Bière Googles create a nasty morning after

Posted on November 14, 2011

 

French online beer dedicated company SaveurBiere.com has been hit by a €10,000 (£8,545) fine, in what could prove to be a landmark case for Europe.

The fine was imposed for “abusive SEO tactics and techniques”, which were used in online campaigns by Saveur Biere.

The campaign Saveur Biere started seemed straightforward enough; to rank its 50+ domains highly on SERPs where ‘biere’ was the search term. Each domain was created with pages having relevant and unique content. Having gained a reputation, the launch of SaveurBiere.com as an ecommerce venture began.

This was all well and good for a while, until another trader, known only as Celine S, took issue with the domain name selectionbiere.com in 2008.

A separate business, using the similarly titled selection-biere.com, she complained that owner Lemarchand’s site was too much like hers and the strategy used compromised her business. The resulting court case saw this complaint being upheld, resulting in the charge of illegal tactics and Lemarchand taking down most of his sites.

However, things did not end there. Not once was Lemachand told that he was operating outside of any of the Search Engines’ own guidelines and codes of practice. Armed with such information, an appeal was lodged.

This case was dismissed out of hand.

The Douai Court of Appeals judge ruled that by buying such a large number of domain names, each with repeated use of the keyword ‘biere’ and aggressively directing traffic, selection-biere.com was a victim of “unfair competition practices”, which prevented visits to the site.

So, from this quiet town in north eastern France, there could well be an explosion in such cases. It’s enough to drive SEO marketers to drink.

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