November 25, 2013

Dutch cars on the road are black, grey and white

Filed under: Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 11:38 am

Recently the Dutch Road Transport Directorate (RDW) has made some information about car registration accessible as open data, which means you can have a look at types of cars, license plates and even car colour.

In 2013 black, grey and white cars accounted for 80% of all cars sold. In Munich, Germany I was once told that most cars, besides being German brands like BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Volkswagen are usually dark blue, black or grey. The only exception would be Porsche as it is more high end, and then red, orange and yellow come into the mix.

The reason for the drab colours according to no statistics whatsoever and a decent amount of beer was that ‘neutral’ colours are easier to sell second hand than red, yellow and green cars. And when I think of a red car, I picture a Ferrari and if I think Lamborghini I picture a bright yellow car. I’ve seen a dark blue Ferrari and a grey Lamborghini and not only are they both boring, but they actually seem less expensive.

I heard a few times that pink cars get stolen more often as do red and white Opel Kadetts, which practically had their own column in Nijmegen’s regional paper De Gelderlander when I used to live out there.

(Link:, Photo of Coen Tunnel by Erik Tjallinks, some rights reserved)

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May 30, 2009

Optimize websites, lose lawsuits

Filed under: Automobiles,Online by Branko Collin @ 12:18 am

Remember that story about the website that lost a lawsuit due to how Google summarized its contents in search results? Well, the judge’s opinion came in yesterday, and it gets even crazier.

What went on before? had a web page on which the words “Zwartepoorte” and “failliet” (bankrupt) appeared together, although totally unrelated. According to Zwartepoorte the Google summary of that page caused people to conclude that the company had gone bankrupt, and so it asked to change the webpage to undo that impression. The latter refused and the former sued.’s owner had—let me quote the court—“organized his website in such a manner that it scored “high” in Google, [so] the defendant has a responsibility in this matter.” In other words because the defendant ranked high in the search engine, he lost the case. He probably never helped himself by telling the judge how easy and trivial it is to change the page in a way that Google would no longer produce the damaging text.

Some good news for though is that it managed to net Solv (Dutch), the respectable internet law firm of amongst others Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm—he who once convinced a court that Kazaa was legal, although by then the filesharing company had fled to Australia only to be convicted there, perhaps because lesser legal minds roam the steppe of Southland.

(Full verdict here (Dutch, PDF). Link: Iusmentis. Joris van Hoboken, expert on the confluence of law and search engines, has an opinion in English.)

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May 17, 2009

Site convicted for Google’s automatic abstracts

Filed under: Automobiles,Online by Orangemaster @ 1:44 pm

If the case of car dealer Zwartepoort against website has been in the news before, it can only have been as the sort of easily mocked example of how some folks start lawsuits over really anything and everything, no matter how trivial and unwinnable their cases are. But now Zwartepoorte have gone and won theirs. When you searched Google for the company name, you would get amongst others a result from seemingly explaining the car dealer had gone bankrupt. You know the type:

Full name: Zwartepoorte. Specialty: BMW … This company has gone bankrupt.

These abstracts are machine generated. Google takes disparate phrases from a website and combines them into an abstract. obviously feels that the wrong people have been sued. told De Telegraaf (Dutch): “If the search result were to imply or insinuate that Zwartepoorte has gone bust, it would be Google’s responsibility, not ours.” I would take that a step further and say that nobody should have been sued in the first place.

It will be interesting to see what reasoning judge Sj. A. Rullman will come up with to explain her judgment. Meanwhile, I am waiting with trepidation to be sued by BMW car dealers, as I have my own story of the power of Google to tell. The last few weeks of December I got a constant stream of phone calls from people wishing to buy a nice shiny Beamer. My initials are B.M.W., and as it turns out I used to be the first link people would find when they googled for “BMW Amsterdam,” displayed prominently as part of Google Business with a map and a phone number. It got so bad that I stopped answering the phone, and started the message on my machine with the statement that “I am not a BMW dealer.” I must has cost some poor sod a lot of lost business that way.

Update: fixed type “” to “” Thanks, Nico.

Link: Iusmentis (Dutch). Photo by Gyver Chang, some rights reserved.

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