MSN Search For Pizza In Redmond

    February 15, 2005

Seattle PI reports about an advertisement MSN Search ran on a vehicle that showed the phrase “pizza in Redmond” in search box.

The inquisitive reporter couldn’t resist trying the search for himself as soon as he got into the office. His results were pretty hilarious and he knew at that point he had a good story on his hands. I know how this feels so I thought I’d include some more info on the MSN Pizza Search fiasco, below are parts of his story…

Some of the MSN Search advertising banners and transit signs around the main Microsoft campus in Redmond are tailored to the area, including this one, above, that shows a search for “Pizza in Redmond.”

After seeing that sign, I couldn’t resist plugging that phrase into the MSN Search engine and a few other big search sites, just as an experiment to see how the results would compare. Looking at each of them, it’s pretty easy to conclude that the other three provide more useful results than MSN Search does for someone looking for pizza in Redmond….

…but then I looked more closely and realized that the advertising sign was promoting the “search near me” feature in MSN Search. So I readjusted my settings to put my location in Redmond, and did a simple search for “pizza” under that geographic constraint. The first non-sponsored result? Janitorial supplies.

Not wanting to rush to judgment, I also tried a search for the full phrase, Pizza in Redmond, under the Redmond geographic constraint, even though that would seem redundant. The first non-sponsored result was the resume of an aspiring computer programmer whose past experience included a stint as a delivery driver for Papa John’s Pizza in Redmond.

Just to be complete, I also tried the search under the Redmond geographic constraint with quotes around the phrase. Not much better…

Link to full story w/search results.

Jason Dowdell is a technology entrepreneur and operates the Marketing Shift blog.