Does MSN Search (beta) ignore/penalise sites hosted at

This entry was posted on
Friday, November 12th, 2004
11:51 am and is filed
under Search Engine Optimisation.

WebProNews – Did Someone Break The MSN Beta Search?: Today was the official launch of MSN’s newest creation, a new search beta which was promised to feature search results powered by their own algorithm… but what happened?

Yes, it fell over from time to time yesterday, but let’s be fair. MSN Search is in beta mode and was under heavy demand. So let’s get past this obvious opener and move on…

Search Engine Journal – Google Search Index Booms to 8 Billion: Google had something up their sleeve. It seems that whenever a competitor does something big, such as MSN announcing the beta launch of their new search engine, Google has to “one up” them somehow. Just as the news wires started flaming with MSN Beta search news and its 5 billion indexed web pages, Google posts this simple sentence on its web site “Searching 8,058,044,651 web pages.”And cue Google Vs. MSN headlines…. *yawn*… wait a minute… what’s this?Marketing Shift – Microsoft Search Beta Manipulating Results?Marketing Shift – Microsoft Search Changes Results for Evil SearchesNo sweat if you missed the main one; there are screengrabs to enjoy. Basically, for some strange reason, searches in this new Microsoft database pertaining to ‘evil’ brought up search rival Google and/or browser rival Firefox. I suspect it was some developer’s idea of a joke, but it’s pretty revealing in terms of attitude. And on that note…MSN belatedly launched a weblog to communicate any development difficulties but rivalry, it seems, takes precedent over any wish to engage with the weblog community… because this new search database appears to heavily penalise sites hosted with Google’s (i.e. anything hosted at me to cite a few examples using some very well-known weblogs that have unwittingly associated themselves with Google by hosting with Blogger.comSearch for Atrios in MSN. In any other search engine, is the top search result, or at the very least on the front page. In MSN’s database, there are plenty of sites that turn up that link to Atrios and even list the core URL, but an actual result/link for Atrios itself doesn’t turn up in the top 200 results. At all.Ditto for Belle du Jour… (search for Belle du Jour in MSN).And now, let’s get down to the really fun bit… Search for core provider Blogger in MSN.Blogger’s blog turns up in 8th position, but the front page for Blogger itself doesn’t turn up. So, search for the main page of a site called Blogger, hosted at, and MSN will tell you that it doesn’t exist.Even better; while the new MSN database does allow you to search by URL, if you search for in MSN, this is what happens:

MSN Blogger search result

There are over 150,000 bloggers who host with Blogger. Can you imagine how ‘useful’ a search database would be if it ignored every site hosted at Geocities? (OK, so maybe that’s not such a great example… but you see my point, yes?)Perhaps this is an oversight. Perhaps MSN plans to include these sites at some later date. Perhaps an email to their development team or a comment of their weblog with shed some light on the subject. Updates to follow.
UPDATE 1 – Four hours after this article was published and I posted a comment about this under the latest entry at the MSN Search blog, MSN Search ‘discovered’ – a good thing I bothered to get a screengrab, then. So that’s one down, 150,000 to go.

About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
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