days a week for 15 years. - The owner of Il Giardino

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