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Then comes Looksmart, which costs up front and then an additonal ransom to get back the description you originally submitted with that they butchered up the first time, and the integrity of whose results ordering is highly debatable. And then comes Inktomi, which you just about have to pay for, unless you're praying to the right gods from the top of the right mountain on the right side of the pond.
IMHO MSN can't even be called a search engine. Not in the true sense of the word, like Google is. The data that's from Inktomi search engine comes last thing - which in some cases is so far down it'll never be gotten to except by some poor souls trying to find their own sites under the pile of rubble.
MSN doesn't do a search engine, they do paid advertising using other people's results and data. If they had any kind of a half-way decent search engine they might not have to be kidnapping people through their browser to get them to do searches at their site.
Is this valid for search.msn.com or for the local msn (msn.de, msn.it etc.)
I had the impression that the first listig were from Looksmart listing and after that Inktomi.
In all fairness, if there are only a few PPC and Looksmart listings, an Ink page can do very well. I've seen where MSN and AOL were #2 and #3 for referrals and to be honest, they converted better than even an equivalent or better Google listing does.
But also fair is calling a search engine one of it actually is one, and not calling it one when it's not. When it's paid-for advertising where position is determined by the price paid, IMHO that makes them advertising engines.