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MSN Search Technology Preview

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3:08 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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6:59 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Loving your work MSNdude! A couple of strange results mixed in though, that I have never seen before.
7:00 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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On the premise that this is at the *alpha* or *preview* stages, it is a very credible effort. After all, *G* is supposed to be at production status, yet every update seems to be a new beta that the denizens of WW have to do QA feedback on, and on, and on ....

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7:02 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"I love how quickly the results snap up. Yahoo's slowness is one of the reasons I always use Google."

Remember that the site has essentially no traffic right now. I'd be surprised if it's getting 2-3 qps. Wait till tomorrow and see how well it does when the load is much higher. And even then I'll bet it doesn't see more than 20 qps. Yahoo gets hammered every day with incredible volume. Comparing techpreview to Yahoo is a bit premature.

7:03 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It seems they may be taking it on and offline.

I just got "We are sorry, the web site for MSN Search Technology Preview is currently unavailable. Please try again later" - at both locations.

7:04 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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MSNdude -- did you really, really have to lock the dev team into a room until they beat the record for the most HTML errors in a blank search page?

It must have taken days to insert that many errors by hand.

7:04 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Well, MSN has a long way to go.

So much for being optimistic. These results are simply pathetic, with "pathetic" being too kind.

My god, I can't believe they actually let the public see these. Some folks probably will get fired.

Anyway... line up to buy those keyword-hyphen-multiple-crap-words.kg domains, because the entire algorith mseems to be built around keyword in hyphenated domain.

LOL, and just as I go to check a couple more searches: "We are sorry, the web site for MSN Search Technology Preview is currently unavailable. Please try again later."

I almost feel sorry for Microsoft.

7:05 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"Remember that the site has essentially no traffic right now. I'd be surprised if it's getting 2-3 qps. Wait till tomorrow and see how well it does when the load is much higher. And even then I'll bet it doesn't see more than 20 qps. Yahoo gets hammered every day with incredible volume. Comparing techpreview to Yahoo is a bit premature."

I don't know the backend, but google gets way more traffic than yahoo for its search -and google is faster. So it would seem that traffic is not the factor that determines speed.

7:17 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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So it would seem that traffic is not the factor that determines speed.

I would say in an operation of this size the biggest factor would be traffic management. Making each server do as little work as possible and keeping the cpu usage low.

Mack.

7:22 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Gidday MSD

Glad to see someone at Redmond slums it with us hoi polloi ;)

Feedback from a commercial perspective:

1. Fast - dang fast! (even on a cr***py 40kb dial-up connection like mine - posts above not withstanding!)

2. 15 results - GOOD, like it!

3. Looks good in Moz. ;P ... sorry ... well, no not really ;)

3. Multiple results from same domain :( - prefer grouping or "see more results", even when it's MY sites that dominate, gets embarrassing (like *I've* done something spammy, and tedious for the searcher, ya know what I mean? see also 4. next.)

4. Algo seems to deprecate keywords in <meta> to weight in the page - YUCK hate it!

One mention (or more!) of a keyword on page gets ahead of a targeted <title> or <description> mention? (Or is this setting up your PPC program?) ;)

I would have thought the programmers could set the <meta> to x characters and weight results accordingly. That way SEO has to consider the target keywords and figure out an elegant way to write the <meta> copy so it "reads" well for bots and real human eyeballs too!

I see gratuitious keywords keywords keywords pages written ALL over this!

5. Are you going to include a regional search option e.g. web/Australia?

6. Like to see the number of results if possible

7. Looks like the algo has the same problem with XML DTD sites as I've experienced with Google, not in the index.

8. like the site:www.mysite.com.au search results.

9. Not so good for academic/non commercial searches (possibly due to point 4. above?)

Well, that's about it for now. So far, rippa mate!

Hope the feedback is useful.

Hooroo
JP

7:26 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"MSNdude -- did you really, really have to lock the dev team into a room until they beat the record for the most HTML errors in a blank search page?

It must have taken days to insert that many errors by hand."

Huh? 3 is the record? :

----

Line 5, column 6: required attribute "TYPE" not specified

<style>

----

Line 15, column 30: required attribute "ALT" not specified

src="msnsearch.gif" border=0></FONT>

----

Line 151, column 65: there is no attribute "WIDTH"

...yle="PADDING-LEFT: 10px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px" width="100%">

7:30 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"Currently Unavailable" :(
7:39 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Same here. Currently not available. Is using sandbox.msn.com same as techpreview.search.msn.com?

Mc

7:49 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Huh? 3 is the record?

I'm seeing hundreds. - you don't seem to be counting things like unclosed P tags.

Now the site has vanished to be replace by an "unavailable page" (that wanted to install Chinese fonts just to tell me I can't use it).

The "unavailable" page has the same sort of HTML errors in it.

7:56 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for all of the feedback. Keep it coming!

Domain Clustering:
Many people have commented on the large number of results from a single domain. The lack of domain clustering was one of those tough calls. We wanted to get a product out fairly quickly so that we could learn a lot by getting customer feedback. We definitely got that feedback on this feature! We will improve on this in our next release.

The site being down:
As we mentioned on the home page of the Technology Preview, the site will go down at times.

Sandbox vs. Technology Preview:
[sandbox.msn.com...] is where we will show some of the latest things that we are working on. The search box at the top of the MSN Sandbox page will send queries to [search.msn.com....] These results are not related to those at [techpreview.search.msn.com....] A little bit confusing, however, I hope that clarifies things.

-msndude (msd)

8:00 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks msndude. I just changed my mind about posting on the same results between sandbox.msn.com and search.msn.com

Mc

8:23 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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What's particluarly bizarre about this fiasco is that Gates was poo-poo'ing the notion of keyword search, and then these results are entirely based on keywords in URL.

MSNdude, seriously, there simply is nothing to talk about when *all* the top results are keyword domains, either keyword.tld or keyword-1-x.tld.

It's like msnbot has been out there crawling deeply but stops after it reads the domain name!

8:30 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ah.. this is interesting.
Search for "mydomain", where www.mydomian.com is the domain name, places an inner page ahead of the homepage, solely because, IMHO, the innerpage has the title that begins with "mydomain.com..." as against the home page that mentions mydomain.com at the end of the title. Too much of an importance to "On-page factors".

Mc

Added - I can already hear a sigh of relief from Google :)

[edited by: McMohan at 8:35 am (utc) on July 1, 2004]

8:34 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I found some really crappy results - it looks like bits from several web pages clumped together and displayed as one.

Not impressed at all - yawn!

Yep this is going to get google real worried.

8:51 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Its seems to rely very heavily on the domain name.

i.e a search for "blue widgets" seems to only bring up sites with the words blue or widgets (or both) in the domain name.

I prefer the results that are currently on msn.com

8:53 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Wow. I've never done that good across the board on any search engine. Reminds me of the way my serps used to be on Google.
9:00 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Things that i seen from a few searches!

1. Seen the top 15 listings being pages of the same site.
2. Seen sites that were prevelant in other engines - not even getting a shout!
3. Base URL seems to top out on results, though the page(s) about the term is deeper in the site (something ATW used to do years ago).

KEYWORD STUFFED DOMAIN NAMES HAVE A MASSIVE IMPACT ON RESULTS - forget about brands on this engine!

[edited by: caine at 9:04 am (utc) on July 1, 2004]

9:03 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Seems give very high weight on title,
my hompegage is second for mycity + rentals, but not god that another index page of mine (irrelevant for rentals) is 5th....is part of the company name so on the other index page that word figures in title (only) as the companies name, and as well in the url but together as mycityrentals.
9:06 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm impressed by how open you are to feedback msndude. I for one say thanks for that.
Some people are forgetting this isn't even the final public engine yet. I for one am relieved... if msn fixes a few serious things then they have a real engine... which is a good thing.
9:12 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've found a couple searches that give an excessive number of results from the same domain

I am seeing the opposite, with the main domain being shown but the actual relevant page not showing. e.g. www.example.com showing but not www.example.com/actual page isn't showing anywhere on the first three pages

mat

9:25 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Pretty much echoing what Webguerilla said - this preview'll have SEO's drooling, but wearing the Joe Public hat, the-results-are-pretty-tacky-from-a-keyword-in-domain-point-of-view.

Make that really tacky. How more obvious could keyword/link text overweighting be, from even the most cursory glance at results?

9:28 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The only problem I am seeing is excessive number of results from the same domain.
9:46 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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hey everyone, interesting feedback on all levels.

I'd suggest a "more results from this site" type of approach, with regards to multiple results from the same domains on given searches. It is way too suffocating for your standard user and does come across way too spammy and probably wouldn't help MSN much if they want to get ahead of the competition as far as "quality search results" are concerned. But I guess that depends on which way you look at it...

Also, question for msndude - will we be seeing any type of geo-targetting here too?

:: nvision

9:47 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I like the results in my business field a lot!
9:51 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It's not looking too bad. I would say more like Yahoo than Google.

Some keyword domains seem to be working well and they could definitley do with just listing one page from the same site.

You can also do a link:http://www.domain.com search

9:52 am on July 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I noticed they gave themselves some nice listings in some places, #1 for shopping and online shopping. Some other interesting results too. Besides relevancy, need some variety too. Don't think users would like some of the stuff i've seen. A search bringing up one domain in 29 of the first 30 results? I would suggest some major tweaking before this gets released or just buy up Teoma from AskJeeves, a lot more relevant.

[edited by: TrustNo1 at 9:59 am (utc) on July 1, 2004]

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