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msn sloppy overture clicks?

odd search terms from msn

7:25 am on Nov 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have noticed a lot of odd search terms for overture clicks from msn. Some are on target, but many from left field. - Are they posting overture listings based on something other than search term (like user pref location, cookie data or such), just sloppy? Anyone else notice a difference between msn and other partner search strings? I am using tracking urls, can't think of other reasons why this would happen.
6:23 pm on Nov 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


give some examples and lets see if others can confirm similarities.

i seem to remember seeing some "strange" referrers from MSN at times in the past. dont remember the details though. maybe if we cross-compare what we're seeing, we can get a general theory on what's happening, and potentially have something to go to Overture with...

from what i've figured out, MSN listings are basically coming from the native search feature in the browser - NOT from the MSN.com website. of course, given that IE dominates the marketplace now, this still means that MSN was our biggest referrer (prior to yahoo getting in the game). are others seeing the same?

the problem is that there's no way for you to separate out MSN clicks from other clicks anyway, so in evaluating traffic you're forced to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" - ie. its all overture affiliates or nothing.


8:17 pm on Nov 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

it is an insurance agent site, most overture terms with "state" in them, but msn returns things like 'stock quotes, staples, motor homes for sale in 'state', wrda, 'state' coast weather, etc.
I can not reproduce the search.
9:03 pm on Nov 29, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member nffc is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Are you looking at the raw logs or using software?
1:21 am on Nov 30, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

raw logs
6:26 am on Nov 30, 2001 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Same experience here -- in the raw logs I definitely see MSN clicks [URL tagged with src=goto] on search words that we NEVER paid for. I also cannot recreate those search results myself. There's some fast and loose linguistics programming going on. For instance:

Paid Overture words: religion, spirituality, truth, freedom
Charged MSN words: karma, reincarnation

However, I first noticed these oddities because the spurious search terms were actually converting -- and as long as the ROI is decent (and so far it is) I ain't complaining. It is more than a little bit funky, however.

<added> My thought was that these clicks may be coming from people who use MSN as their ISP, and get a proprietary search page, not the standard msn.com page.</added>

8:13 am on Nov 30, 2001 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

That is what I was wondering - if MSN was "pumping" its overture listings by "personalizing" results in some fashion - by isp location, user zip code, etc

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