Monday, October 08, 2007

MSN Live's New Algo Should Be Named Site Sniper

MSN Live is anything but subtle when it comes to algorithmic tweaking (a.k.a., site sniping). About two weeks ago I noticed they bumped one of my new sites from their index. I figured it was a short-term "adjustment" and would correct itself. It never did. Early last week they erased one of my large sites - a site that has been indexed for nearly a year and that dominated positions 1 - 5 for several keywords.

After they sniped my large site, I contacted them using their email form. I received an automated response stating:

"Occasionally, a website may disappear from search results as we change our website-ranking algorithms. In some cases, search results may change considerably as we test new algorithms. If the placement of your web site changes you should check back in two weeks. It can take a couple of weeks for changes to stabilize...We may remove a website from the index if the website was reported as spam. If you think your site may have been mistakenly marked as spam, please reply to this message."

Following their advice, I replied to their automated message with a brief email stating, "I think my site(s) were mistakenly marked as spam and removed."

The next day I received a response from Arlene with Live Search Technical Support stating, "I want to let you know that your inquiry is quite isolated and unique. I will be forwarding this case to our product specialists, who will then engage additional resources to further investigate this matter."

Three days later I received a response from James with Microsoft Global Escalations stating, "I have been assigned to help you with your issue, and my records indicate that the issue you are experiencing is with Live Search and indexing of your page...We are aware of this issue and are diligently working to resolve this. Please check back in 48hrs."

Although I initially thought I was the only target, it appears others have been sniped as well.

I'll provide a follow-up once I've been re-indexed.

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