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Google Sues SEO Shop for Robocalling Businesses and Pretending to Be Google

For once, Google is the plaintiff.


Usually, when Google is pulled into court, it’s on the receiving end of a lawsuit. Now it’s trying out the other side.

On Wednesday, the search giant filed a false advertising suit in a U.S. District Court in California against Local Lighthouse, a company that provides search engine optimization services. In the suit, Google claims Local Lighthouse rang small businesses with telemarketing calls, telling them they needed to update their Google listings. The catch is that they identified themselves as “Google Local Listing representatives.”

Google, for obvious reasons, does not like this. But it happens often, as SEO companies can make money off the robocalls. However, it’s the first time Google has taken legal action against one of them. The company is also launching an online complaint center for businesses to report these calls.

Brad Wetherall, an operations manager for Google My Business, detailed the rationale behind the suit:

It’s difficult for Google to take action against callers because they often use untraceable phone numbers, fake company names and massive global networks of intermediaries. However, today we’re filing an action in California against one search engine optimization company for making these robocalls and confusing our users. It’s unfortunate when a problem must be addressed in a court of law, but we believe this course of action will protect our users and discourage this practice more broadly.”

Representatives from Local Lighthouse did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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