Bing and DuckDuckGo removed my business web site

June 16 2022 by Jeff Johnson

Yesterday I was searching with DuckDuckGo and noticed to my dismay that my business web site was missing entirely from the search results! (My personal web site is still in DuckDuckGo, however.)

DuckDuckGo No results found for StopTheMadness

Many people don't realize that DuckDuckGo sources its search results from Microsoft Bing. I learned this when I was looking into advertising on DuckDuckGo, and I found that they also outsource their advertising to Microsoft. It turns out that my business web site was removed from Bing, which explains why it's missing from DuckDuckGo.

Microsoft Bing Some results have been removed

According to the link in the results, "Bing limits removal of search results to a narrow set of circumstances and conditions to avoid restricting Bing users’ access to relevant information." Yet none of these circumstances would seem to apply to my web site, so it's a mystery. Shortly after I discovered the removal, I created a Bing Webmaster Tools account and added a Bing authentication XML file to my site. I also submitted the site URL for reindexing by Bing. Unfortunately, this has not restored my site in the search results. There are no Copyright Removal Notices for my site listed in the Bing Webmaster Tools.

According to my web site logs, the last day there were hits from was June 12. But nothing June 13 through June 15. Historically, DuckDuckGo has been the second most linked search engine to my business site behind Google. My site also gets some hits from Bing. Thus, if this situation continues, it's likely to hurt my business. I can see in the logs that the bingbot has continued to crawl my site for the past week, and it even accessed the BingSiteAuth.xml file yesterday, so the problem doesn't appear to be a failure to index the site. Rather, the problem is that Bing is specifically censoring my site from the search results, for unknown reasons.

A few other people I know, including Jesse Squires, have also seen their web sites mysteriously removed from Bing and DuckDuckGo. Jesse's site is still missing! Jesse's blog post links to a blog post by Chase Watts, Affiliate Manager at GoDaddy, who explains an exploit in Bing that allows website owners to deindex competitors, so it's possible that this is what happened to me. But who knows? Only Microsoft knows, and they're not telling. I call on Microsoft to immediately restore my site and Jesse's site to Bing, and to explain why they were removed.

Jeff Johnson (My apps, PayPal.Me)