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Live Search's link: operator turned off

     
10:27 am on Mar 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I use MSN / Live search quite a lot to check my inbound links, since their results tend to be more comprehensive than others'. For the past 24 hours, any search on MSN / Live with the search string link:example.com gives a blank page (= a totally white page). Is is something specific to my IP / PC, or has anybody else noticed it? - Other searches do work OK for me.
11:53 am on Mar 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Same here, blank page.
1:50 pm on Mar 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Try linkdomain:example.com. This is working for some of my domains... sometimes.
2:54 pm on Mar 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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blank page
7:12 pm on Mar 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hasen't anyone had a closer look of what this could be?
8:09 pm on Mar 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Was concerned they banned my IP at first ;)

Regular searches and "site:" searches still working. Haven't played around with others yet.

Glad to hear it's not me.

-GNDV

10:28 pm on Mar 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

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notice that simply searching for

link command
link comand

also brings blank page.

12:15 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Really bizarre. I also tried "link com" and "link comma" and they produce a blank page. Anything that starts with link and has "com" following it also produces a blank page. I think Live is just messed up now.

In fact, any combination of the "link" plus "com" will make MSN/Live produce a blank page, as long as the "link" part comes before the "com" part, for example:

1) link hello com
2) 122link234 heycom
3) linkage fast commets
4) linkstore commercial

Live is losing millions of $$ is keywords that follow this pattern. Looks like a programmer messed up a regular expression!

3:25 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This blank page thing is how they treat 'forbidden' searches, or so I've heard. I wonder if they're taking away the backlink feature for good. If so, it's a pretty rude way to do it.
4:25 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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linkdomain:example.com does work for me, though.
11:23 am on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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looking at msn also to check my links, but its seems i go also on a blank page, even linkdomain
12:39 pm on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yup, me too getting the blank page when search for backlinks using link: command, what could be the reason?
3:27 pm on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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This blank page thing is how they treat 'forbidden' searches

Rather amateurish and unprofessional if you ask me.

4:36 pm on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I don't agree that the blank page is a forbidden search. How can you say that searching for "link commercial store" is a forbidden search?
6:58 pm on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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You are right! The search
link commercial store
also leads to a blank page, whereas
Johann Heinrich Friedrich Link German botanist
does give relevant results. It looks like some kind of bug that may be the prelude of some changes, possibly the removal of the link: operator.

[edited by: MarkWolk at 6:59 pm (utc) on Mar. 27, 2007]

11:35 pm on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I don't agree that the blank page is a forbidden search. How can you say that searching for "link commercial store" is a forbidden search?

Yeah, I don't think it is a forbidden search either. A "forbidden page" would serve a 403 error code. This isn't happening. It is simply a blank page so something is just not working. I think.

11:44 pm on Mar 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Crobb, MSN doesn't give 403 errors for searches they don't want you doing, they just blank page it.
12:07 am on Mar 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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There is more evidence that this is a software bug and not a removal of the "link:" feature. See my example above that show that any combo of "link" plus "com" produce a blank page. These are not forbidden searches as they are random. Again see my examples above.
12:25 am on Mar 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, Regent, it is a bug...they messed up other searches when they blocked backlink checking. Inadvertent collateral damage.

I'm not saying they're blocking backlink searches forever (I really hope they don't) but they appear to be doing that for now.

6:33 pm on Mar 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Either MSN blocked "link:" searches and mistakingly also blocked many other searches such as "linkstore commercial" or the other way around -- they blocked some other search that contained the word "link" and they inadvertently trashed their own "link:" feature.

I just wish that MSN would make some kind of indication to the community so we can know for sure what the story is.

9:07 pm on Mar 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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They have changed the syntax to "links to" (no quotes) and then the domain
9:43 pm on Mar 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

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They have changed the syntax to "links to" (no quotes) and then the domain

and no colon. Just "links to example.com"

1:19 am on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hey folks, here's the official response on this:
[blogs.msdn.com...]
3:30 am on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for the update, msndude.
6:30 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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linkfromdomain:example.com still works
7:13 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hey yes.... its still like that.

I just checked for my site and its a blank page.

7:43 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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linkfromdomain:example.com still works

And as stated above, "links to example.com" still works to see SOME backlinks. This seems to provide a very partial list and is probably useless for all practical purposes.

8:35 pm on Mar 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thats to bad, of all the ways to check your back links I liked MSN the best.
12:28 am on Mar 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I liked MSN the best because it was not as clunky as the Yahoo explorer. I guess we will see if anything positive comes out of this.
7:22 am on Mar 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I get this error for "link:example.com":

XML Parsing Error: no element found
Location: [search.live.com...]
Line Number 1, Column 1:

Using "links to example.com" fixes it as noted by someone else, thanks.

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