Law Firm, Yahoo End Spat Over Failed Web Fix

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A law firm in Little Rock, Ark., says it’s settled a case against Yahoo, launched late last year after the firm was practically erased from the World Wide Web by the search engine’s Localworks program.
     Wilson & Haubert paid Yahoo $90 for a three-month subscription to Localworks, which was supposed to bring in new customers by pushing the firm’s business listing onto over 40 key web directories and improving visibility after first correcting inaccuracies in the various listings.
     The law firm claimed they were duped into signing up for the program after a Localworks scan identified 122 errors in the business’s listings across the web. After being promised that the program would “fix everything,” the firm created a template to fix the errors Localworks identified and launched it.
     Days later, the program confirmed it had published the firm’s updated information on all directories except Bing and City Search. But when the attorneys checked the directories for themselves, they found that many – Mapquest, Merchant Circle, White Pages and Topix – had no listing for the firm whatsoever.
     Meanwhile, the lawyers claimed that the listings that remained on the web were littered with errors. Two weeks after running Yahoo Localworks, the same 122 errors remained, according to the original complaint filed in federal court in San Francisco.
     By the time they filed their lawsuit – slightly over a month after discovering Localworks hadn’t worked for them – the attorneys said 87 errors remained, and that they had to update the listings on Bing, Yelp and two other directories themselves.
     Yahoo maintained that the law firm made a mistake in the signup process and never actually launched Localworks at all. In a response to Wilson & Haubert’s complaint, the Internet giant claimed that “a five-minute call to Yahoo’s customer service could have resolved the problem,” and that shortly after filing the lawsuit the firm realized the error and corrected it.
     Last week, the parties announced they had agreed to dismiss the case in favor of a confidential settlement.
     U.S. District Judge Beth Freeman has since signed off on the agreement.

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