I just got to have a conversation with Danny Sullivan, a search engine guru, when he tweeted that Google still shows Wikileaks.org as the top result when you search for "wikileaks" whereas Bing displays "wikileaks.ch" one of the new website for Wikileaks.
The moment I saw that tweet, I knew something was fishy. In the conversation that followed I tried to do some research and somehow everything about Bing right now smells scam to me. Here are some pointers:
- First of all, organically it is possible to replace an established domain with another when you do a 301 redirect, however, this takes time and 24 hours is a really unrealistic time right now to replace a top level domain listing. Nevertheless, Bing displayed Wikileaks.ch even when Wikileaks.org was down and there were no permanent redirects.
- Secondly, for a domain to come up in search results it needs enormous amounts of backlinks which wikileaks.ch does not have yet. Of course that could have been offset with condition #1 above, but that never happened.
- Thirdly, Bing still displays wikileaks.org results in their results which is second to the .ch domain, however their site search results show that .ch domain has a replacement for that listing.
- Fourthly, No other organic search engines I tried including Google displays the wikileaks.ch as the top result.
So all in all, all Microsoft search related properties went ahead and replaced Wikileaks.org domain with Wikileaks.ch non-organically in a non-sponsored listing. This is against the ethical standards of search engines and also goes on to show than Microsoft can change their listings to display a domain of their choice "organically" without intimating users.
I have based my research on several things including the fact that Bing itself only indexes two pages of Wikileaks.ch as seen in the screenshot among other things.
If this is not a farce what is it? Should we trust a search engine which displays a result on top with just two pages in its index? Is Bing trying to fool us about it’s sponsored listings being a organic listing? Well, I hope people behind Bing provide you and me with answers on this.
You should know that this is neither politically or otherwise motivated, this is based on pure judgment of my knowledge about how search engines work and show results.