If only this headline would be linkbait … of course it’s not sarcastic.
Rumors are out that Microsoft will launch a porn affiliate programm soon. The top secret code name for this project is “pornbucks”, but analysts say that it will be launched as “M$ SMUT CASH” next year or so.
Since Microsoft just can’t ship anything in time, and the usual delays aren’t communicated internally, their search dept. began to promote it to Webmasters this summer.
Surprisingly, Webmasters across the globe weren’t that excited to find promotinal messages from Live Search in their log files, so a somewhat confused MSN dude posted a lame excuse to a large Webmaster forum.
Meanwhile we found out that Microsoft Live Search does not only target the adult entertainment industry, they’re testing the waters with other money terms like travel or pharmaceutic products too.
Anytime soon the Live Search menu bar will be updated to something like this:
Here is the sad –but true– story of a search engine’s downfall.
A few months ago Microsoft Live Search discovered that x-rated referrer spam is a must-have technique in a sneaky smut peddlar’s marketing toolbox.
Since August 2007 a bogus Web robot follows Microsoft’s search engine crawler “MSNbot” to spam the referrer logs of all Web sites out there with URLs pointing to MSN search result pages featuring porn.
Read your referrer logs and you’ll find spam from Microsoft too, but perhaps they peeve you with viagra spam, offer you unwanted but cheap payday loans, or try to enlarge your penis. Of course they know every trick in the book on spam, so check for harmless catchwords too. Here is an example URL:
http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q= spammy-keyword &mrt=en-us&FORM=LIVSOP
Microsoft’s spam bot not only leaves bogus URLs in log files, hoping that Webmasters will click them on their referrer stats pages and maybe sign up for something like “M$ Porn Bucks” or so. It downloads and renders even adverts powered by their rival Google, lowering their CTR; obviously to make programs like AdSense less attractive im comparison with Microsoft’s own ads (sorry, no link love from here).
Let’s look at Microsoft’s misleading statement:
The traffic you are seeing is part of a quality check we run on selected pages. While we work on addressing your conerns, we would request that you do not actively block the IP addreses used by this quality check; blocking these IP addresses could prevent your site from being included in the Live Search index.
- That’s not traffic, that’s bot activity: These hits come within seconds of being indexed by MSNBot. The pattern is like this: the page is requested by MSNBot (which is authenticated, so it’s genuine) and within a few seconds, the very same page is requested with a live.com search result URL as referer by the MSN spam bot faking a human visitor.
- If that’s really a quality check to detect cloaking, that’s more than just lame. The IP addresses don’t change, the bogus bot uses a static user agent name, and there are other footprints which allow every cloaking script out there to serve this sneaky bot the exact same spider fodder that MSNbot got seconds before. This flawed technique might catch poor man’s cloaking every once in a while, but it can’t fool savvy search marketers.
- The FUD “could prevent your site from being included in the Live Search index” is laughable, because in most niches MSN search traffic is not existent.
This unethical spam bot downloading all images, external CSS and JS files, and whatnot also burns bandwidth. That’s plain theft.
Since this method cannot detect (most) cloaking, and the so called “search quality control bot” doesn’t stop visiting sites which obviously do not cloak, it is a sneaky marketing tool. Whether or not Microsoft Live Search tries to promote cyberspace porn and on-line viagra shops plays no role. Even spamming with safe-at-work keywords is evil. Do these assclowns really believe that such unethical activities will increase the usage of their tiny and pretty unpopular search engine? Of course they do, otherwise they would have shutted down the spam bot months ago.
Dear reader, please tell me: what do you think of a search engine that steals (bandwidth and AdSense revenue), lies, spams away, and is not clever enough to stop their criminal activities when they’re caught?
One thing that we noticed for example while mining our logs is that there are still a fair number of sites that specifically only allow Googlebot and do not allow MSNBot.
There’s a suitable answer, though. Update your robots.txt:
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