MSN’s Spider Egg

DayPop reports that a lot of people are linking to MSN’s information page about their new webcrawler. MSN currently uses Google to produce some of their search results, so this could be seen as the first step in developing their own search engine database.
But unless MSN can do a similarly good job as Google, there isn’t much point to them developing their own search engine. If the results suffer, people will just go over to Google. Still, competition is good among search engines because it prevents one organization from controlling all the traffic on the web. People still use search engines to find new sites, and a change in Google’s algorithm or database can now have huge ramifications for millions of sites. (And they are changing some stuff. A search for my name, Andrew Sinclair reveals that a link to some eclipse website has eclipsed me for the number one spot. My old URL comes up number 2. Obsessed people discuss here. (Winds from Update Esmeralda are now in full force.)
For now, Google’s database and MSN’s developing database are nearly irrelevant to placement in MSN search. MSN pulls the first results (and I think search engines are now good enough to prevent people looking past the first few results) from the Looksmart directory. You have to pay to be in Looksmart, but if you’re a non-commercial site, you can get into Looksmart free by getting into Zeal. Thus, Zeal is much more important for search engine traffic than most people think.

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