Disallowing the MSNBOT

By Deane Barker on June 24, 2003

Boycott Microsoft Search!: I guess I don’t see the point.

“Microsoft is building a Web search engine, and they intend for it to become the industry standard. Given Microsoft’s track record during the browser wars, there is every reason to believe the company will again use its monopoly power to eliminate competition by building a Web search service into the next version of Windows.”

You’re hanging this on Microsoft’s respect for the robots.txt file. If enough boycott, Microsoft could just stop respecting the file (and provide sufficiently-spinned justification for it) or cloak their spider as an IE version.

What’s next — a lawsuit to force Microsoft to stay out of your site? There are bigger problems in the world.

(Personally, I just hope this means we get an HTTP crawler included in the next version of Microsoft Indexing Service.)



  1. If Microsoft starts ignoring robots.txt files, that’s a pretty clear “f* you” to Internet users. Not the kind of image the company wants to project, and good PR fodder for its opponents. Perhaps even evidence for future antitrust litigation.

    Conversely, a show of solidarity by bloggers also has an effect. And what exactly is the downside?

  2. The downside? That you remove your content from one of the most well-traveled search engines on the Internet.

    I guess I don’t have a huge problem with Microsoft. If they want to develop a search engine, great.

    But, each to his or her own. If you want to boycott MSN Search, more power to you. I respect you standing up for something you believe in.

  3. Macjej, News.com reveals here…


    …some of what you might fear.

    “Nevertheless, Microsoft may use some familiar tactics in the search market, most notably by integrating and distributing the technology throughout its many products and services. The company could, for example, embed connections to related Microsoft search and mapping functions directly into Word documents or Web sites built with Windows development tools.

    The goal is vintage Microsoft: Keep customers within the Windows universe; build demand through popular functions such as search; and bypass the need for services from competitors. This strategy, in theory, will give consumers more incentive to buy Windows software and use Microsoft services, while taking away revenue that Google receives for search results.”

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