I don’t usually take much notice of Live search traffic to this blog because they usually don’t drive much if any traffic at all. But I decided to look today and noticed a few weird entries in Google Analytics. I had a bunch of referring keywords from live.com with 1 visit, 2 page views and 0 time on site. Click on the thumbnail to see the full size image:
When you see patterns like that, you have to assume that it’s a bot that’s hitting your site. I downloaded my logs for the past week and took a look. To my surprise there were entries like this:
126.96.36.199 - -
"GET /black-people-on-ebay-again/ HTTP/1.0"
200 25905 www.reubenyau.com
"Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.2; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)" "-"
If you’re not used to reading raw logs, the important items here are the IP address in the first line and the referrer in the 5th line.
Using whois.arin.net you can see that the IP address belongs to Microsoft:
OrgName: Microsoft Corp
Address: One Microsoft Way
NetRange: 188.8.131.52 - 184.108.40.206
NetType: Direct Assignment
RTechName: Microsoft Corporation
OrgAbuseName: Hotmail Abuse
OrgAbuseName: MSN ABUSE
OrgNOCName: Microsoft Corporation
This type of behavior is certainly not in the spirit of the internet and something that’s definitely quite annoying.
So why is Microsoft referrer spamming me? I start searching on forums and I start finding that I’m not the only one being targeted here.
So as it turns out, msndude from webmasterworld apologizes and basically says “don’t worry, be happy – and btw, if you block it, you might get banned”. Here’s the actual quote:
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.
HUH? Excuse me? You have a bot that’s not exactly being very nice but I’m not allowed to block it? What kind of practice is that? I don’t run a spammy MFA site. I don’t do anything shady, so why should I have to sit here and have my stats polluted for absolutely nothing in return. If Live was sending me traffic I could perhaps turn a blind eye, but considering that they’ve been on a pretty good downward trend recently, you’d think that they’d want to do a better job of appeasing webmasters. Here’s their traffic over the past few months according to quantcast:
As of tonight it’s being blocked. I really don’t want to play this game, but this type of behavior should not be tolerated by webmasters.