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Google faces suit over lowered search rankings

Google Technologies is fighting to dismiss a $75,000 (£46,717) lawsuit claiming that it purposely devalued the search rankings of online advertising network Search King.

Google has asked a US court to deny a request for a preliminary injunction from Search King, which sued the search giant last October claiming that it unfairly bumped the rankings of its Web sites, leading to financial losses.

Search King alleged Google "arbitrarily and purposefully" devalued its rankings when it discovered that the company's advertising sales branch PR Ad Network was placing text ads on Web sites with a high "PageRank" from Google, therefore making it one of the few competitors to Google's advertising service.

Google's PageRank system calculates search results based on how many sites link to a particular site, with more "important" linking sites adding more weight to the ranking.

Because Google is one of the largest and most highly trafficked search sites on the Web, Search King alleged that the way in which it delivers results can significantly affect the amount of traffic received by a Web site.

Although Search King's PageRank rating was restored in November, the company decided to follow through with the suit as a matter of principle.

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