Advertising is NOT a Search Feature

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Live.com recently did a small overhaul of it’s search with a resounding “Who Cares?” as a result. The most obvious cosmetic change is sponsored results at the top of the results list. Hey Live.com, advertising is not a feature. I want high quality results for my search – whatever else you throw in doesn’t matter to me. Updates to Entertainment, Health, Local and Shopping, which apparently account for 40% of all Live.com searches may have changed the result sets, but they don’t change the fact that Live.com search results still suck. Where’s the “Did you mean?” feature that corrects my spelling when I fat finger the keyboard? Why aren’t Judy’s Book, Angie’s Book, and Yelp all weighted heavily in restaurant searches in local? Possibly the best example of this comes in Brandon’s comparison of local results for his new favorite Thai restaurant, Tee Nee Thai. Both Google and Live.com pull up Yelp reviews near the top of the list, but Live.com quickly degenerates into porn links (which are not based in Santa Clara, CA where the restaurant is located). I understand advertising is a necessary evil of the search business – I make a good living via advertising. That doesn’t mean it should be the only noticeable change when you roll out new search features. The number of people who work for Microsoft and use Google for search should be telling. Buy Ask.com, take Brandon’s suggestion to create a Google Custom Search engine as the new Live.com, or pack it in and go home because Live.com has never been a great search tool.

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3 comments

  1. So…it’s not yet as good as the #1 search engine, therefore they should pack up and go home. Good logic.
    The new results do seem better than before and I like the new Shopping features.
    Aren’t you in favor of more competition in the search buisness? They’re making improvements, this moves the industry forward, you get to rant (more money), all is good.

  2. @Brandon Furwangler: I didn’t write about Yahoo’s new search engine, which is darned close to matching the results of Google in quality. Yahoo is moving search forward. Ask has more useful results – Ask is moving search forward. Live.com has continued to offer sub-par results. I see more hope in a new company coming from nowhere to challenge Google than Live.com fixing all the problems they have with quality search results.

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