SEO is a big industry and taking down competitors is a part of being the top N results.
I've forked out a lot (for us) on adwords and the return has been negligible to say the least.
Does this mean that the democratizing power of the internet has been swallowed up for small, lean companies like us who cant afford a mega adwords budget?
For a criminal-justice-system analogy, it's similar in concept (though not in extremity) to SWATting. And I don't think we want governments to wash their hands of that and say "not our fault our system is abusable that way, it's all on you to do something about it after the fact".
The credit rating agencies could establish reasonably secure channels directly to consumers (passwords would be a start, dedicated tokens would be best), and require explicit authorization through the secure channel for new lines of credit. No account system is perfect, but it'd be a hell of a lot harder to break than "prove your knowledge of full name, address, DOB, and SSN" which are shared and stored all over the place, and bound to leak.
The financial industry or the government (probably at the financial industry's behest) could sign/distribute cryptographic identities along with plastic ones. Opening a new account could require a signature from a signed certificate.
Banks could send prompts to your smartphone asking you to approve/reject ACH and even credit card transactions, ala Venmo. Or you could sign them from a device you control, as with Bitcoin. (Instead, when we get cryptographic signing for payments at all, we get cards which sign all transactions presented to them by devices the consumer doesn't control, without verifying the cardholder's intent except through the merchant's terminal, whose UI could be lying. And we're still stuck with shared secrets for online payments).
A lot is possible, the financial industry has simply chosen to put consumers (and itself) through the hassle and expense of cleaning up after fraud because it's cheaper than a serious attempt at an authentication system.
Google does something much like this - but without regulation or clear appeal process.
If Google's approach is encouraging or enabling fraud, I'd like to see to it they're the ones who are motivated to change their approach. Making them legally responsible for the actions of their algorithms, preferably with penalties steep enough that even they can't ignore the resulting fines, might not be a bad start.
If the police simply refused to respond until you'd done the full investigation yourself and handed in the proof, and then the only thing they'd do was acknowledge "yup, that guy stole your wallet, we won't assume he legitimately possesses that wallet anymore but we also won't do anything to get it back or prosecute him", then you'd have an analogy.
Also, have you tried reporting a minor crime in a major city recently? Me: "My (nice road racing) bike was stolen. Here's the video tape from the security camera showing the crime and the thief's face." Cops: "That's nice for you. Come back in a week and see if your bike is in our shed if you like. Cheerio".
I spend an average of 10-15 hours/week disavowing bad links our competitors build. I've automated most of it now so it's going faster, but it's out of control.