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E-Ventures Worldwide, LLC v. Google, Inc.

United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers Division

May 12, 2016, Decided; May 12, 2016, Filed

Case No: 2:14-cv-646-FtM-29CM

Opinion

 [*1268]  OPINION AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on review of defendant Google's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint and Supporting Memorandum of Law (Doc. #78) filed on November 16, 2015. Plaintiff filed an Opposition to Google's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (Doc. #79) on November 30, 2015, to which Google filed a Reply Memorandum in Support of its Motion to Dismiss (Doc. #82) on December 14, 2015.

Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint alleges [**2]  the following facts: Plaintiff e-ventures Worldwide, LLC is an online publishing and research firm that reviews products and services in specific industries. (Doc. #75, ¶ 9.) The majority of plaintiff's revenues are derived from the "search engine optimization" or "SEO" industry. (Id. ¶ 13.) Search engine optimization is the process of causing websites to be ranked and displayed more prominently in search results, without payment being made to the search engine. (Id.)

Defendant Google operates an Internet search engine and has been called "the world's largest media company" with approximately 70% of the United States' online search market and 90% of Europe's online search market. (Id. ¶ 10.) The majority  [*1269]  of Google's revenues are derived from its "AdWords" advertising program, through which consumers pay to have their websites ranked and prominently displayed in Google's search results. (Id. ¶ 11.) Links to the advertisers' websites are displayed at the top of Google's search results and each time a consumer clicks on one of the advertisements, Google charges the advertiser and makes a profit. (Id. ¶ 12.) Due to Google's large market share, SEO companies tend to focus on how their clients' [**3]  websites can obtain a higher ranking on Google's unpaid search results. (Id. ¶ 14.)

Plaintiff alleges that the SEO services it provides and advertises on its website reduce Google's revenues because if companies are successful in achieving website prominence on Google's unpaid search listing, then there is less of a desire for them to purchase Google's AdWords advertising services. (Id. ¶ 15.) Accordingly, marketing dollars that may otherwise have been spent on Google advertising are spent by companies on SEO providers to increase their prominence on Google's search results. (Id. ¶ 16.) Both Google and e-ventures publish information online to assist third parties in achieving increased website visibility on Google. (Id. ¶ 17.) Google hopes that third parties pay Google to be ranked higher in Google's search results, and e-ventures hopes that third parties pay an SEO provider, instead of Google, to achieve the same result. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that as a result, Google has an anti-competitive, economic motivation to eliminate the visibility of e-ventures' websites on its search engine results. (Id. ¶ 18.)

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188 F. Supp. 3d 1265 *; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62855 **; 2016 WL 2758889

E-VENTURES WORLDWIDE, LLC, 9045 Strada Stell Court, Suite 103, Naples, Fl 34109, Plaintiff, v. GOOGLE, INC., 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, Defendant.

Subsequent History: Reconsideration denied by E-Ventures Worldwide, LLC v. Google, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110648 (M.D. Fla., Aug. 19, 2016)

Prior History: E-Ventures Worldwide, LLC v. Google, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141936 (M.D. Fla., Oct. 19, 2015)

CORE TERMS

websites, e-ventures, alleges, removal, advertising, Policies, motion to dismiss, deceptive, consumer, spam, First Amendment, tortious interference, business relationship, misleading, cause of action, defamation, unfair, ban, search engine, anti-competitive, reasons, argues, single publication, plaintiff's claim, third party, good faith, editorial, provider, affirmative defense, affiliation