MSN Search Goes Mad In March

David A. Utter By David A. Utter
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Another sports-driven arrangement between Microsoft and Fox Sports will deliver men’s basketball tournament information to users of MSN Search with the site’s Instant Answer technology.

MSN Search Goes Mad In March
March Madness Comes To MSN Search

How do you get your hoops fix in March? Would you use a search engine to deliver your scores, or do you prefer sports websites? Hit us on the fly with your comments at WebProWorld.

College basketball fans who are stuck in cubicles while the early rounds of the NCAA tournament take place can keep up with the scores through MSN Search. While the jaded Internet user may not see this as the useful benefit it is, the deal between Fox and Microsoft offers a very positive side.

First a quick overview of what MSN Search will do with Instant Answers and the tournament. By typing in the name of a school, like University of Kentucky, MSN Search returns the real time score of that team’s game taking place. Previous game results and next scheduled game details will also appear.

Do a query for March Madness, and MSN Search brings back the real time updates for all the games in progress. Also, Microsoft and Fox Sports have an online bracket contest planned where the top three winners will receive high-definition televisions.

Ok, now I’ll address the question of how this is a good alternative for the cubicle-imprisoned. While anyone can indeed hit ESPN, CBS Sportsline, or even the regular Fox Sports website for scores and information, those visits could be used against the innocent hoops fan.

Many companies track their employees’ Internet usage, and use software that sorts surfers by how many megabytes traffic they have generated. All of those sports sites do a great job of delivering rich media in the form of images and even videos. On a usage report, that rich media will inflate the traffic number greatly.

Other firms may use their filtering software or access control lists to block access to sports sites entirely. Either way, poor Mark from Advertising is in deep trouble when the boss sees the reports on just what Mark has been doing instead of finishing his catalog page layouts.

I used to be one of those IT oppressors, and generated and distributed those types of reports. I have since turned away from the Dark Side, which is a good thing because my child is old enough to handle a lightsaber and I’d like to keep my right arm. Daddy’s reformed, son, see?

Search traffic provides primarily text-based results. Innocuous queries to MSN Search generate little traffic and less notice among the more uptight breed of controlling management types. Hopefully MSN Search has provided a little ray of sunshine for basketball fans in those oppressive environments.


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About David A. Utter
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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