The Legality of Negative SEO

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An interesting facet of negative SEO is that the definition isn't nailed down. Research done by a WebmasterWorld user found that Internet lawyers have a wide range of definitions of what "negative SEO" is. Check the whole thread out here. The latter half of it gets into some talk about "hacking vs cracking," but the first half is more about negative SEO.

TheMadScientist wrote:
I think the best way to get the best answer to your question is to go in to the attorney, say [after pulling up their site in a browser], "This is your website, right? [search google and find it in the rankings] It ranks here, right? -- Now, I'm your competition and I'm going to get it penalized and removed from the top 10 in Google for the search we just did... What are you going to do about it?"

Awarn wrote:
I don't know if I agree. Do you know for sure that is why you are ranking lower? Can you prove it? Please explain the Google algorithm. What are the factors, all of them please. My point is in the US the party is innocent until proven guilty. Can you prove that is the reason for your lower rankings. Even if they hired somebody can you prove it? I think it is a tough case.

Is it possible to even prove that negative SEO happened? Maybe it's one of those things where even if you really think you got hit...it's more time-efficient to act on solutions rather than pursue vengeance.