Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Microsoft Search Crawler Blocked-By-Bloggers

Boycott Microsoft crawler

Can the effort of a few thousands bloggers bring about sufficient disturbance to be able to discourage Microsoft from pursuing the competitive search engine efforts is fielding to conquer such market?

According to Idle Words
"a crawler boycott by bloggers will be extremely effective, even if only a few thousand people participate. That's because the hard part of creating a good search engine isn't finding or storing huge amounts of content — it's making accurate determinations of relevance.

To determine relevance, you can either hire a building full of people to look at websites and classify them (the Yahoo model), or analyze patterns in hyperlinks that other people create (the Google model). We've seen which approach scales best.

But the hyperlink model depends on a distributed network of volunteers who create links to interesting content, and allow search engine sites to harvest that information. In effect, we're all working for Google (and Technorati, and others) for free. We allow them to crawl our sites and harvest our links because our relationship is symbiotic. We give them link information, they give us useful search tools.

Because weblogs are (by definition) frequently updated, topical, and rich in hyperlinks, they are a gold mine for search engines. Weblogs serve as an amplifier for interesting and timely content.

If a search engine can't crawl the blogosphere, its relevance judgements and its ability to identify breaking news will suffer. That degradation in link analysis will hurt it far more than a few thousand pages of missing content."



Relating to the issue of whether a boycott against Microsoft would be justified or not I would certainly tend to agree with the fact that also in this case, as many times before in Microsoft history, the Redmond company is not entering the search space on an equal footing with anyone. "They have a monopoly on desktops, and they will use that monopoly to promote MSN search, just like they used it to promote Internet Explorer."

While naive spectators of the browser war may have been perceiving Internet Explorer relentless victory on the desktop mainly due to better functions and superior design have dearly forgotten indeed the infinite competitive advantage Microsoft created for itself by bundling its browsers on tens of millions of PCs, literally wiping out from view even the awareness of alternative tools.

Proof of this is demonstrated by the high number of Netscape users in academic, research and non-commercial organizations who have long sticked with Netscape to this very day. (Netscape and Mozilla incarnations are also now on the verge of taking back a great share of Internet users as Microsoft announces no more upcoming releases of Internet Explorer and as the Gecko/Mozilla engine becomes everyday more attractive and functional thanks to an extensive and inarrestable community of open source developers.)

But as smart as Microsoft is on the stragic marketing front they have understood that the best way to conquer the market for any new tool or application they may envision is to "transparently" embed it within the Office suite or better yet within the Operating System itself.

While I do not discard the principle as being fundamentally wrong I do resist the magnetic pull that Microsoft wants to exercise on all my computing and information related activities. I would like to operate with operating systems tools that are Open Source, customizable, and built on my actual needs and not on my provider plans for marketing dominance.

Communication Agents have now a concrete opportunity to keep Microsoft from spoiling also this party. "By blocking the Microsoft crawler in your robots.txt file, you'll be refusing to work for free to help Microsoft extend its monopoly to yet another market. Every weblog that participates in the boycott will be helping offset the unfair advantage of Windows integration."


Create a Robots.txt file containing the following commands and place it on your server:

User-agent: MSNBOT
Disallow: /

Robots.txt File TutorialRobots.txt File Tutorial from Search Engine World.

Full credit to this Initiative goes to:
Maciej Ceglowski's Idle Words

Boycott Microsoft Search!

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posted by Robin Good on Sunday, June 22 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




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