10.12.15

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Microsoft Still Rigging and Gaming Statistics by Taking Over or Registering Dead/Inactive/Parked Domains by the Millions

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Servers at 2:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It’s part of a continuing behavior pattern by Microsoft that I think it’s fair to call “dirty fighting.” GoDaddy was using Apache (I assume on Linux) because it was a great technical solution. They didn’t switch to IIS on Windows Server 2003 for any technical reason. The switch was accompanied by a press release by GoDaddy, containing Microsoft promotional language. Now, I’ve changed many servers from one thing to another, but I’ve never made a press release about it. GoDaddy wouldn’t be doing that unless Microsoft had offered them something valuable in return. There has been talk in the domain business that Microsoft has been offering the large domain registries a wad of cash to switch their parked sites. There is no other reason to do this than to influence the Netcraft figures.”

Bruce Perens

Summary: Microsoft continues to game Netcraft’s figures and graphs by amassing effectively dead domains, making itself (and IIS/Windows) look a lot bigger when it fact Microsoft only perishes on the Web, having long ago lost the game to GNU/Linux with Free/libre software on top of it (notably a L.A.M.P. stack)

Microsoft, being an opponent of facts and fair competition, continues to distort information on Netcraft, having done so for years [1, 2, 3, 4]. The principal dirty trick usually relies on back room deals with hosts/hosters and registrars, based on some speculations that make a lot of sense (see the above for instance). Literally millions of these newly-registered parked domains can be hosted by just a few desktops in one of Microsoft’s offices. A lot of these domains are scarcely known, so they won’t get a single hit in a whole day. A single desktop alone can manage a whole lot of them. Not even a dedicated server with a lot of RAM should be necessary. In fact, it is so cheap to do so — along with the registration costs (done wholesale) — that Microsoft can afford the equivalent of slush funds to basically register or to subsidise registration of many of these domains (e.g. at Microsoft’s so-called ‘cloud’ or services, e.g. Outlook) and once it successfully does this it can mislead journalists (to receive positive coverage) and then bamboozle some of the less technical managers in various companies so that they choose based on the false impression that Windows is dominant. Microsoft is eventually causing them to host on a Microsoft platform/stack, based on false information. What a marketing swindle.

“Microsoft is eventually causing them to host on a Microsoft platform/stack, based on false information.”There are many more examples (including Netcraft) in our Wiki. Microsoft just loves to rig statistics and it does a lot of this nowadays with Vista 10, as we pointed out earlier this month.

To Netcraft’s credit, it seems to be actively — pun intended — trying to make it harder for rich actors (like Microsoft) that famously game their system, as Linspire once did to DistroWatch. “Microsoft made by far the largest gain in hostnames this month,” it wrote, “with an additional 33.6 million sites bringing its total up to 265 million. Combined with a 15.9 million loss in Apache-powered sites, the difference between Microsoft’s and Apache’s market shares has now halved: Microsoft’s share went up by 3.22 percentage points to 29.68%, while Apache’s fell by 2.55 to 34.96%, reducing Apache’s lead to just over five percentage points.”

But the number of hostnames is misleading and for just a few millions of dollars one can acquire millions of hostnames. When it comes to actual hosting, the story is very different. Netcraft wrote: “Amongst the world’s top million websites, nginx has continued to increase its market share and now powers more than twice as many sites as Microsoft.” Powering a site and just sitting there behind a domain is a different story altogether. Watch what happens (in the charts) when it comes to active domains.

“Notice developer active sites vs “all” sites,” wrote iophk to us, and “also notice that the metrics have changed.” Microsoft will need to change the method by which it cheats this system. Time for a Microsoft alliance with Volkswagen?

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