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Banned Holiday Deal Sites Return To Bing

Holiday deal sites that Bing banned from its search listings just before the busy shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have now been allowed to return. They include a site run by the group that created the entire Cyber Monday concept.

Banned: Not Your Usual Suspects

We reported previously how the sites had gone missing, something Bing described as keeping with long-standing policies against “thin” content but which came out-of-the-blue to some site owners.

The banned sites included CyberMonday.com, which is run by Shop.org, the group that created the entire Cyber Monday concept.

Also banned were BlackFriday2011.com and CyberMonday2011.com, which provided content to Yahoo Deals. Yahoo is one of Bing’s strategic partners. The Yahoo site itself, ironically, wasn’t banned.

Several of these sites had top listings were not deemed to be spam by Google, which has been on a campaign to remove content not deemed to have enough substance to it. Indeed, some of them had top listings with Google.

Now, despite being deemed to thin, several of these sites have returned to Bing. CyberMonday.com is back, as is BlackFriday2011.com. CyberMonday2011.com remains banned.

Algorithm Now Deems Them No Longer Questionable

Why the change? Bing sent this statement:

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are notorious times for spammers, and during this time Bing’s spam classification algorithm picked up this spam pattern and heightened its criteria.

Bing took proactive action to protect our users by removing questionable domains.

In an effort to protect our users some questionable domains may have been demoted or removed that some may consider legitimate sites.

We have since revised our algorithm which has led to some previously blocked sites returning to the index.

Really An Algorithm Change?

A search engine’s algorithm, an automated computer process, is like a recipe that measures many different factors to determine what content should rank well, as well as what to ban (watch our video here about this).

This algorithm change at Bing didn’t seem to weigh many factors. Instead, the change simply seemed to be that Bing banned any site that had the words “black friday” or “cyber monday” in their domain name, rather than an analysis of the content itself, to decide if it was too “thin” to retain.

Bing, however, did reconfirm to us that an algorithm was involved.

Bing Denies Favoring Itself

Several of those dropped have wondered if it was all part of an attempt by Bing simply to drive more traffic to a special section of Bing Shopping that was ranking (and still does) in the first page of listing for searches at Bing for black friday and cyber monday, like this:

Bing denied the move was designed to help itself:

Bing did not replace algorithmic results with its own sites.

Since its inception Bing has offered verticalized content like shopping and travel if it helps address a user’s intent.

These Instant Answers are available for a variety of topics and scenarios, such as shopping, checking stock prices, or stats for athletes.

More Information

For more background on the removals, including how it might help Google with accusations that it has banned shopping sites simply to help itself, see our past articles below:

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