As part of my efforts to promote my business I do regular searches on google, yahoo, and msn, just to see where my site ranks, compared to my competition.
There is nothing wrong with doing some research (or so I thought).
But in the last 3 or 4 months, I’ve noticed my msn searches always return with a page that starts with:
We are seeing an increased volume of traffic by some malware software …
The page then goes on to mention phpBB flaws.
I figured: ah, microsoft are struggling with this vulnerability, so they have gone the heavy-handed approach, and have been blocking LOTS of searches. I believe they are only harming themselves by forcing people to use other search engines… not an intelligent way to run a search engine.
Well, after many months, I’m starting to wonder whats going on?
I also noticed that if I do a search from a customers PC, I get valid search findings… so why don’t I get any results from home?
I start to suspect that maybe my IP address is blocked for some reason. So I start looking at anonymous proxies, so I can bypass any block I might have.
In the process, I find an excellent site called Proxify. It allows me to surf the internet anonymously. If you want to see if it actually works, just use it to load up ipchicken.com, and you’ll see a different IP address from what you would normally get from your browser.
So, I can now do MSN searches again (via proxify), but it doesn’t explain why I’ve been banned.
I don’t run any php sites (or any other server applications that I know of) from my local computers.
It has been mentioned, in some forums, that msn are blocking anyone who does ‘excessive’ searches.
But that still doesn’t make sense, as I’m sure that a site like proxify would be much more likely to qualify as performing ‘excessive’ searches, compared to all the manual searches that I am capable of doing (yet proxify is not banned).
For the moment, this will remain a mystery, and maybe one day, MS will un-ban my IP address.
But then, should I really care?
Just looking at my website stats for September, I see google accounted for 348 page hits, yahoo: 45, msn: 32. Yahoo and msn seem to be a very distant 2nd and 3rd (even though my site ranks higher in yahoo and msn).
Since I’m the only person affected, its just a mild annoyance.
Has anyone else had this problem?
Update: shortly after this post, my msn searches started working normally… what a coincidence!