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MSN Search Outage

First of all, we’d like to apologize for the lateness of this blog post. We know folks have been concerned about the recent outage of MSN Search, what that means for them and us, and what we are doing to address it. A lot of the team was engaged in technical matters yesterday and today is really the first chance we’ve had to catch our breath and talk more about it. Next time we will be more ready to blog and let you know what the word is.
Second, we’d like to apologize for the outage itself. It’s not the kind of thing you expect from us, and it’s not frankly what we expected either. We are still troubleshooting the cause of the failure at this time, and to assist us in that we have disabled the speller function of Search. Once we are done, that functionality will be restored, but for now, we ask that you bear with us as we figure out what went awry. People are monitoring the servers minute-by-minute, working on this. We know it is important to you. People here feel like they’ve been punched in the stomach when the site goes down – it’s important to us too.
Sometimes we find the answer quickly and sometimes it takes quite awhile to diagnose. Typically the length of time it takes to diagnose correlates to the severity of the outage. Say you are in a car accident – a rear-end collision at 10mph can turn into a 10-car pileup, and the folks at the end of the line have a hard time figuring out exactly why their car was affected. This one is taking us more time, and we wish it wasn’t . We will definitely keep you posted as things progress.

Delighting our customers is our #1 job.  Yesterday we didn’t do our job.  Everyone here on the search team is dedicated to bringing you the best answer to your query – whenever you ask it.  We’re still new to the search business – and in many ways we’re still learning.

Ken Moss
General Manager Web Search


  • "It’s not the kind of thing you expect from us"

    How wrong you are...
  • And why do you link my name to your blogs site?? I left the URL field blank. Despicable.
  • Zupov, you must have a *huge* chip on your shoulder.

    If this is the "kind of thing you expect"... why do you use MSN Search, much less browse and comment on the blog?
  • Well, unlike the first poster, I do appreciate an honest, straightforward response such as this.  As a developer/DBA, I know that "punched in the stomach" feeling when something goes down and I can feel the heat and the pressure everyone must have been under to get this outage resolved.  

    I'm by no means a MSFT apologist, but I think posts like these show the power in corporate blogging and the connection it truly has with end users.  

    Thank you for the update and I think we're all curious to hear the full post mortem on this outage - especially those who rely heavily on revenue generated from your SERPs.  
  • I'm not particular bothered by the outage. This is not a recurring event. What bothers me is that MSN does not have the leadership feature of Microsoft. It emulates other search engine rather than build it own leadership features. Sorry if I'm kind of harsh. Don't mean bad.
  • Do not care about, google all has the strange question, continues to try hard。
  • What happened again? Outlook had allowed a virus in that crashed Windows and I was spending the day reinstalling and setting up, so I was offline most of the day... again.
  • A day and a half after a total site down problem (not quite a "crash"), and you don't have any technical detail to share?  

    It's nice to hear the thrice-told expression of concern, but I'd like to hear some juicy details.
  • Ken and all,

    The blog post is appreciated. Don't be deterred by the negative comments.
  • Weak!
  • It does seem confusing that an organization of this magnitude would have something like this happen and NOT discover WHY much sooner.

    What checks and balances should have been in  place to avoid this or at least alert you to the probability of this happening.

    Coming the day after this interview is unfortunate...

    But of course, something analagous happened to Google a few months back.
  • Atleast MSN acknowledge the fact:

    "We’re still new to the search business – and in many ways we’re still learning"

    Hopefully they will correct this and also the quality of results :)
  • See How nice a site can be  Also how nicely they had placed the keyword and title ect.. Really great
  • What's with the harsh comments?

    I was working on a bit of software that used MSN Search that day. I though that my code was at fault for a second! Then when I found it that it was you guys. I didn't feel like I had been punched in the stomach at all, I was quite pleased to say 'It's MSN's fault!'

    Hehe! Keep up the hard work :)
  • Google rules :)

    Ubuntu rules :D