Bye bye MSN backlink check

If anyone was wondering why your backlink scraper tools haven't been performing properly, the reason could lie in MSN discontinuing the advanced queries on the search engine.

This announcement comes a couple of weeks ago - 28th March 2007. I had noticed these queries weren't working, but had just thought it was something broken and it would be back soon.

Looking at MSN's helpful error message, who could blame me?
MSN Link query helpful error message

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.

MSN say they will have it back online soon - who knows what this actually means. Maybe it's coming back with a CAPTCHA, maybe it's coming back "revamped" with less features than a cheap plastic watch.
Maybe it will come back better than ever (I really hope so, but I'm not banking on this).

Better than Google

What is unfortunate about this is that this was one of few tools where MSN is clearly better than Google. Google's backlink tool has been flawed for years, showing only a handful of the actual backlinks, while MSN's has always done a fairly decent job. Of course, only SEOs and webmasters use this tool, and this demographic probably represents the heaviest users least likely to click on a paid advertisement. Who can blame them, really.
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