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There are plenty of bots out there and, as a result, some conventions have arisen. Well-behaved bots identify themselves with a unique user-agent. They also follow the robots.txt conventions, which allow webmasters to control how their sites are crawled.
Here at Live Search, our crawlers are identified by the user-agent ‘MSNBot’. This may seem a little non-intuitive, but many webmasters depend on this, and so we chosen not to change it. In order to make things a little more transparent, we also identify our different types of crawlers. The complete list is as follows:
MSNBot Main web crawler (www.live.com)
MSNBot-Media Images & all other media (images.live.com)
MSNBot-NewsBlogs News and blogs (search.live.com/news)
MSNBot-Products Products & shopping (products.live.com)
MSNBot-Academic Academic search (academic.live.com)
But what about crawlers that aren’t so well-behaved? After all, anyone could call themselves ‘MSNBot’, and proceed to be as rude and aggressive as they like. Fortunately, there is a way you can catch these impersonators. Here is how it works:
By verifying the crawler’s identity, you can catch masquerading crawlers. When you do catch one, you can simply return an HTTP Error, thus blocking them from seeing your content.
We are constantly looking for your feedback to help improve our engine – please send it our way using this link.
Brent Hands, Program Manager, Live Search
Wow. Thanks MS! Google makes a big deal about their google bot being so big and great that they cannot release the IP address and not to worry about fake bots using the googlebot name.. You guys on the otherhand have given out the IP address and encourage people to do a reverse DNS on it.. Looks like google is dropping the ball again!
Could you give a more indept explanation to identifying the bot with Reverse and Forward DNS Lookup?
Also, I don't want my site images to show up in the listings, can I DisAllow MSNBot-Media in robots.txt
Will it ensure that the rest of my site i.e. content will still be crawled?
@ Explorer5 Actually MS is following Google's lead on this one. See http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2006/09/how-to-verify-googlebot.html
Nice work Brent, this is useful stuff, only a couple more engines to follow.
this sounds great, yahoo should do the same... hehe
What about other Google or MSN bot products including newly bought sites ?
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