As you would imagine, the launch of a new MSN Search Beta brought lots of conspiracy theories out into the open, and between the alleged flights of black helicopters, I thought I would give you guys some of the facts.
We have the first set of reported MSN Bombs on our Beta. If you search for ‘more evil than satan’ the first result is Google. If you type in ‘evil corporation‘ (thanks, Jeremy) the first result is Microsoft. The query more evil is a bit more diplomatic showing both companies in the top two. These results come from our algorithms not from humans. One factor our Beta uses in ranking pages is the text of links that point to a page. If many links to a site contain a certain word or phrase, that site will rank highly in a query for that word or phrase. When you see an unusual result for a provocative phrase, this is frequently the cause (and this has happened before). We are constantly refining our ranking algorithms to produce the best, most accurate results, expect these refinements to change.
Another rumor that we would like to discuss is that we are scraping Google’s results to build our index. This is not true. As MSNDude has said we respect robots.txt and will not scrape Google’s results pages. We built our index using our crawler and with the help of people who submitted their site to us.
Keep the questions & feedback (& accusations coming; we’re listening to them and learning.