Yesterday the Live Search Webmaster blog posted on how to send feedback on MSNbot behavior, which Sunshine reported. While it doesn’t go into details about what kind of complaints might be registered, apparently lately there are plenty.
We’re not SEO types and aren’t well versed on search engine crawlers and their behavior, but from what we’ve been reading the MSNbot, which crawls the web to collect information about web pages to use on Live Search, hasn’t been playing nice lately.
A post on the SERoundTable blog sums up the history of the issue:
Since August 2007 Microsoft has been sending out weird referrer data to people’s log files. The spam like referrers were official cloaking tests from Microsoft and should have been resolved in 2007. But they came back in January 2008 and then again in July 2008 without explanation.
We are now seeing them again, starting last month. A WebmasterWorld thread said it is coming from search.live more than MSN bots.
Microsoft’s Jason chimed in the other day suggesting Betsy Aoki at Microsoft via this form. But soon after, Brett Yount from Live Search’s Webmaster Center came in as MSNDude and said:
I would like to apologize for the inconvenience this is causing. We are working to correct this issue ASAP.
Hopefully it will get resolved soon and forever.
A subsequent post on WebMasterWorld from “MSNDude” (Brett Yount) on April 23 updates the status of the fix:
Thank you for your patience. Our team is continuing the investigation. We have made some changes. Please let me know if you notice any changes (positive or negative) over the next few days.
If you’ve been seeing “weird referrer data” on your site, follow the procedures outlined in the Live Search Webmaster blog post to report them.