Odd That Microsoft Demands Google Take Down Links That Remain In Bing

from the how-about-that... dept

We just wrote about Google’s very cool, new copyright transparency tool, which lets you dig into the details of all the search takedowns that Google gets. As people start to play around with the site, some interesting things are coming to light. Lots of people noticed that the number one copyright holder requesting takedowns from Google search was… Microsoft. While some have suggested this is an attempt by a competitor to worsen Google’s search rankings, that’s difficult to believe for a variety of reasons. If Microsoft were issuing bogus takedowns, that would certainly come to light pretty quickly.

However, what is interesting is that you can use the new system to play around and notice that Microsoft doesn’t always seem to take down from its search engine, Bing, the same links that it orders Google to takedown. As we noted in our original post, there’s been plenty of talk suggesting that Google isn’t fast enough in taking down things upon DMCA request, but the company claims that they average less than 11 hours — and considering that they’re processing over 1 million takedowns per month (and are checking them by hand), that’s pretty impressive. How long does it take Microsoft to take content down?

Well, you would think that if Microsoft is sending a takedown notice to Google to remove a site from its search engine, that it’s almost certainly letting Bing know to remove it too, right? Why wouldn’t it. But if you do some digging, you can find sites that Microsoft has ordered taken down from Google, but which are still available via Bing. Here’s just one example. If you look through Google’s transparency report, there’s a specific search takedown request that was filed on May 11, so not too long ago. You can see the full ChillingEffects notice here as well. The takedown was sent, on behalf of Microsoft, by a company called Marketly, who appears to send a large number of takedowns, according to the Google data. In this case, Marketly had sent a takedown to Google demanding the removal of a bunch of URLs from its index concerning a variety of XBox 360 games, including DiRT 2. The 20th URL listed goes to a page on TorrentRoom.

Now, if you take that URL and put it into Google and Bing, you get two very different responses. First, there’s Google:

Okay. As per the takedown, clearly Google has removed that URL from its index. Now how about Microsoft:
Whoops! There it is. Now, it seems pretty reasonable to assume that if Marketly is sending a takedown to Google to get such a link taken out of its search engine, on behalf of Microsoft, that it quite likely is issuing the same kind of takedown to Microsoft’s Bing (hell, you’d perhaps think that Microsoft could just pull the link without a takedown). And yet… the site, which Microsoft supposedly wants to disappear, is gone from Google, but found easily on Bing.

This would suggest that, either Marketly and Microsoft decide to leave up certain infringing content on Microsoft’s own search engine while taking it down from Google… or that Microsoft certainly isn’t that fast at doing removals. And yet, why don’t we hear the people who always bitch about Google complaining about Microsoft?

Of course, the data is also revealing some other interesting “issues” with Microsoft’s takedowns. Kurt Opsahl, for example, noticed that Microsoft sent Google a takedown, you can view here, which claims that previous takedown notices, also from Microsoft, are in fact, infringing. This one was also sent by “Marketly” and suggests that they don’t do much research to make sure the sites are legitimately infringing before issuing takedowns.

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Companies: google, marketly, microsoft

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Comments on “Odd That Microsoft Demands Google Take Down Links That Remain In Bing”

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82 Comments
That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

This is hysterical.
They always are screaming how Google needs to do more, spend more, more more more for them… but one of the largest takedown submitters seems to have forgotten they have their own search engine.
Of course it can’t be because they are being slow, so that people will migrate to Bing to find things that were Google wiped. That would be so hypocritical and highlight that the process is a complete and total joke.

blaperblaop says:

Re: Re:

The links Microfost wants google to remove are direct links to pirated Microsoft software. If Microsoft wants to leave those links in Bing, that’s their business. I would imagine it’s to track the people who go to those sites to pirate their software. They would haev to pay google to get this information.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Without knowing your level of technology understanding I can’t begin to know if you are just being funny with your “track how?” statement. But under the assumption that you don’t have much knowledge of the HOW of IT’s ability to track you on the internet, let me just say that tracking you is extremely easy to do.
The hard part would be knowing the actual person behind the keyboard, but there is some pretty interesting tech out there and even better stuff on the horizon (using analysis methods) that will with a high degree of certainty allow a company or investigator to fairly accurately tell who is using a computer. Sort of like criminal profiling techniques. Couple that with the fact that your IP can be tracked (even if you try to mask it through a proxy) and one of these days, it will be nothing for companies like Google to determine with relative ease who you are, where you are and where you’ve been on the internet.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: tracking

Although they’ve never gone after end users before, who knows what the future holds.

Actually… anytime I go to pirate Microsoft software from now on, I’m now going to do both Bing and Google searches. If I can find something that Google has removed due to a complaint by Microsoft, and that same result is still available in Bing, I’ll document it and download it.

If Microsoft decides to sue me, I’ll point this out. Since it appears that Microsoft’s search engine is directing people to downloads of Microsoft’s product, it is a reasonable assumption that Microsoft is supporting the distribution of their software via that means.

Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Google indexes somewhere in the range of 50 billion websites. The bandwidth, storage, and computational resources to do that is massive (to understate it). I’d like you to do the same from your computer.”

According to what I read, WebFerret is a search robot which you can run from your computer. But maybe it still gets all its results from search engines. I don’t know the particulars.

If ever there’s going to be decentralized web search functionality, now’s the time for willing parties to take a shot at it. We can ill-afford to depend on one or two sites to filter through all content.

BTW, thanks guys for posting those alternative search engines.

artp (profile) says:

Don't look at the man behind the curtain!

I’m sure that they don’t want you peeking at the reports on chillingeffects that tell you exactly what they are trying to do.

Not only is it illegal to look at stuff that they broadcast over the public airwaves, and illegal to point to where you can find it, it is now illegal to know anything about the previous two [CENSORED].

I know it’s true. I read it in the DMCA.

Overcast (profile) says:

If Microsoft decides to sue me, I’ll point this out. Since it appears that Microsoft’s search engine is directing people to downloads of Microsoft’s product, it is a reasonable assumption that Microsoft is supporting the distribution of their software via that means.

That’s a good point actually… So since an ‘official’ Microsoft site is in fact pointing us there…

Overcast (profile) says:

Err, MS don’t have to notify Bing, do they? The fact that Bing simply scrapes Google to get their search results means that, shortly after it disappears from Google, it will also disappear from Bing, no?

Yes, another interesting thought – which would possibly be a violation of Google’s terms of use. Assuming they are scraping it – they are indeed using it then.

This might make for a very interesting experiment with these take downs – I wonder if it will still be there in a couple days… on bing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Ive been using bing more often, as i cant seem to find stuff on google as easy as i seem to remmeber, could be my imagination, could be new search algorithm, or it could be the site take downs, which i doubt, as im not looking for infringing material

Ill tell you one thing, when bing starts to take down the same links that google are forced to take down, and i start noticing the same “empty internet effect” im noticing on google, over these recent times, gues what, i wont be using bing anymore……..

Dr. Evil says:

@That Anonymous Coward sed “but one of the largest takedown submitters seems to have forgotten they have their own search engine”

what? maybe they are like everyone else who didn’t know it existed. quick research… google ‘largest takedown submitters google’ response ‘microsoft’ google ‘microsoft search engine’ response ‘bing’ … whats this ‘bing’ thing? To those around me .. no response… never heard of it, never used it. great links to software, you need to try it! can I get an app for that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

His will be done

Every resource should be diverted untill this “piracy” *spits* is sorted out, then we can concentrate on the smaller, less important things, like murder, no wait, jay walking, yeah jay walking, my bad, jay walking is almost as distructive as murder…..no wait i mean piracy……..no wait, no, yeah i mean piracy…..is that what i mean????

And the rrrrrealy small matters such as government corruption, well, theres no harm done, its not hurting anyone in a physical sense……….not unlike piracy

Anonymous Coward says:

By overwhelming Google with take down requests MS is able control its copyrights and knowledge base. MS wants you to only be able to access MS info and product through MS channels. While this tactic in not explicitly illegal it does stink of censorship, collusion, monopoly, and other practices that stifle innovation, fair use, and free markets.

jackn says:

Its true

I have submitted request to both google and Bing. Bing is nowhere. They are stuck in the ms philosophy, so nothing gets done and they stay stuck in loser land.

I dont think ms want to take results from bing cause the don’t have many results to begin with.

Anyway, if you are looking for pirated software, BING is the way to go. Esp if you want android pirated software. Bing seems to high light that because they don’t want to show the official google play properties.

Anyway (again), ms is will be gone within a few years.

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