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We are flattered, but...

For those of you who use some of the advanced query syntax in our search engine such as link:, linkdomain: and inurl:, you may have noticed that this functionality has been recently turned off. We have been seeing broad use of these features by legitimate users but unfortunately also what appears to be mass automated usage for data mining. So for now, we have made the tough call to block all queries with these operators.

We are doing our best to get this back online as soon as possible in a manner that allows folks that use this functionality for real queries. We have a few good ideas up our sleeve on how to enable this, but want to make sure we are making the right changes that will give you the functionality you want and all of our customers the experience they deserve. Our apologies and thank you for being patient. Keep an eye on our blog for updates.

Eytan Seidman

Lead Program Manager, Live Search

Betsynote: Edited this post April 2 to add the tags. Original posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 6:11 PM


  • Eytan - said it isn't so. I thought you guys didn't mind the scraping nor giving out the link data, helping to separate you from some of your competitors. I'm glad that you recognize there are plenty of legitimate uses for link data, but it seems onerous to throw out the whole barrel because of a few bad apples.

    Here's to hoping you change your mind soon. Webmasters everywhere will be hoping...

  • I say deflect those data miners with kittens. I love this project that MSFT did:

    Cats rock; just say no to dog captchas.

  • This is really a great shame. I use the link searches in my own research and teach them to my students. I know that the same is true for other academics, particularly within the field of Information Science. I have been teaching Windows Live instead of Google this academic year because of the extra link search capabilities.

    I hope that you can quickly find a solution that allows the link searches to be used again.

  • Not cool. Not cool at all.

    Disabling all functionality because of a few exploiters? No, not at all cool.

  • "we have a few good ideas up our sleeve on how to enable this"

    yeah, like this...

    step 1 - buy vista

    step 2 - install vista

    step 3 - search through vista


  • Buy Vista... seriously it's a great OS ... you need a mainframe to run it... but it searches great..  really it does.. it even does the linkback command on MSN

  • Hey, Google doesn't seem to have any problem coping with the requests.

    Is it because they have more hardware or a more performant engine ?

  • You can stil do a link command via hotbot, as I found posted by someone on digital point forums... how accurate is this now?

    Why cant MSN have some sort of webmaster control panel like Google has, or the Yahoo's Site Explorer? Ask users to sign up before giving them access to the commands?

    *shrugs... its real annoying that its gone :(

  • I have been an advertiser in adCenter since it was first launched in beta.  I was beginning to think that Microsoft may be moving forward with its search platform.

    Now it seems like you are taking steps back and making it harder for search marketers to use your platform.

    Lets hope you let these new *ideas* out of your sleeves VERY soon, otherwise I think risk losing yet even more market share...

  • Google has link search capabilities...unclear why that would be a reason to use need to "teach" Google searching, as it's really quite intuitive.

  • We've been wondering what went wrong with this service. When one types in the link: command, it doesn't even give an error page... it just shows a blank screen!

    I understand you had to turn it off because of spammers, but at least provide some error message or some indication to let genuine users know that the functionality is turned off!

  • No problem, we removed MSN/Live search from our backlink checking tools.

    I added others 2 major SE for checking BL. They are doing fine :)

    I never realize that our web tools query can make problem for big search engine like MSN. I don't believe it!

  • You're always going to get some automated bots...but who cares?  MSN should be wanting to be the "go to" search engine.  I use them all the time for the link command and my queries.  MSN wants to make it harder to search?  Fine...back to Google I go.  Microsoft, are you listening?

  • If you are trying to keep automated queries, then how about setting up a way for users that aren't trying to abuse these protocols instead of keeping everyone out?

  • Why not introduce a service for which people have to pay?