Is Microsoft Screening Its Search Results?

Includes: GOOG, MSFT, YHOO
by: Sherry Gil

I think I might have stumbled onto one reason why Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) hit a wall with AdSense - the same reason why the proposed acquisition of Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) should be opposed.

I publish a half a dozen websites which all have something in common - they are non-commercial and family friendly, and all carry Google search and AdSense. These websites used to be indexed and show up in search results at MSN, Google, and Yahoo.

About three months ago, I noticed that these websites completely disappeared on MSN search but are still on Yahoo and Google. Nothing has changed on these sites that would make MSN remove it from its index.

In trying to understand what happened, I used MSN to search for information using common keywords and examined the results. One thing immediately caught my attention - none of the results returned by MSN involved websites carrying Google search and AdSense. There were a few websites listed that carry the ads (but without the Google search box) that were listed farther below in the search results.

Is MSN blocking, or delisting from its index, websites that carry Google AdSense and the Google search box?

If MSN and Yahoo combine, and the combined internet company would have the majority of the internet's traffic, what would prevent MSFT from stifling the competition by blocking from the new MSN-Yahoo search engine those websites carrying Google search and AdSense?

As a web publisher, I'm concerned that the successful acquisition of Yahoo by Microsoft will force me to drop Google search and AdSense if my sites were to show up in a new MSN-Yahoo search engine.

I'm bringing this matter up because I'm not sure if this situation is unique to me, or if there is a pattern out there. Perhaps this is ongoing on a larger scale? This could be nothing, or this could be the tip of an iceberg.

Disclosure: none