Mid-August I reported about Weird Referrals From Microsoft's Live Search. These referrals typically came from Microsoft's IP blocks but also contained weird referral strings that included adult keywords, pharmaceutical keywords, and other spam like keyword phrases.
Last night, the official Microsoft Live Search representative, msndude, responded that these are official Microsoft tests. But the zinger is that if you block these tests, which people are doing because it is skewing their log files, you may be delisted from Microsoft's Live Search and MSN search.
Here is a quote from the thread:
First, we appreciate the concerns and issues that have been raised and apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused.
Second, we want to explain what this is all about. The traffic you are seeing is part of a quality check we run on selected pages. While we work on addressing your concerns, we would request that you do not actively block the IP addresses used by this quality check; blocking these IP addresses could prevent your site from being included in the Live Search index.
Please keep the feedback and thoughts coming as we will use this to help improve this process and make sure that it impacts your sites as little as possible.
thanks - msndude (msd)
Long time WebmasterWorld member, incrediBILL, laughs that response off saying:
I understand your need for quality checking but trying to bypass site security just to check for cloaking is a bit much. Besides, it came from Microsoft IPs and was easily detectable (we all caught it) means it can also be easily cloaked so if you think you're really doing quality control you're just fooling yourself.
FWIW, my bot blocker quarantined that IP range as a roque bot a long time ago because your server kept asking for pages and couldn't answer the captcha.
I am a bit puzzled by this test. I so would love a comment from Matt Cutts on this, I know that this is over stepping your area - but as a webmaster, I would love a response from Matt Cutts the webmaster.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.