Bing Chat Hit by Robot Scrapers: Performance Affected

When even Microsoft isn't immune to scrapers' impact.

April 3, 2023, 08:06 EDT

Bing Chat, Microsoft’s popular search engine, recently experienced a scraping attack on its search results pages. The attack forced Bing to temporarily shut down answers in the search results. As a result, users may have noticed a faster response rate from Bing Chat during that time. The incident highlights the ongoing issue of scrapers affecting the performance of websites and online services.

The Scraping Attack on Bing Chat


Scrapers have been an issue since the inception of webpages on the internet. They copy content from websites for various purposes, often against the site’s terms of service. Unfortunately, even large corporations like Microsoft are not immune to their effects.

CEO Mikhail Parakhin’s Announcement

Mikhail Parakhin, the CEO of Bing at Microsoft, took to Twitter to announce the scraping attack on Bing Chat. He explained that the attack led to the temporary shutdown of search result answers to create extra server capacity. This unexpected outcome made Bing Chat more responsive during the attack.

Mikhail Parakhin’s tweet read: “Argh… Don’t ask. Well, since you did: we had a scraping attack on SERP, had to shut down SERP answers for a while, because of that there was A LOT of extra capacity. Separately, we are also running speed optimization experiments on Creative.

Here are those tweets in context:

The Effects of Scrapers

Scrapers can negatively impact the performance of websites and online services, as seen in Bing Chat’s recent experience. The incident underscores the fact that the problem of scrapers has persisted for over 20 years and affects even major players like Microsoft.

Scrapers often disregard terms of service, making it difficult for websites to protect themselves against such attacks. As a result, site owners and users alike must bear the consequences, including reduced site performance, loss of content, and potential legal issues.

Bing’s Efforts to Improve Performance

Apart from dealing with the scraper attack, Bing is also working on enhancing the performance of its services. The company is “running speed optimization experiments on Creative” mode, aiming to make the search engine faster and more efficient for its users.

Performance Optimization Techniques

Bing’s optimization efforts may include:

  1. Reducing server response time
  2. Implementing better caching strategies
  3. Minimizing HTTP requests
  4. Compressing files and images
  5. Using Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

These strategies can help improve the overall performance and user experience of the search engine.

Looking Forward

While the recent scraping attack on Bing Chat highlights the ongoing challenges posed by scrapers, it also serves as a reminder for website owners to remain vigilant and prioritize security. By investing in improved performance and security measures, companies can mitigate the impact of scrapers on their online services.

In the meantime, users of Bing Chat and other online services should be aware of potential performance issues caused by scraping attacks and adjust their expectations accordingly. As technology advances, the hope is that effective solutions to combat scrapers and protect websites from their negative impacts will emerge. This will ensure a better and more secure online experience for users and businesses alike.

Key Takeaways

  • Bing Chat experienced a scraping attack on its search results pages, which forced the temporary shutdown of search result answers.
  • The attack created extra server capacity, resulting in a faster response rate from Bing Chat during the incident.
  • Bing is also working on speed optimization experiments on Creative mode to improve the search engine’s performance.
  • Scrapers remain a persistent challenge for website owners, impacting performance, content, and legal aspects.
  • Users should be aware of potential performance issues due to scraping attacks and adjust their expectations accordingly.

As Bing and other companies continue to work on improving performance and security measures, the online community can look forward to a more robust and efficient browsing experience. But until then, remaining informed and vigilant is key to navigating the digital world safely and effectively.

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