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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  1. identicon
    Pixelation, 25 May 2012 @ 6:05am


    I think this is Microsoft's way of giving you permission to download it as long as you do it through Bing.

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