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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Threat to remove my site from SEO listing

    Hi,

    I was wondering if I can receive some legal advice. I am a web developer and have a personal website that acts like a CV/portfolio. My website has information about my job roles, at all the previous companies I have worked for.

    Today I received a phone call from the director, from a past company I left 5 years ago. He says my website is listed directly underneath their site when you type in his company name in Google.co.uk. He says he has received complaints from customers who enter his website name and find my site underneath.

    He has Ďaskedí for me to remove references to his company and ensure I am not listed high in the search engines anymore when people google his company name.

    From the web logs, I have seen that there has been low google traffic to my site and no customer has visited my site from googling his company name. I also, have not written anything offensive of untruthful comments about his company on my site. All I have written about is my job role and skills gained.

    Do I have to remove all references to the company. If not, what are the threats of keeping my website as it is?

    Jas

  2. #2
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    If you're just stating a fact (that you worked there) then you're perfectly in the clear.

    And what customer is going to complain that something else showed up under the company site in the SERPs? This guy sounds like he is full of beans, if you're planning on doing more work for these guys then it may be worthwhile to remove it in order to keep the peace but otherwise I wouldn't even respond.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    I can't figure out why any customer would complain either. It's not the customer's site to begin with.

    I'd recommend you to go with tke's advise as well.
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  4. #4
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    The search results do not belong to that company and neither they nor you have any direct control over what gets listed where in the results.

    If the only things you have said about the company are factual statements about them, what you did for them and what you learnt there then all you basically have on the page is a CV entry regarding your having worked for that company. Removing it would leave a hole in your CV where potential future employers would be wondering what you did during that time.

    As long as all the information in connection with the company name is about you and what you did there and doesn't comment on the company in any way then the Company has no more right to ask you to change it than you would haven to ask the company to change information on their site about what they do/have done.
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  5. #5
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    These are empty threats. You are stating facts and as such you are entitled to put them on your website; it is as simple as that. Tell them you are willing to amend anything that is not factual but that is as much as you are willing to do. That should leave them stumped or make them reveal what it is in your CV involving them that they think they can use to force your hand.
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  6. #6
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    I have to agree with the others here. Furthermore, just to be on the safe side, you should never ask for legal advice from anyone on a forum. Only a licensed attorney who legally practices law in your particular jurisdiction is qualified to do that.

    Anyway, this former employer of yours is full of smoke - because they're fuming that your CV is coming up right underneath theirs in the search engine results. If what you say is true, and that you haven't done anything malicious to the former employer, just ignore them. Trolls are best not fed, afterall.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast bestofmoney's Avatar
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    I don't know in US but in Europe, France for example, clients have the practice of requiring confidentiality that is if you want to reference him you have to ask him permission.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Evangelist asprookie's Avatar
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    He says he has received complaints from customers who enter his website name and find my site underneath.
    This is ridiculous, he's lying, ignore him.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    This guy is an idiot, seriously.

    RJ

  10. #10
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    I don't see any reason to fret, If like you say you are only stating a fact about work experience etc, then there is no problem

    Can't see why any customer will complain about that, Keep your site running and forget about the guy

  11. #11
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    thank you

    Hi guys,.

    I want to say a big thank you to all of you who taken time and have replied. I never used forums before and a friend recommended I post my problem on here. It's really nice to get lots of feedback from different people.

    I have gone through the content and removed misc bits about the company. I have left just pure cv and my jole information. I still seem to be ranked high in the search when people search for the company but I like the point made by felgall, about how a search engine belongs to everyone so I guess even if I did remove my page, someone else will just come and take the position in the end anyway.

    Jas

  12. #12
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by bestofmoney View Post
    I don't know in US but in Europe, France for example, clients have the practice of requiring confidentiality that is if you want to reference him you have to ask him permission.
    So in France it would be illegal to send out your resume unless you have permission from every company that you've worked for to include them?

    I find that difficult to believe, but then again that would help to explain the state of the French economy.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tke71709 View Post
    I find that difficult to believe, but then again that would help to explain the state of the French economy.
    Classic....
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Enthusiast shadav's Avatar
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    lmfao tke

    Quote Originally Posted by bestofmoney View Post
    I don't know in US but in Europe, France for example, clients have the practice of requiring confidentiality that is if you want to reference him you have to ask him permission.
    i think that this would apply to a client personally, not a business....business confidentiality would be not giving away trade secretes!
    You can say "yes, i did this this and this" you can't say "Well now see they did that differently, here's how they do things"

    and about legal problems with search engines....do you know how many i hate oxado sites there are or i hate this or that sites? do you think they have any legal issues?

    now if you were claiming to be that company or a branch thereof or still employed there, you would have legal issues....but just to write their name or to have a resume on your site....there's nothing illegal about that.

    how many site get high SERPs for using google's name or yahoo's name or whatever?

    This guy's just blowing smoke up your *** because you no longer work for him but yet are getting reputation from having been there and he can't market off of it

  15. #15
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    We regularly have a similar 'problem' with new clients. We build their website, and when they go live we add the site to our client portfolio (we do ask our client's permission).

    Since our Google Page Rank is higher than the new site's, when they search for their company name our site is listed higher than theirs. We had a number of concerned phone calls... I always answers that our link to their website helps their PR, but some clients are not too happy.

    JK-san

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tke71709 View Post
    I find that difficult to believe, but then again that would help to explain the state of the French economy.
    And it is someone from Canada who writes it? ROFL
    Last edited by Hartmann; Feb 8, 2008 at 09:12. Reason: removed personal attack

  17. #17
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    the ending

    Thanks for your replies guys. Just thought I would let you all know the ending to the story for the time you have given to write in. I have given up and removed all references. I decided it may not be worth the risk, time, costs and tension at this stage in my career.

    Last letter I received was:

    "Your website as it is presently constructed us highly prejudical to the good name, reputation of the business. I am therefore formally writing to you to demand you remove all references to "***"". I require you to send me your written assurance within 48 hours of receiving this letter, that you have removed all such references or will remove all such references within 7 days of receipt of this letter

    Unless I receive your written assurance and unless the material and the references are removed as requested above, we shall not hesitate to take legal action to enforce proprietary to protect our business and our good name - both of which have been built up over 25 years.

    I hope you understand the seriousness of this matter and that you will act swiftly to rectify this situation. Any failure to do so will result in legal proceedings which may prove extremely costly and time consuming"

    Once again thanks to all of you who have written in.

  18. #18
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Now is the time to move on. Besides, do you really want to be associated with a company like that? I know I wouldn't. Keep your chin up. Things will get better, trust me (I've been there).

  19. #19
    SitePoint Addict jessebhunt's Avatar
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    I agree with Dan. I don't think I would want to include a company like that in a resume anyway. If a prospective employer contacted them for a reference, I'd venture to say that they probably wouldn't say many good things about you.
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