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Boycott MSN

Microsoft is now crawling the web for its new MSN search service, the one that is going to try to put Google out of business. (via Jeremy Zawodny's blog).

Ordinarily, I'm all for diversity in search engines. But Microsoft is a special case - the company is a monopolist, and it likes to extend its reach. With forty billion dollars in the bank, it can afford to bide its time and undercut any competitor, until it's the only game left in town.

Luckily there is one simple thing we bloggers can do to show our support for independents like Google, Technorati, and the various homebrew search engines that have been popping up lately. All it takes is a file called robots.txt in your root-level directory, containing these two lines:

User-agent: MSNBOT
Disallow: /

This will tell the MSN crawler it is not allowed to index your site. If enough bloggers hide themselves from the bot, the quality of MSN searches will suffer. It's a simple form of civil disobedience and a way to voice your support for companies like Google. So join the MSN boycott today!

If you want to set up your robots.txt file but don't know how, send me email and I will be glad to help.


Oh, and it's my birthday. I'm 28 years old. The quickening march to decrepitude, senility and ultimate oblivion takes another step forward. Already my mind and body are past their peak, and soon youth will be just a distant memory, until even that is forgotten.

On the other hand, the better half has baked a chocolate cake so drenched in alcohol that it is dangerous to eat it in a confined space. And tonight we feast on sushi.

So on balance, positive. Happy birthday to me!

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