Geeks With Blogs
cType(YourBrain, MyBrain) ... DirectCast threw an exception.

MSN is looking for a few good men or women who can do the job that other companies probably just use screen scraping for. 

From the above job listing page:

Hand crafted results
When all else fails, and the ranking algorithms do not pass the confidence threshold, we fall back to delivering handcrafted results. Working on a team of approximately 132 other handcrafters in 26 worldwide markets, you will receive a user query, use all the available search engines to quickly scour the web for results, pick the top 10 results for this query, and send it on to the user. Successful handcrafters can typically find top 10 results for a real-time user’s query in less than 3.8 seconds. This is an opportunity to truly connect with customers, because the queries that get routed to you are precisely the ones that the engine cannot answer well. We will have adequate staffing to allow generous coffee and bathroom breaks.
If you are an expert at using at least 3 different search engines, well versed with American English/colloquial usage, and can type at > 149 words/minute as measured by the Simia-Lico method – come join us and delight users real-time!

My assumption is (based on the job description) that they are hiring in order to end around any anti-scrape technology that Google might implement. Hmmmmm…

What happens when the handcrafter receives a request for something illegal or immoral? The system is no longer automated – is liability transferred? If someone were to search for the latest Neil Young album and the handcrafter returned an MP3 link, does that then mean that the handcrafter gets the RIAA “fine”.?

What is the responsibility of the handcrafter to report the IP address, MSN user name of the person who queries “how to build a dirty bomb”?

Would you use MSN search if you knew (which you now know) that some handcrafter might see that you are searching for “hemorrhoid treatment center in or around Boone, NC”?

I type pretty fast and am fairly efficient when Googling. However, if I had to provide the top 10 results in 3.8 seconds to ANY query, then I could do little more than copy and paste the first 10 appeared – which sounds like a screen scrape to me. It doesn’t afford time to compare results, traverse links and determine which links are the most relevant – the engine that I just exploited does all that work for me.

 We will have adequate staffing to allow generous coffee and bathroom breaks.

I am glad that bathroom breaks are what they will have adequate staffing for. They might want to double up as many of their staff will probably require a little assistance.

 If you are an expert at using at least 3 different search engines

Even if one of those three is actually using the other two to give the results? I foresee an infinite loop where one handcrafter’s request gets handed off to another handcrafter’s request and so on and so forth. I guess it would ultimately end when one of the handcrafters had to take that much anticipated bathroom break.

 well versed with American English/colloquial usage

Well versed meaning: “lives in Bangalore”.

[Original Post]

Posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006 4:17 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: MSN Search - Who Knew?

# re: MSN Search - Who Knew?
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This is freaking ridiculous. You know that Google doesn't use any of this crap for their stellar search. There's no way that Microsoft will catch up to the big bad search giant with a room full of cheap labor. It's gotta, gotta, GOTTA be automated. Sheesh.
Left by Lorin on Jun 15, 2006 8:46 PM

# re: MSN Search - Who Knew?
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# re: MSN Search - Who Knew?
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