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Microsoft Live.com Plays Referrer Stats Games and Ruins Your AdSense Income

While it is common, nowadays, to whine how Google shouldn't tell people how to make money with their websites (like selling links), this time Microsoft has done the same.

Lately, it's been noticed that Live.com spams the referrer logs of the websites, claiming that it is only about quality check.

But since they check it from only a small range of IP addresses, this can be noticed (which has been by plenty of people) and adjusted to, if someone is already doing cloaking. This is a really small job for black hats, really.

So what is really behind the scheme? Honestly, I don't know.

But for me, it screws my stats, makes me use Google Analytics instead of AwStats to see the top referrer websites and keywords. Why does Microsoft force me to use Google? I don't know, maybe thousands of employees didn't think much about it.

How to see if you have it, too:

Technically, what I see is a lot of searches for single-phrase words, related to my site, such as 'website', 'links' and so on and they occupy top spots in the keyphrase stats. Obviously, I don't have such rankings, so they are fake.

Really, instead of making me a happy website owner, they add tar in my jar of honey.

If you decide to blog the IPs, you will be out of the Live index. Go figure. Quote from MSNguy from WMW:

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.

But what's more, Live botting and crawling increases AdSense impressions, thus lowering the income from running AdSense on your website(s). And in Michael's and in my opinion, intefering with someone's income is unacceptable.

Is Microsoft trying to ruin the AdSense game for Google so others would switch to other contextual advertising schemes? Now that'd be a plot. And a very likely one, even though not the one admitted officially (read Michael's post for more explanation).

  • Will Microsoft keep going with the sneaky tactic and not explain everything to the webmasters?
  • Shall we block Live.com bots fom our websites?
  • What happens next?

We shall see the answers to these questions soon, I guess.

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