“Get off Google or I’ll sue”

My NBO post has been the source of some attention lately, not the least by one woman who is unhappy to be mentioned there. We’ve spoken on the phone and as far as I can gather all the information is accurate – the only problem that exists is that her ex-employer still uses her details on some documents. I don’t think any of it is actually wrong.

She’s asked for some of the comments about her to be withdrawn and I’ve done that but now her lawyer is getting vocal because Google has not yet de-indexed the page. Given the 404s I find daily online I have no expectation that Google will de-index anytime soon so I’m expecting legal action over this one.

I have, however, used Google’s new promote-delete feature to remove the listing from their search results. Their documentation say that comments will be shared with other users, so presumably the deletion will be fed back into their algorithm. By doing so it is no longer simple when I want to check the SERPs as I have to log out of Google and then back in again. I will need to do this, though, to ascertain whether the legal demands have been met.

This will be interesting!

Hello Sarah,

Thank you for your message received yesterday.

With regard to the itamer.com site we are instructed by our client that she did not give her consent. Please treat this email as confirmation that if any consent was given (which our client says it was not) then that consent is now withdraw. As such our clients image on that page needs to be removed as does any reference to her.

With regard to the Google entries we are presently having this checked by IT consultant. However we enclose a photocopy of page 1 of our Google search today which again shows a link between “NZ Scams to Avoid” and “NZLook”. This is now intolerable and unless this is dealt with by 5.00pm today proceedings will be issued.

Kind regards,



Recent Comments



  1. December 26, 2008

    Surely what Google does is beyond your control. Perhaps they should be issuing proceedings against them instead.

    I had a look at “NZLook” and my thoughts were, “Not another business directory”.

  2. January 2, 2009

    Do you think she has any sort of a case against you, based upon New Zealand law?

    If this were the U.S. or Canada, I would say that her lawyer is just harassing you — because truth is an absolute defense against libel.

  3. January 12, 2009

    “This comment is of my honest opinion”

    Hi Sarah, if it is any consolation, I have had many phone calls with the same sort of tone on our sites. While legal costs are exceedingly high, we have found that 99% of complaints have no legal basis. As I believe this one also has no legal basis.

    I refer to New Zealand’s defamation laws. a blog in its nature is classified as an independent publication (according to our legal advice) and is governed under the same laws as any news organization publishing the same content.

    Basically if what you said was true, and any opinion placed in the article to be of your honest belief and clearly identifiable that it is your honest belief then you should be telling the lawyer to take a hike. I have read the blog you are referring too and found no legal ground for recourse so long as the content is true.

    sounds like bully tactics to me.

    keep up the blog tho, love reading it.

    BTW had never seen NZLook before today…. but what a load of crap site, I can’t see any way their business model can survive or why anyone would pay money to be listed in their directory.
    No POD at all! All the evidence I have found shows the value is in the data, not the service. If the people at NZLook had bothered to do some research they would have found that there are too many charging directories in NZ and without exception they are all a waste of money….

    In my opinion any one who signs up to NZLook is getting scammed.

  4. February 19, 2009

    Great post Sara, I’d appreciate a look at my site.

    Unfortunately if everyone had ultra control of their Google listings there would be chaos and that’s why they’ve done this.

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