Is Microsoft tinkering with Live Search results?

Is Microsoft tinkering with Live Search results?

Summary: Is Microsoft filtering out from its Live Search results those it considers "undesirable" for the company? That's one one tipster has suggested with some interesting proof, involving a blog known as "Shipping Seven."

TOPICS: Microsoft, Browser

Is Microsoft filtering out from its Live Search results those it considers "undesirable" for the company?

That's what one of my tipsters has suggested with some interesting evidence, involving a blog known as "Shipping Seven."

Shipping Seven is penned anonymously by someone who has said s/he is part of the Windows 7 team at Microsoft. As one might assume, given Microsoft management's  decision to be less transparent about its future plans, Microsoft is not too fond of the Shipping Seven blog. Company officials have declined to comment in any way on the blog, as well as on Windows 7, the version of Windows expected in 2009 or 2010.

Is Microsoft tinkering with Live Search results?Try this. Go to Live Search ( and type in "'Shipping Seven' blog." The results? Lots of blogs and news sites talking about the Shipping Seven blog. But no link to the Shipping Seven blog itself (at least not in the first several pages of results I examined).

Now try the same query in Google search. The direct link to the Shipping Seven blog is the fourth link. On Yahoo Search , the same search yields as result No. 1 the actual Shipping Seven blog link.

Coincidence? Crack down? Microsoft's statement, delivered via a company spokesman:

"Results in Live Search are based solely on our algorithms and the frequency in which the engine crawls a particular site, we don't editorialize the organic results of search queries."

Seems like somebody needs to tweak an algorithm over on the Live Search team....

Topics: Microsoft, Browser


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Just goes to show you why no one uses Live Search

    Rather than some effort to hide the log, this is just a great example of how far MS needs to go to be considered a credable seach engine.
    • Current (global) Search Engine Rankings

      77.04% - Google
      12.46% - Yahoo
      5.9% - Combined MSN and Microsoft Live Search
      2.12 - AOL
      1.38 - Ask
      0.24 - other

      Source: [url=]Search Engine Market Share for December, 2007 [/url]
      • Google should prepare themselves for monopoly status and start implementing

        procedures right now, assuming that the more strict antitrust laws apply to them. But, it is nothing short of amazing what Google has done against a competitor that had years head start, and billions to invest.
        • Ummmm....monopolies aren't illegal.

          Monopolies aren't illegal, anti-competitive behavior is.

          There's a BIG difference between the two.
          • BUT, monopolis MUST abide by another set of rules. I suggest that Google

            prepare to abide by the rules for monopolies, just to avoid any problems.
        • Yes, the evil G$$gle...

          monopoly must be stopped at all costs. They have eroded all of our privacy rights for the almighty dollar. They have sold all of us out to advertisers and spammers who will stop at nothing to invade our lives and infect our hard drives with malware.

          The evil is G$$gle, we must UNITE to stop the beast master Sergey and the equally despicable Larry from taking over the world.
          • Your words, not mine. I think that Google is a great competitor that has

            forced a lot of innovation and competition. Yes, we WILL be holding their feet to the fire on privacy issues and watching them.
          • Who are "WE"?

            I'm curious as to who "WE" are that will hold Google to any fire and how "WE" are supposed to do that?

            Google has millions of desktops indexed and added to one of many databases in their possession. Add to this their ability to buy and sell databases with little to no government or consumer oversight, and the risks multiply.

            Additionally, Google has archived tons of old web content and outdated information. This allows them to compile dossiers on people's past activities which may no longer accurately portray their current status or interests. Companies like Google who gather data and sell it are used regularly by governments world wide to avoid needing to comply with certain aspects of existing privacy law in the USA and in Europe.

            In short, governments world wide publicly cry against big corporations like Google, but secretly, they love them because the governments get to circumvent certain regulations by buying data versus collecting it directly.

            Yeah, it's a little bit "Conspiracy Theory", I admit, but it is true. How can you call the government in to fix a problem which benefits the government?

            Good luck with that.
          • If I were a drug dealer I might be worried. The "we" is individuals,

            journalists, the government, etc. Google will be watched. But, Google is a great company that respects privacy. You might not have noticed that they were the only ones that fought the government on handing over search results. MS and Yahoo, just handed information over to the government, no questions asked.
          • What DB negelects to mention is the reason google

            chose not to hand over statistics to the government on child pornography searchs: Google [b]does not[b/] want anyone to know how much money they make in ad revenue from these sites. DonnieBoy never mentions what Google'$ EULA says about information collect thru the use of their programs.

            They do give out info when it is in their best interest, though.




            But the fact that they have/are giving information to various other governments would lead one to believe that in the end they may have given the US government the info they requested, just not publicly, in order to avoid any further stain to their reputation.
      • XiTi Monitor's search engine barometer

        (, which studied some 87892 websites worldwide during the period 1-31 December 2007 gives rather different figures for the respective market shares of [b]Google[/b] (90.83 %) and [b]Yahoo[/b] (2.92 %). [b]Live Search[/b] ranks third, at 2.53 %. [b]Orange[/b] is forth at 1.57 % ; no other search engine attained a market share of one per cent or more. Note that this study was carried out on francophone websites, which probably explains the discrepancy between the results cited above and those provided by B.O.F.H., which latter I assume were based on a study of anglophone websites....

    • 10% of "nobody" uses Live Search

      And as if Google doesn't take a few links off their results...
  • Nothing is beneath Microsoft.

    They care about one thing - maximizing their stock value - at whatever cost.

    For anyone to think MS is anything but a corporate entity that values anything but its own future they are naive. Like it or not, this how corporations function. As with any corporation, anything they do has to be looked at in that light.
    • Sure there is something beneath Microsoft....the competition. ha ha <nt>

    • Sorry but you're way off

      There is nothing wrong with a company, corporation, partnership or sole proprietor trying to maximize profits though legitimate competitive activities. The problem Microsoft has is their secondary products can't compete on their own so Microsoft uses anti-competitive actions to eliminate the competition thus allowing an inferior product to continue to make money when it should be either improved or dropped as a product.
      • No, he's about right

        His point was that MS has little or no reason to promote the interests of their customers (where else are they going to go?) and I think he's right. Likewise I don't think that MS' executives care whether or not they are engaged in "legitimate" competition. At the end of the day, all that matters is how much their stock is worth.

        Thus when dealing with MS, people have to look after their own interests and not rely on statements by MS executives which are absolutely guaranteed to be self-serving.
        John L. Ries
    • You underestimate the bottom

      There will be many under Microsoft when the
      bottom falls out............ all the suckers
      who fell for Microsoft's bait.
      Ole Man
  • But on the brighter side...

    Your blog at least made it to page 2 of the Live search results. ;-)
  • You have never used Google? Talk about filtering

    There are so many search strings that Google manipulates it's unfathomable this would even be mentioned. <br>
    And with Google or any search engine, sites with links, for some reason, often rank higher. I've gone through pages before finding the "official" site i was looking for numerous times. This is so common. <br>
    Additionally, i only use LIVE for microsoft related troubleshooting due to Google's filtering that takes many search terms i've used for years, and loads the pages up with ALTERNATIVES to the product i'm troubleshooting, rather than the links to troubleshooting sites it used to bring up. <br>
    I've gone as far as reporting this and have noticed it change a bit now. I'm assuming a lot of people complained. <br>
    However, if it's something someone else has done against Microsoft, it's apparently just and not blogged about. <br>
    Finally, Google hits are for sale. So maybe it's the same with LIVE NOw?
    • Message has been deleted.