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MSN Search will Turn more users to Beta Next Week

MSN Search, Beta

     
2:56 am on Jan 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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In MSN's blog [blogs.msdn.com...] Oshoma Momoh, General Manager, MSN Search Program Management, says that "Next week we intend to begin turning up the dial and direct more of our users to the Beta."

What does this really mean? Does this mean that the searchers will see the results that currently are in Beta?

Thank you.
Erku

6:39 am on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There is a simple method to see if MSN Beta is ready, at least for you.

Imagine you have to look something up, something important and unrelated to your business.
It could be a source of machine parts, an obscure quotation, use your imagination.

You need good fast answers.

If you were somehow restricted to one search engine, would it be Google, Yahoo, or MSN Beta?

Answer that honestly and quietly to yourself.
Then compare the answer to anything written above.

- Larry

6:45 am on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Larry, that's the exact test I've been using over the last month. And msnbeta has failed it every single time.

That's what makes me really think that a lot of posters really don't ever search much on a daily basis for real things unrelated to their site.

It does great for my sites, some keywords do well, for a while they all did, LOL. But it doesn't do well for when I need to find some information about something for real.

I could and do easily use Yahoo or Google for most searches, I prefer Google because Yahoo tends to lag a bit in their spidering, about 2 weeks give or take behind, and doesn't spider sites fully etc, but overall I can usually get what I need in Yahoo or Google, they aren't that radically different.

There's a story about when they were working on Windows 95, one of the main guys, I think it was Ballmer, had his windows 3.2 in his office,then the test builds were put on another box, the story goes, one day he started preferring the windows 95 builds to the 3.2 release. That's when they knew it was getting close.

And it hasn't happened yet, I can't say I've preferred MSN beta over even Yahoo yet, not even close. I like the content oriented component, I hope that can survive the waves of spam attacks, which is unlikely.

9:21 am on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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As a significant MSFT shareholder I hope they don't do this. Their search engine is very basic at this point in time.

I would like to see MS beat Google and Yahoo hands down, but, right now they are simply not ready to do that.

Please MS hold back another 6 to 12 months and get the puppy barking right. If you rush you will surely lose! There is no need to rush, get it right first and steal the market away from Google!

10:07 am on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I just don't see what many of you say. I have just searched the MSN Beta for very specific searches totally unrelated to our business.

* Specific Microsoft Product
* Welsh language Pressure Group policy document
* a specific moroccan gift item

All came up trumps, with very relevant results etc.

10:31 am on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"I jumped up to #9 (yippee! first page!)"
though i rank #1 for many serps in yahoo-msn search i never show a hit from msn as from yahoo only a 10% instead of my main traffic from God bless them Google(90%),so who cares for the new $msn beta just another cra...p and by the way i would like to ask how many of you generate any traffic from $msn old and beta?
12:57 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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phantombookman,

I notice that much of the opinion is based on how a persons site is doing, i.e.
well ranked = great algo
poorly ranked = crap algo

Point - seems to be how a lot of people judge an SE. And then get steveb angry by posting 'bout it ;-)

Anyway, it takes a strong person to admit their site should not be number 1.

Some SERPs I watch I am, some I am not. I don't know if I deserve to be number 1 or not -- I'm actually just more concerned to see if there is any spam ahead/around me.

Larry, 2by4, I know you have more exacting standards with using the SE but 50% of the time I can't find what I want from google either.

So if I'm going to have to manually search through 100s of results, I do not want my time wasted with results loaded with spam/directories/sections tacked onto existing sites (due to sandbox-busting).

I know -- straightforward request, hard to do in reality.

For me, for now, in the areas that I watch MSN beta is winning that battle (after the last tweak). Yahoo's not that bad either.

The sad part is that I realise this "purity" won't last once MSN goes live and spammers turn their fine tuned glue guns to clogging up those works.

My two beta cents,
CF

And yes, one of my sites is still buried at 30th :-)

9:08 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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tigrou, nice points:

"but 50% of the time I can't find what I want from google either."

I agree that google is radically worse this year than it has ever been. Several times during one of their endless algo tweaks I had to switch to Yahoo, literally. I think Google simply does not realize how dangerous this game they are playing is. My non google traffic is rising steadily, I'm not the only person seeing this.

However, that doesn't change that I simply can't use MSN beta for my daily real world searches. I'd agree my standards are exacting, but the problem is the computer media has even more exacting standards. For example, a few weeks ago I thought MSN was ok, beta quality, but ok, but theregister.com did a full article on it being the absolute worst search engine out there. That site of course are massive search power users, so they saw all the failures, they probably tried it for 10 minutes for their work and had to give up, just like I've had to.

You don't want this kind of bad press when you do a major new release, it's almost impossible to recover from short term. It's much smarter to wait to release until you can get good press. That's free publicity, a wave of interest that money can't buy. That's why MS waits so long to release it's major OS upgrades too, it's really bad if you release something that doesn't work very well. They did that one time with an NT4 service pack and it set them back several years in some areas.

9:14 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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So...has anyone noticed any "ramping up"? I haven't seen any beta serps coming from msn.com at all this week.
9:27 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If you read the blog entry more carefully, you'll notice that what they are going to do is direct a certain part of their search traffic to beta, for a certain amount of time. Unless your search happens to be in that part for that time I doubt you'll see it.

this could literally be a single searcher a day. Or 10, or 100 and so on. That's what they mean by ramping up. They don't want any failures of the datacenters, so they'll be very conservative in this, testing, checking, testing, checking, looking at processing times and so on.

And probably closely watching click through rates, that's a big area where real world data is very important, after all, most beta testers just want to see where their sites are placed, they aren't clicking on anything in any meaningful pattern. My guess this click through information is then going to be analyzed heavily, then they will do some pretty major changes in the algo.

9:49 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've read the blog, and I'm well aware of what they're doing. My question was simply has anyone seen it? I've heard nothing but the 'is-it-ready' rambling which is not what the thread's author asked.
9:59 pm on Jan 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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This is what the author of this thread asked:

"What does this really mean? Does this mean that the searchers will see the results that currently are in Beta?"

And that question has been fairly well answered in this thread.

That's the question I was answering in the last post. As to if anyone has seen these results, which was not the question asked, but is your question, I'm sure when somebody does, the readers of this forum will be the first to know. However my guess is that the odds of any one person seeing this soon are not high, since it's going to always be a sampling of searches, not all of them, at least not in the near future, so you'd have to be in that sample, at the time it was switched on.

Obviously 'is it ready' is an extremely integral part of 'when will we see it', even if you think otherwise. Fortunately for MS I'm pretty sure the question of is it ready is also high on their priorities. And I'd say more than one of them are reading this thread. So this thread is as good a place as any to give them some feedback, like, hey, your product is unuseable in it current state.

1:03 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Im beginng to get some hits from MSN, so I think the beta is sometimes online.
2:49 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've been getting hits from msn for years. How are you distinguishing between the standard yahoo generated hits from msn and msn beta hits?
3:56 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hello all: Good posts mostly. My site is page on on MS Beta, page 2, 3 or even 4 on the others.

Still, looking for tanzanian jelly beans, or electronic parts (far more likely)
I go to Google first, Yahoo second and so on.

I see steady improvement in MSN Beta since first unveiled last Fall.
I'm sure MSNB will get better and better.

As of now, in my access log files, I find Google referrals are over twice those of Yahoo,
almost 3 times. Regular old MSN is about a quarter of Google traffic.
Once in a blue moon I see what I think is an MSNB referral, but those could just be me.

Both Y and MSN have been catching up to G, but slowly, and both have a long way to go percentage-wise here.

Best - Larry

4:51 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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1. I have almost stopped using Google because I find Y and now MS better. Period. I'm not posturing, that's just the way it is. I have a very hard time find anything in Google anymore. The worst is when I look for small to mid-size companies' websites. They are often not in top few hundred of Google for their name and they almost always are 1 or 2 in Yahoo or MS.

2. You can tell if you are getting a referral from beta in your log because is says, beta.msn... We have been getting them here and there for a month or two. I assume from people using the actual beta.

3. I actually saw live beta results today for a number of terms. I randomly searched for something on MSN and the beta results with the new page format came up. I continued on and got a bunch of beta results. Interesting...

6:01 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"They are often not in top few hundred of Google for their name and they almost always are 1 or 2 in Yahoo or MS."

That's variable, MSN beta has similar problems at times, I've seen that problem too, to me it really seems like last year was a low point in search history, that may be why MS decided to try to enter the market. Maybe while many forum posters last year were busy making excuses for Google's various failings, MS people were paying attention?

Google has never been worse, I definitely agree with that statement, for some types of searches it just doesn't work anymore. But it's still good for most searches, I'll have to keep trying MSN beta and see if I can last longer than the 2 or 3 searches I've maxed out at so far.

I'm suspecting that both Yahoo and Google have hit some type of real limit to their systems. I can't agree that Yahoo is better however, when you do a site: type search for site pages, often only a tiny fraction are indexed, that's not good. I think Yahoo is full, and has been full for quite a while, only nobody really cares enough to talk about it. Yahoo is definitely ok, I agree, if it were the only search engine I wouldn't really miss Google all that much.

I think Google is massively overestimating how much people care about what search engine they use, I'll use any one that usually gives me the answers I need, and I think that would describe pretty much all searchers, except for those weird Google fans who think google has some kind of mystical powers or something.

Gmail is OK, but I think both Yahoo and Hotmail have shown that free web based email is a nice little addition to your web portfolio, but that's about it. Desktop search is probably the worst single idea I've ever come across, the security issues alone are absolutely staggering. Most real security sites advise all corporate systems to ban any type of desktop search.

So MSN has picked a pretty good time to enter the market, even if it is 4 or 5 years late. Soon search will just be a commodity, and nobody will care about it, except seos.

11:21 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Alert

I have started seeing beta results when i am searching from the main [msn.com...] site. The peculiar thing is that when I use IE, it is showing me the old yahoo/inktomi search results. When I use firefox, it is showing me beta results. The URL of the beta results is of the following format
[search.msn.com...]

Thus, it is not redirecting to beta.search.msn.com, it is just showing the beta search results in a new design, with the same URL format. Thus I doubt if we will able to see if the traffic that we are receiving is due to normal msn/yahoo results or the beta results.

Is anybody else seeing similar results using firefox browser?

11:34 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Imaster:

Yes you beat me by 10mins. But I am getting beta results in IE.

Do you think it will be another test like last time?

rj,

[added]

Msn Beta Results are not showing on msn.co.uk

11:50 am on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'll be darned! You guys are right.

I have beta.search.msn.com bookmarked.
I search for my main page/keyword and come up #10, first page.

I removed 'beta' from the URL, and got the old msn search page as expected.
BUT, searching again for same keyword, my main page AGAIN comes up #10.
In their old (Yahoo) results, I would be 2nd or 3rd page for that.

I am running Firefox 1.0 on an old Windows-95 machine.
IF its machine specific, its not the operating system .. its gotta be the browser.

I can't speak for IE, don't use it. For me at least, MSN is using BETA results on both engines.

Maybe that's how they decided to gradually introduce the beta version.
Knowing the tech-savvy are likely to prefer beta, they introduce it to tech-savvy Firefox users.
How about you Opera users? Seeing the same thing?

(Maybe they will dish up Looksmart results to Netscape users.)

- Larry

12:57 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

I use Firefox and Opera and I see MSNB serps in both browsers.

1:20 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I am already "turned" to Beta :)

I must say I have better position, but the results are still spammy...

1:46 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Even the [search.msn.com...] homepage is showing 'Search (beta)'

+ beta results of course

Am in the UK

2:43 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Even the [search.msn.com...] homepage is showing 'Search (beta)'

+ beta results of course

Am in the UK

Ditto, but only in Firefox. IE is as was.

3:53 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Are you gals/guys sure this isn't related to an MSN cookie? For a while there they were feeding Beta results on the msn.com page if you had picked up a cookied while visiting the beta page.

Could be brower specific.

(OR am I just out of it and missing somethign from the previous posts.)

4:55 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a bunch more beta results in my log file in the last hour...attributed to "search.msn.com". I can tell, because for 50 specific keyword pairs we are at or near #1 in beta, but hardly rank at all in regular search. So I believe(?) I can conclude: either, (1) they have been piping beta results to regular msn searches more in the last hour, or (2) all of a sudden a bunch more people are using beta search (intentionally or not). #1 seems more likely to me.
5:04 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Tigrou,

Last time they used a redirect to beta, I think this is just a more Major test. Im sure they will take the feedback and work on better results.

Im thinking that msn knew the webmasters would try beta and so placed a cookie to change it last time just to get feedback from webmasters.

this time i guess its for the general public.

5:17 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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rj87uk, ooopps! Thanks for the info.

Feeling sick and out of it today. So I guess I'll take advantage of that "working for yourself" perogative and go home early, chill out and watch South Park. :-D
sorry couldn't help it

5:55 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Sure enough just did some checking and we are definitely getting some traffic from the MSN beta. Talk about being teased, just canít wait to see them launch this thing.

Great News!

6:36 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I am getting some good traffic off what appears to be msnbot results. Great news!
7:41 pm on Jan 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I get some hits from MSN (not beta) for "news of the weird". I checked the page (the first page of results) at MSN search and my website wasn't displayed on that page and neiter on the next pages.
However, when I search for the same keywords on MSN Beta, my website is displayed on the first page.
I suppose those hits came from people who searched at MSN and got results from MSN Beta.
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