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I'm in the same boat, I rank fine outside the US - unfortunately my audience is US. It's extremely discouraging because based on a long email exchange I had with MS in My MSN Story [webmasterworld.com] they don't seem to have a clue or are unwilling to help.
The encouraging part is there are rumors that MSN is restarting search.
BTW, we do advertise with AdCenter but the traffic it brings pales in comparison with AdWords despite bidding higher then in AdWords
>>USA = world biggest market, most SEO experts, most webmasters, most money to be made, usually equates to most competiton.
Because I rank fine for my own site name everywhere but in the US. It's not like the difference is related to some competitive term.
When you're #1 for your own unique name outside the US but inside you don't show until page 25 then it's more than competition. It's an automatic penalty of sorts that MSN refuses to discuss.
Shurik and I have exchanged notes on this problem before:
>>After several email exchanges with MSN i'm certain that the penalty is algorithmic and there is nothing they can do to remove it.
It's the same exact pattern for both of us. To combat spam in the US, MSN uses a different filter. We're tripping that filter for some reason. It would bother me more if MSN's results were good.