remember, MSN: parameters matter in url's

Pick a page that’s valid, except for the parameter value you’re specify.  For instance, check out a slashdot article with a bogus sid (story id).  Note that this intentionally isn’t a link.

    http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=doesnotexist

Doesn’t exist – page gives an error.  Great.  That’s what we expect.

Now, ask the search engines to give you the pages that link to that page.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=link:http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl%3Fsid%3Ddoesnotexist
    http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=link%3Ahttp://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl%3Fsid%3Ddoesnotexist
    http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=link%3Ahttp://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl%3Fsid%3Ddoesnotexist
   
Notice those first two – both give no results.  That’s exactly what we expect – after all, noone will have linked to a page that doesn’t exist. 

However, our friends at MSN claim to be paying attention to the parameters and aren’t:

    Page 1 of 5,212 results containing link:http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=doesnotexist (0.01 seconds)

You can check the results – they link to http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl, sure, but not with the same sid value as we specified 🙂

Admittedly, I’m mainly posting this blog entry to make it simpler for me to send the feedback.

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