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MSN handing out lumps of coal for the holidays?

MSN finally reinstated the advanced link queries, but now they seem to have disappeared, leaving search marketers and site owners with no link information.

MSN, please say it isn't so.

As earlier reported, the MSN Live Search team had reinstated the link queries, though with a twist... now requiring a "+" in front of either the link: or linkdomain: query operators. But now it appears that the query is no longer working again.

But right now, it appears there is no love to be found at MSN for link queries:

Live Search link query results.
Live Search link query results.

Nor linkdomain queries:

Live Search linkdomain query results.
Live Search linkdomain query results.

Hopefully, this is just a glitch, but if not, then hopefully the Live Search team will make up their minds once and for all and either reinstate the special queries or kill them altogether.

The problem is that search marketers and Web site owners alike use these queries to measure and benchmark their visibility on the Web, as well as the success of their link building. These queries were originally decommissioned due to extreme load from automated queries.

Now that MSN has launched its new Webmaster Center, there is a thought that it will build this into its interface. While this may help alleviate the automated queries, it will probably be limited to the site that is validated within Webmaster Center. Unfortunately, this means that there won't be any way to measure against similar or competitor sites.