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MSN Live Needs Serious Work



8:28 pm on Oct 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

MSN Live's submit your site has now been down for weeks. The ability to check for backlinks has been down for months. I've chatted with quite a few other webmasters, and it also seems that any site newer than 4 months old was completely deleted from the engine during their most recent update.

If an MSN Live rep comes across this thread, do please look into some of these issues. From a webmaster's perspective, these little quirks are really getting annoying.


5:33 pm on Oct 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yep...it needs some tweaking...
The fact that both MSNsubmit links have been disabled since Oct 9th shows that they know it.

A Positive sign? We'll see.
Fish Texas


5:25 pm on Oct 26, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My established websites are now starting to drop out of the MSN Live index completely. These are websites that have been indexed for at least 2 years or more.

At a measly 6% of my overall traffic, I'm done wasting my time paying attention to MSN Live. Bill, what happened to your claims of "trouncing Google"? LOL


2:11 pm on Oct 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm having trouble also on a few sites that were well established but now are essentially gone from MSN. Something is wrong in Redmond. For example, I have one site that did great with traffic and was well indexed. For that site, consistently over the past 2 years, I have used robots.txt to disallow msnbot from the cgi-bin. Two or three weeks ago almost ALL the pages dropped out of the MSN index EXCEPT pages in the cgi-bin -- the very pages I told it to skip! (Up until this latest bizarre behavior, they did OK with that command). The robots.txt file is correct (see below), so I have to think that it's them. Given that so many people are having problems, but nothing seems to be changing, it's looking like all we can do is hope that they get around to fixing the msnbot at some point soon before we all disappear entirely.

User-agent: msnbot
Disallow: /*.cgi$
Disallow: /cgi-bin/

Addendum: Sometimes I wonder whether they take search as seriously as I'd think they would, given that Google is very close to dislodging them as the most important computer related company in the world. Have they conceded the importance of quality search to their competitor? Wouldn't think so, but I do wonder, given what we are experiencing, and their apparent failure to make timely corrections.



6:43 pm on Oct 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Reno, did MSN ever stated that they support wildcards and/or regular expression syntax in robots.txt?
I thought it is Google specific.


9:54 pm on Oct 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

did MSN ever stated that they support wildcards and/or regular expression syntax in robots.txt?

That's a good question and I admit I don't know -- to be honest I thought it was a standard format for keeping a bot out of a specific folder.

And I do want to emphasize, until this latest weirdness they did more or less stay out. What is really strange is how almost all of the straight-forward html dropped out (which WAS well indexed), and the cgi pages came in. It was like a complete reversal! Very strange.



11:02 pm on Oct 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Frankly i think WebmasterWorld should just remove this thread and the entire section relating to live search - we just keep going round and round in the same circles month in month out with msm doing nothing to change.

We have to face facts - Live search has been next to useless for years now, it has next to zero pull in the market, they treat webmasters with utter contempt, msn cant be bothered to visit this forum any longer nor are they interested in feed back from webmasters - its a total waste of our energy discussing live search here at WebmasterWorld.

My call is to delete this section and we forget about them in the same way that they have us.


7:22 pm on Oct 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Rich TC, I totally agree, REMOVE IT.
Fish Texas


4:39 am on Nov 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


You highlighted few issues and you have few questions:

  • Our form to submit sites to Live Search [search.msn.com ] is functioning again since yesterday, sorry for the annoyance.
  • Our release a month ago [blogs.msdn.com ] was the biggest update since our debut in January 2005. If you are not in our results anymore, especially for established websites, we will be pleased to hear from you via [support.live.com ] that we can review each case with you.
  • You're right, Live Search does not support wildcards in robots.txt today; we are thinking about it.

About our communication:

  • Did you notice that we are blogging more [blogs.msdn.com ]?
    - October 2007 (8)
    - September 2007 (1)
    - August 2007 (2)
    - July 2007 (1)
    - June 2007 (1)
  • Our future webmaster portal [blogs.msdn.com ] will help you communicating with us .
  • And, as you want to hear from msndude on this forum; we will do this more frequently, starting today.

Hope this helps.
- msndude


12:41 pm on Nov 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for the post. We do hope you visit this thread often and address our concerns.
Fish Texas


2:45 pm on Nov 2, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I too am hopeful that msndude and/or any other knowledgeable representative of MS will make a point to visit here at least a couple times a month, to address the concerns of webmasters.

To start with, it would be good to take note that since your latest update, it appears that a LOT of established sites have been knocked out of your index, for no apparent reason. That is not good.

Secondly, in my specific case, I again want to point out that my robots.txt file has had

User-agent: msnbot
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
at a particular site for well over a year, but with this latest update you removed almost all the html pages and instead are displaying the very .cgi files that should be blocked. That too is not good and indicates definite problems. The things that are happening to us here at this board could very well be happening to hundreds of thousands of others as well (perhaps millions).



7:38 pm on Nov 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

SERPs suck massively! Index sucks! Two of my sites show SERPs from 2006!

Hardly convincing!


9:02 am on Nov 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Last few months some of my sites have disappeared completely from MSN Search - despite being far more on topic than the commercial debris that now litters the top of the searches - even in very niche markets.

Traffic lost from MSN has been replaced by traffic coming from Ask - who seem to be trying to challenge Google's dominance with action rather than MSN's talk.


9:40 pm on Nov 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'm relieved to see I am not the only one having problems with MSN. I have had sites with first place positions disappear since this last version was released. I have had top ranked pages disappear overnight from the results on another one of my websites.

Many of the pages that now appear at the top defy all logic...many are nothing more than store fronts with little or no content. There can't be any meaningful testing going on before deployment.

I really wouldn't care except for one thing. Many corporations will only allow the MSN search on their computers. So when the Purchasing Department goes on line to do searches they're using MSN. Employees shop on company time and they're using MSN. It makes a huge difference when MSN screw things up.

But there is nothing to do about it right now. I agree to just stay out of it because "the rules" don't apply right now to MSN Live Search. It's a waste of time. We have supplied well-optimized, high-traffic websites with great content. Live Search just can't find them anymore. The ball is MSN's court.


9:48 am on Nov 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

MSN Live doesn't support wildcards?

What about these?
Only partial support for wildcards?

MSNdude--could you please respond to the questions about MSN referrer spam here:

It's distorting everybody's stats and everyone wants it to stop...


4:06 pm on Nov 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Pocketseo, if you read it carefully you would notice that nowhere MSN mentions word wildcards. The fact that they allow for exclusion of file types using syntax that looks like wildcards/regex cannot serve as proof that they support wildcards/regex.


8:28 pm on Nov 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I just 403'd msnbot-Products/1.0+(+http://search.msn.com/msnbot.htm).


User-agent: *

#pages and files in this folder are not allowed to be seen by spiders, contains high resolution images
Disallow: /folder1/

#page contains contents to UPS Rate look up Script with in my site, a pop window
Disallow: /page1.cfm*

#page has been disallowed for 4 years, specificaly to ban obusive, rouge bots, spider trap and is listed on first page in Live.com when site comand is issued
Disallow: /page2.cfm

#Same as above
Disallow: /page3.cfm

MSNDude this is something that your team should think of.


10:35 pm on Nov 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Pocketseo, if you read it carefully you would notice that nowhere MSN mentions word wildcards. The fact that they allow for exclusion of file types using syntax that looks like wildcards/regex cannot serve as proof that they support wildcards/regex.

This is not "syntax that looks like wildcards/regex" -- it is a wildcard:
Disallow: /*.PDF$

An asterisk that substitutes for other characters is a wildcard. MSN should specifically mention on that docs page that they only partially support wildcards.

Yahoo and Google both support wildcards in robots.txt so MSN is not being clear in this case.


11:44 pm on Nov 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I should mention that my major long time complaint (poor relative ranking of pages within a website) is vastly improved with the new release.

So far it does not seem to be having a large impact on referals.

For August, live/msn provided 6.5% of SE referals. So far this month its only up to 7.2%.


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