JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Kogan backs down on Microsoft censorship claim

Date

James Manning and Ben Grubb

A screenshot of a Bing search for Kogan.

A screenshot of a Bing search for Kogan.

The CEO of online electronics retailer Kogan has backed away from claims that Bing and Yahoo! deliberately removed his website from their search engines as punishment for criticising Internet Explorer 7.

Kogan announced last month that it would tax people who used IE7 to make a purchase on their website in a bid to get them to upgrade their browsers.

The company then revealed last night that their website had stopped appearing in organic search results on the Microsoft-owned search engines Bing and Yahoo!

A screenshot of Kogan's website announcing the "Internet Explorer 7 Tax".

A screenshot of Kogan's website announcing the "Internet Explorer 7 Tax".

"Two days after the IE 7 tax is when we stopped getting traffic at all from Bing and Yahoo!," said CEO Ruslan Kogan in an interview with Fairfax, the publisher of this article.

Indeed, a Bing or Yahoo! search returns listings for Kogan's Facebook and Twitter pages, but no link to the official website, kogan.com.

Initially there were accusations of censorship and selectiveness. "This sort of censorship (or glitch) is quite strange given Kogan were not attacking Microsoft," said Marija Bijelic from Click PR, which represents Kogan.

A screenshot of a Google search for Kogan.

A screenshot of a Google search for Kogan.

"Do you think this is just a glitch from Microsoft, or is there something more at play here?" added Kogan on a blog post on his website. "We hope Microsoft were not too offended by what we did with the IE7 tax and this is just a temporary glitch."

But in somewhat of a backflip, he has today stopped short of accusing the tech giant of tampering with its search engine results, even defending them.

"I'm sure it's a bug or something from their end," he said. "I can't see a massive professional company like Microsoft choosing to censor search results because obviously it'd affect how people view their search engine."

"I'm sure it's a bug or something from their end" ... Ruslan Kogan.

"I'm sure it's a bug or something from their end" ... Ruslan Kogan. Photo: Josh Robenstone

Microsoft was singing a similar tune. "We do not manually alter search results," said the company in a statement made to Fairfax. "The ranking of our results is done in [an] automated manner through our algorithm which can sometimes lead to unexpected results."

"As long as retailers follow Microsoft adCenter terms and conditions, then their results will go through the same automated manner," said the company.

Comment was sought from Microsoft as to whether it believed Kogan breached its search engine guidelines. A reply had not been received at the time this article was initially published.

Kogan claimed that Microsoft also failed to reply to queries about his website's absence from their search listings.

"We did contact Microsoft eight days ago and we even showed them a graph showing the drop off of the traffic from our site, and we have had not had a response."

The tax

Kogan announced in June that it would be imposing a 6.8 per cent tax on users who used IE7 to purchase their products.

"It costs the internet community a lot of money to develop for antiquated browsers," said Kogan. "Avoid the tax, use a better browser"

Kogan claimed that the "extremely old browser" was costing the internet economy millions of dollars and web developers hours of time.

"By taking these measures, we are doing our bit," said Kogan.

28 comments

  • You show them Mr Kogan, these giants are now trying to dictate your business strategy and mudding your waters by playing dirty tricks. If you have proof then I ‘d go all the way…!

    Commenter
    Tony
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    July 10, 2012, 4:46PM
    • Yea, I think Mr Kogan is a fool, taxing people that use older browsers. Most of his clientel are people who cannot afford Samsung Smart TV's. I wonder who his web programmers are if they cant code in IE 7?

      Maybe time to update to something new?

      I run my site www.mobliegeeks.com.au with no problems in all browers including Opera, Firefox, IE and Chrome.

      I dunno what his problem is, or maybe this a cheap marketing ploy.....?

      Commenter
      Mobile Geeks
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      July 11, 2012, 12:17AM
  • It just goes to show how some companies, such as Microsoft, react but also the motive behind the response: to show how they can manipulate traffic to sites.
    However that being said, who is he to dictate that he'll tax users for using IE7? Some users, especially older PC users, don't know better and use what comes installed on their PC. So yeah, he is being a bit of a dufus here as well.

    Commenter
    AM
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    July 10, 2012, 5:01PM
    • AM, if users of older PCs don't now how to update their machines, they really shouldn't be allowed to use them on the net. The number of security flaws in an 'original' IE7 install is astronomical. With all the choice out there of browsers, IE7 has definitely had its day.

      Commenter
      Matt
      Date and time
      July 10, 2012, 10:55PM
  • Definately not a glitch. If it was just sort glitch you would eventually find it somewhere in the list. If you bing search for Kogan.com you still don't find it in the results. Bing google.com and google.com is first result. This means only one thing microsoft have added a manual filter, which they can and are times required to do. They do it for certain sites that are found to be less the savoury, or illegal in USA, so not hard to think they could do it for people that piss them off.

    Commenter
    Daniel
    Location
    Australia
    Date and time
    July 10, 2012, 5:11PM
    • I run and maintain few websites (www.hatsfromoz.com.au for example) and I make sure my website works in all browsers. Well, IE7 customers may not get all the bells and whistles, but basic functionality will work.
      This is the basic of web design -- get it to work anywhere, then add to it.

      May be Mr. Kogan needs to find better web designers somewhere in Australia?

      Rudolf

      Commenter
      Rudolf
      Date and time
      July 10, 2012, 5:23PM
      • Maybe Kogan is just an attention seeker who does anything to get his name mentioned in the media..

        Commenter
        HighlyDubious
        Date and time
        July 10, 2012, 8:36PM
      • Mate, any browser that doesn't pass the acid test usually results in more time from a developer to make a site work with the offending browser.

        And Rudolf, FYI, your website fails the W3C validator (with some really errors mind you!) So less time complaining about Mr Kogan and more timing coding me thinks! :)

        Commenter
        James
        Date and time
        July 11, 2012, 1:44AM
    • Looks like a penalty on the entire domain, happens all the time on Bing and Google as well. Most likely the Javascript code used to put up the "IE7 warning" might have been (erroneously) detected as being malicious by Bing (or erroneously blocked the bingbot search spider), and the whole site was whacked. If Kogan's web developers bothered to open a Bing Webmasters Tools account, they can check out any warnings/diagnostics regarding the wielding of the banhammer, maybe even allowed them to receive an advanced warning.

      Commenter
      ddg1234
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      July 10, 2012, 5:27PM
      • Who cares about Bing? It's bloody useless and woeful...If Microsoft didn't force it on an unsuspecting population, then nobody would use it. It's a pity that many people don't know how to change the default search engine in IE. MS should be halled before the FTC for not giving users the ability to easily change the search engine and also omitting Google from the choices....I don't know of one person who actually uses Bing or Yahoo as their seach engine of choice...And I totally agree with Kogan, IE 7 is crap!

        Commenter
        Bing is crap
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        July 10, 2012, 5:32PM

        More comments

        Comments are now closed
        Featured advertisers