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Why MSN search is so lame

MSN Has Quarterly Profit of $58 Million.  (Have a party!)

Somewhat down the page:
"... both from companies paying to be included in MSN's search listings as well as overall Internet marketing."

No doubt AOL is just as lame (or perhaps worse).  Can you imagine what the world would be like if MSFT _had_ bought Google?

Friday, November 14, 2003

Because MS products are lame

Friday, November 14, 2003

Um, how would this differ from how Google is today?  When I search for something on Google, I get ads matching the search at the top and on the right side. 

Friday, November 14, 2003

And I would guess that ads are Google's primary source of revenue. 

Friday, November 14, 2003

What do you mean by "lame"?

That's a rather imprecise term, don't you think?

Joel Spolsky
Friday, November 14, 2003

Lame: sometimes definition by example is best.

Searching MSN for "Linux".  Note, these are not the "sponsored sites" on the right (which, yes, Google has, and are clearly recognizeable, but the "search results"):

Buy Linux software at the software store.

# eBay
Find great deals on Linux software and accessories. Also find millions of other items in over 18,000 categories.

# Introducing Linux
Find the latest news and information on this operating system.

# Alternatives to Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP
Learn about the Microsoft alternatives and how to move to them from open source products.

If that is not the definition of lame, or somehow the contextual nuance of lame escapes you, then we have found a new method for probing the ever deepening definition of the word "lame".

Friday, November 14, 2003

lame (adj) - lacking needful or desirable substance

(According to Merriam-Webster.)

In the context of MSN search (going by the original post), that 'lacking substance' is clearly relevance to the search criteria.  Obviously people have their own internal 'relevance metric', but for the purposes of a discussion site like this it's inappropriate to require somebody to be that explicit (since few people will even be aware of the details of their personal relevance measurements).  His relevance metric is close enough to the (implied) one of Google that using Google to measure MSN is suitably precise for him.

Perhaps you have some kind of personal bias when it comes to MSN?

Personally I agree with him.  MSN search is lame.  There's still a huge number of possibilities for more accurate relevance measurements beyond what Google has done, but it seems like the MSN people aren't even trying.  The original poster's suggestion that MSN's behavior betrays them as the lazy and fat child of privilege is, I think, also accurate.

Friday, November 14, 2003

google has ads on the side.
MSN (and many other search engines) have ads in the *results*.

google is mostly impartial. you may or may not agree with their algorithms.

MSN (and other paid placement may have been the first) claim be be 'web search engines' but are first 'ad search engines'.

Friday, November 14, 2003

PS: The point that Google's affect as a democratizing force on this particular market makes it more effective than its competitors can't be overstated, I think.  MSN's connection to Overture is a significant contribution to their lameness (that particular topic is a whole different [lengthy] discussion), and Google is beating both of them because their rules for both searchers and advertisers result in the largest net reward.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Even lamer...

The '' link it gives for "Introducing Linux" is broken...  despite it being a link to an MSN site!

Phillip J. Eby
Friday, November 14, 2003

mb, the more important point there (although of course it is lame of MSN to not mark their advertisements as advertisements) is that Google applies PageRank sorting to advertisements too.  Although the price is partially determined by market demand (what your competitors are willing to pay per click), it's also determined by relative popularity.  The difference in their operating models is enough that, I think, Google will completely slaughter Overture if they don't change their strategy.

Friday, November 14, 2003

The pop-up window ads MSN uses are also why it's l4m0r than Google.

Matthew Lock
Friday, November 14, 2003

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