Autotrack successfully sues other car-search engine

Fri 13 February 2009 14:03, Bas van den Beld

Autotrack successfully sues other car-search engine

With the financial crisis the car industry is getting hit big time. Websites on which cars are being sold or where potential buyers and sellers are brought together are without a doubt feeling the pain also.

The sites also might benefit from the crisis though, because people may think they can now find that one bargain they have been looking for.

These websites are now competing with one another for the attention of the car-searcher. When doing that a lot of sites use the content of other sites. By spidering them they collect content from different website. In the Netherlands Dutch car-search engine Gaspedaal.nl (roughly translated ‘gaspedaal’ means ‘accelerator’) spidered Autotrack.nl but was ordered to stop doing that by the court.

The two car-websites have been battling about this for quite a while now. At first gaspedaal.nl seemed to have won the dispute when the court decided that the spidering by gaspedaal.nl was legitimate. After Autotrack appealed the judge now feels gaspedaal.nl is violating the databank-rights of the Autotrack owners, dutch publicists Wegener.

Gaspedaal2

Autotrack.nl

Gaspedaal is ordered to remove all the Autotrack content from their website within 48 hours, if they don’t do that they will have to pay a 1000 euros a day. Owners Innoweb also have to pay for all the damages Autotrack has suffered.

The judge’s decision is quite remarkable. Gaspedaal is actually sending traffic to the Autotrack website. Although they are collecting the data they are sending the searcher forward to the car-website they found a specific car on.

Gaspedaal

The ruling could mean that more vertical search engines are in trouble. When more sites decide to take the same steps as Autotrack did they now have a change of winning the case. However it might also be that they are killing the goose with the golden egg because this way they are actually refusing traffic. And a second question that arises is: now what, will they sue Google also?



Comments (1)

 

    • Tim

    This is interesting news - thanks for sharing it.

    Can you tell me (since I don't read the language) are both of these true search engines or is one of them more of a listings board (albeit searchable)?

    Also, what's the back story to this? Did autotrack.nl do the proper thing by excluding crawlers with robots.txt or did they just sue them?

    Thanks

    Vr 13 feb 2009, 18:22

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