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Microsoft Launches New Era in MS Search

 10:18 pm on Nov 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Continued From: [webmasterworld.com...]

Wow! Lot’s of excitement. Thanks for all of the feedback. We just want to address a few of the topics that came up.

What is the beta? As WebGuerilla has pointed out the beta is an evolution of our Technology Preview. As you can tell we made major enhancements to the user interface and added a bunch of new features. We still have work to do, however, to get [search.msn.com...] to be able to use our new algorithmic search results that are available at [beta.search.msn.com...] .

How does one get into the results? All of our web results are generated algorithmically so you cannot buy your way into the index. We will not try and teach site optimization to you guys – assume you have that covered :) If you want to submit your URL to us you can do that at [beta.search.msn.com...] .

Also regarding relevance, there has been some speculation on some online forums about MSNBot using Google search result pages to build our index. Let us set the record straight – that is simply not true. We respect robots.txt and as a result we will not crawl Google’s search result pages.

With regards to site availability that is something we are continuously working on. Oshoma Momoh, a General Manager in the MSN Search team, posted a blurb about this on the MSN Search blog -- [blogs.msdn.com...] .

Finally some folks have asked why we don’t just turn this on for all users right now? We love the words of encouragement, however, we have a number of bugs that we need to fix and we need to make sure that we can run the service with great performance and deliver high quality results. We will get there.

Please keep the feedback and constructive criticism coming – we appreciate all of it.

- msndude (msd)



 11:25 pm on Nov 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

So how often does this update?


 11:51 pm on Nov 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Don't know if it's been mentioned in the previous 800 or so posts:

Having problems with www.example.com vs. example.com - when both sites are the same. Even though one site links to the other the minor site only is listed.


 12:51 am on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

I haven't read all the comments, so this may have already been mentioned.

In our niche, I see a lot of pages that have a high number of keywords in MSN Beta. They are generally very long pages. I wouldn't call these pages spam, as they are usefull. It was just that they were stuffing as much information on the home page as possible.

The keyword density was not terribly high, it just that their was a large number of these keywords, due to the page length.


 3:29 am on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm not impressed with these SERPs at all. I have an authority site in the field that doesn't show up until page 2 for important keyword phrases. It's #1 on all other search engines for these phrases.

That would be ok if more important websites were showing up on top. That would show that Microsoft search was better than the others.

Unfortunately the sites at the top for my field are not as relevant, some newer and with fewer, less relevant backlinks.

Keep working on it guys - you'll get it right.


 3:43 am on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

For fun or research, try {frsh=1000} after your search term


 5:02 am on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

my main complaint about the new msn search is that it has too many affiliate id links included in its results.


 5:29 am on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>For fun or research, try {frsh=1000} after your search term

Do they mean freshest first? I get 11/12/2004 then on page 3 a few 11/13's?

How about a {spam=-1000} filter? ;)


 7:09 am on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

(How about a {spam=-1000} filter? ;) )

What? How would I make a living then?

I like MSN just the way it is thank you... HAHAHA!

As for google, they need to let up on the spam so my pages can do good again.

Just kidding...


 2:16 pm on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

FINALLY! A seach engine that shows just about all the full-blown keyword-dedicated sites in the top SERPs.

Yes, I am distrustful of M$. And even though the new Y (earlier this year) has clearly beat G$ in natural SERP relevance, I am wary of Y too.

But the most evil of all is the one who claims to be your friend yet lies to your face in order to rob you blind.

This last year, G$ natural SERPs were purposely made useless by G$ so that G$ could profit by forcing sites to use AdWords -- even if they are not about a commerce-keyword topic!

G$ betrayed users thinking they were getting relevance. And they betrayed webmasters who promoted G$ as being relevant. G$ turned coat and robbed everyone. That former friend exploited that friendship to became the worst devil itself.

So, despite my disturst of big brothery M$, only a company of M$'s level could give G$ the absolute thrashing with a splintery two-by-four on its raw flesh that G$ absolutely deserves.

For that reason, combined with excellent SERPs in this new M$ search, I am glad to encourage M$ in this beta.

I have been waiting for a search engine to be valuable to users again with natural SERPs, to actually help the searcher find the sites who are genuinely seeking to offer the information they seek.

G$ got successful by doing that years ago, and they earned the trust of us honest webmasters. Then G$ betrayed both user and webmaster by purposely destroying natural SERPs to generate AdWords revenue. I do not fault capitalism, only G$'s utter deceit and betrayal of those of us who helped G$ get to where it became.

And now this new M$ beta comes out and THERE IT IS -- just about all the sites of various sub-niche information in my non-commerce keyword topic all in the top 20 of natural SERPs! Finally, searchers will be able to glean all the information in our keyword topic, based on whichever sub-niche question they have on the topic.

The new Y had gotten it about half-right, while G$ maintains utter uesless SERPs. But this new M$ beta, well,... it is about time someone got it right! Good stuff so far!

Of course it makes more sense (research-wise) that entire web-sites on a keyword should rank higher than less-dedicated, one-time, one-page articles. And this M$ beta seems to have realized that -- at least, in my keyword. I am not talking about spam, I am talking about sites committed to a sub-niche of a keyword, with many pages of information available for the user on the keyword.

Now, my only concern is that once M$ thrashes G$ with such relevance, combined with M$'s additional benefit of direct browser access to the user (longhorn, et al), M$ could later likely later turn and do what G$ did in destroying the natural SERPs too, in order to make even more money for M$.

I am still optimistic in my hope that companies will learn from the G$ debacle of deceipt and betrayal, and thereby understand that it is best to use natural SERPs honestly, and to find better ways to capitalize the search-space for legitimate capitalism. Since M$ has so many opportunities for capitalism, they could (if they chose) decide to stay honest in natural SERPs too.

But, we all know that M$ does not have a history of doing that, unfortunately. So, yes, I am in "beware mode" with M$ on this new beta too.

One can only hope, of course.

In the end, while I am not happy to see it come from M$, I know that the thrashing that G$ absolutely has to have (if G$ is to ever smarten up again) can only come from a player in the market with the financial capability as M$.

The new M$ beta looks good, at this point.


 3:05 pm on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

You say your searches are not dependent on Google or Yahoo but the results are the same just shifted around a bit.

I see the same problems. Affiliate sites of companies getting high rankings including one which is only a redirect to another company. No content of it's own whatsover.

Why do affilate sites get rankings over major sites like Widget's (in about every city), etc.?

This is just more of the same in my opinion. Rankings should be rated on facts like how long you've been in business, are you with the BBB, do you have secure ordering, and that you actually sell the product not just another affiliate site helping the big money payers get better rankings.

Here's something that I find intesting. If you look at the paid results at this time (Overture), not many of them are included in the first page of results.

Makes you think it's a bit of a consipiracy to maximise your advertising dollars.

There's still a lot of things wrong with the indexes and with this beta I don't see where MSN has taken a stand apart from Google and Yahoo. Just more of the same results...so I don't think you are going to woo many away from their favorite search engines.

Only differene I can see is another PPC bill coming.

Just my two cents hoping that it can help a bit

[edited by: rogerd at 5:31 pm (utc) on Nov. 14, 2004]
[edit reason] No specifics, please. [/edit]


 4:31 pm on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Why do affilate sites get rankings over major sheet music sites - its called the web.

The little guys can take on the big ones and win.

Or thats how it was supposed to have been before G sold us out

Craven de Kere

 5:47 pm on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing big algo improvements already.

1) I have two sites with the same name, one is a .com and the other a .net

The .com is much more popular whilethe .net is the development site. The .com links to the .net

Because the earlier algo relied so heavily on links, and didn't downgrade multiple links from the same domain, the .net was ranking better than the .com

Now it is reversed

2) In addition, I was ranked #1 for a fairly competitive query. With the new algo change the site that ranks the best in all the other search engines is #1 and I am number 2. I think this represents an improvement, as their site should rank above mine at present.

Some observations:

a) Using the sliders seems to kill the ads.
b) This algo doesn't stem and find contenxt as well as Googles, but it looks poised to blow Google's algo out of the water.
c) GoogleGuy suddenly seems more interested in us reverse engineering search engines (of their competitors).


 6:43 pm on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

I called it [webmasterworld.com] :)

Nobody has mentioned this. Anyone think that an official release of their search engine will coincide with a revamped version of lookout?

That would be some competition... Google must be expecting this.


The MSN Toolbar Suite including MSN Desktop Search is due to launch in December


 9:23 pm on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Microsoft`s primary goal is to dominate the search market and generate money as much as possible. It can do everything in order to reach its target. Microsoft is not interested in giving the best relevant results to the end consumer.

Microsoft doesn`t care about small guys and small businesses. Please check this:

"MSN also offers keyword-targeting search results in the "Sponsored Sites" section of the search results page at the top and bottom of the page. These are link placements that are limited to three paid clients per keyword and are available to advertisers with a minimum annual spend of $75,000. Please visit the MSN Advertising section for more information."

The page in question:

After dumping Overture, MSN will display its own PPC results and minimum amount is $75,000 per year. Can you imagine? If you are a small business that can`t afford to have an agreement with MSN on spending at least $75,000 a year, then you can not use MSN. Even Overture doesn`t have a restriction like that.

This is Microsoft, guys. Think twice before congratulating msn dude.


 9:39 pm on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well yes thats true MSn chasing the dollar - I think we are more pleased that at last G has some competition.

Although we congratulate MSN I think its with certain reservations.


 10:45 pm on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Article on how MSN responded to their launch of this beta engine, oddly low key. I was pleased, some what, that they too made teh same observation that MSN seem to have distilled the best of teh engines out there and combined them.


I do hate corporate speak 'delight our current customers' Yuk.


 10:57 pm on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think we are more pleased that at last G has some competition

I don't see how they can compete with Google by releasing an engine that is not even as good as their old one.


 12:00 am on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Rankings should be rated on facts like how long you've been in business, are you with the BBB, do you have secure ordering, and that you actually sell the product not just another affiliate site...

I think SE's have to concern themselves with ranking web-pages,(which is difficult enough) not ranking businesses, products etc.

The general public confuses a #1 rank on g as being some stamp of approval or something.
I see (legitimate)directories playing a larger part in
consumer type searches in the future, directly or indirectly.


 12:58 am on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

While I also think MSN has some work to do, I am anxious for them to go live for it so we can see where we end up. I think it is also great to have another player out there. It helps so your eggs arent all in one basket so to speak.


 2:07 am on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Dodger they havent released it yet its still in trial mode.


 3:24 am on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Overall, I like the results. I'm finding a lot of relevant sites that don't show up in the same searches on other search engines.

I am running into a problem with my own site, however. I have something along the lines of an affiliate program that uses urls of the form [example.com...] for visitors sent by the user with the account name Bubba. Visitors receive a redirect to the corresponding page without the referral variable. Both [example.com...] and [example.com...] show up in the MS Search index, with the affiliate URL being the main URL in the listings and the plain URL being listed as an additional page from the same site.

Oh, and I should also note that this has always been a permanent redirect, so there's no good reason to ever show these URLs in search listings.

[edited by: gmiller at 3:26 am (utc) on Nov. 15, 2004]


 3:24 am on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Dodger they havent released it yet its still in trial mode

I realise that but it isn't as good as the existing engine so it has to get to that stage first then get better again, unless they can do that it's no competition to Google.


 3:43 am on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't see how they can compete with Google by releasing an engine that is not even as good as their old one.

With the results G is trying to pass off these days, it won't take much.


 4:02 am on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Does anyone know when will MSN beta go live? When the actual search will be released?

I suggest that instead of a little red colored MSN Search Beta on the left corner, MSN puts a smaller Search box on a more prominent place and on the toobar and mark it Beta. Otherwise, I don't know how many people will choose to use the beta which is hardly seen on the MSN site.

What are you thoughts?

The more people use it while the buz is there, the better for MSN.


 10:30 am on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Very major changes today.
The results are much better. The ranking algo changed to a more sensible one which moves sites up and down somewhat, and I'd say about 40% of the useless, elementary school level spam has been a eliminated.

I agree with you there steve, definitely better and I thought it was good prior to this tweak.


 1:40 pm on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you are a small business that can`t afford to have an agreement with MSN on spending at least $75,000 a year, then you can not use MSN.

Wrong. It just means you can't deal with MSN directly as they're not interested in handling small clients themselves. This option already co exists with Overture and may co exist with whatever dealer or self service program they might use in the future.

Digital Worker

 2:41 pm on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I really like the results, everything so far has been relevant, even more relevant than Google for a lot of commercial searches, alot of sites there dont even show up on a google search. a bit less relevant for non-commercial/Info pages.

It looks like Google has allowed too many sites to gain a monopoly (through keeping new sites down) and the same sites just come up under any search for that topic, virtually in the same order.

A couple of hiccups here and there, but altogether v good competition for Google, im quite excited about its release.

I also noticed that the Beta Search link only appears on MSN.com and not MSN.co.uk, would be interested to see if there is any traffic on it yet,

Keep up the good work guys, i guess MSN search is in the right place at the right time

:) :) :)

Digital Worker

 2:44 pm on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

This i do not believe to be correct

"I realise that but it isn't as good as the existing engine so it has to get to that stage first then get better again, unless they can do that it's no competition to Google"

Inktomi is rubbish at indexing sites


 4:50 pm on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google as well as Yahoo is also rubbish at indexing sites. Both take forever to list new sites. This is the problem with all search engines right now. They need to figure out a way to make searches more dynamic. Let's face it there are things happening in this world every minute and we need a source of information out there that allows us to find information thats current, not 2 to 4 weeks old.

Hopefully MSN realizes this and is working on a bot that will do just that.


 5:12 pm on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

The company that cracks the bot that can find instant news and changes whilst ensuring minimal Spam will win the search wars.... now where was that PhD student I had on work experience ;)


 5:37 pm on Nov 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Very true to form for Microsoft isn't it? Embarrasingly late to enter, then throw money at it. Nevertheless very interesting and great to see some competition from another big player.

Seems like a pretty simple algorithm, and reminds me of MS WORD with the sliders. Looks like they have designed software not a search engine.

Whole new approach to thinking about a search engine. Very welcome indeed!

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