Google Sues SEO Firm For Making False Partnership Claims In Illegal Robocalls

After demanding the false claims and robocalls stop more than a year ago, Google brings legal action against the agency.




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On Wednesday, Google took legal action against a search marketing firm for allegedly making illegal automated calls to small businesses and falsely claiming to be working for or with the search giant. According to the suit, the action comes more than a year after Google first contacted the agency to stop the alleged behavior.


The suit, filed in the US District Court of Northern California, claims that the firm, Local Lighthouse, based in Tustin, California, made extensive and misleading use of Google’s trademarks and that the agency’s sales agents were making misleading claims to confuse small businesses about the relationship between the two companies.


The Timeline

Google says it first sent Local Lighthouse a letter on July 29, 2014, after receiving complaints about incessant unsolicited automated telephone calls, misrepresentations about the company’s relationship with Google and false guarantees of first-page placement on Google search results — a tactic Local Lighthouse apparently pitched as “Front Page Domination.” Google says it also demanded a copy of the firm’s sales script at that time.


Local Lighthouse apparently responded in writing on August 12, 2014, denying the practices.


After continuing to receive complaints, including reports that sales agents were introducing themselves as “Google Local Listing representatives,” Google says it sent another letter on January 9, 2015, demanding the tactics stop.


Complaints from consumers continued, and Google has now proceeded with its first legal action against an agency for robocalling and misleading users about the nature of its relationship with Google. If it’s any sign, we may see more suits coming on this front from Google.


Local Lighthouse currently has five other civil suits pending against it, each filed by consumers over claims of illegal robocalls.


For more on this case and Google’s actions to combat robocalling, see our coverage on our sister site, Search Engine Land.








(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)

 


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