It amazes me why Microsoft would bother keeping some of it’s MSN sites that just plain fail. I certainly hope it’s not because Microsoft hopes that somebody lands on the page, and helps generate ad views to receive ad revenues. Because that’s what it seems like.
Now not all MSN content sites are ‘junk’. Definitely not all. But there are quite a few, where it looks like MS doesn’t even bother trying to do anything with it. And a lot of sites have reposted content from other sites (you know because it provides the direct source). So why bother? It’s better to not even have these sites, than to kill your reputation by putting up such garbage.
Here are some of the most notable garbage MSN sites I’ve seen:
MSN Travel – Pretty much a big advertisement site for Expedia. You can’t go around without seeing links for Expedia. Reviews are a joke on the site, as it’s pretty difficult to find what you can review, and MSN’s are also boring. Slideshows take forever to look at (often with no good pictures), no photo/video on many areas, most ‘tools’ are a joke to use, no national parks, landmarks, and did I mention how super static the site is? I say people should avoid the site. You’d get much more out of Y! Travel, Concierge, Lonely Planet, and Travel Channel.
MSN City Guides – Pretty much a site that does more to show-off other external MSN content sites than the city. ALL articles talk about a topic in general and point out places in select US cities. So these ‘articles’ don’t always have something to do with your city, which is dumb. The embedded Live Map works awful, there’s NO place to review local businesses, schools, hospitals, etc. There’s NO place to list classifieds (but external links go to Live Expo, which is dumb), whole site isn’t consistent, and given restaurants/events don’t have much more than a simple listing and a phone number. Poor excuse for calling the site ‘City Guides’. You get much more from your local newspaper’s site or even Y! Local. I even did a select review the other day.
MSN Money – Points off on the site for being so disorganized. There’s links to external articles EVERYWHERE. And sometimes to non-MSN money sites. And the site’s super bland than most MSN sites, and would it be hard to put some ‘design’ elements to make it look better and friendlier? There’s a whole lot of blue on the site, and I don’t think a financial site should be having the color blue around everywhere. There is a lot of info. on the site, but I can’t tell how good it is because trying to find something is a bit confusing, and it would help if it weren’t so bland.
MSN Shopping – Absolutely the WORST MSN site ever. It’s like the main part of the site was created in the 90’s and hasn’t been updated to a more modern look since then. This site IS an advertisement, with links to a lot of vendor sites and whatnot. All I can say is give the site a major makeover, simplify, buy things DIRECTLY on the MSN site (you always have to make accounts on other external links), OR just trash the site. Better luck replacing the site with Live Product Search (which is still in beta and hasn’t even been upgraded to 2.0. yet). Microsoft has a lot to learn with online shopping. Microsoft doesn’t even have a good online store to buy their products. Except this lame one.
MSN Tech – This site is a joke. ALL the articles are yet again, reposted material from other sites with the sources attached. Nothing at all original. And even if this is Microsoft we’re talking about, how about some Mac stuff somewhere? Anywhere? Though I at least have to give credit it’s not completely just Microsoft-biased. I’ve seen posts talk about Vista-disappointment, and a little about Xbox 360’s hardware issues. But overall, the site is a bore. There’s not much useful on this site that you can’t find on your more popular tech sites.
White Pages & Yellow Pages – Do these sites even belong with MSN? After all, these are practically search engines. So it’s rather idiotic to put them as a MSN content site. Otherwise, White Pages could use a decent consistent UI look, and Yellow Pages strange mix of Windows Live + MSN at the same time could use straightening out, and less boxy modular look. Just toss them out of the MSN branding, give them both a better Live 2.0 UI, and that’s it.
MSN People and Chat – This site hasn’t been updated in both design AND content since it was made. So yeah, a bunch of cruddy links to past MSN services, and the relic MSN Groups. Can’t wait to check out the new Live Groups under Live Spaces and see this site tossed out.
So these are the junkiest, mixed-up, confusing MSN sites I could find. Or at least considered. Hopefully Microsoft will do something about them, because they’re a serious joke. I’m betting MOST people would find these sites something to avoid than any other site of the same matter. Unless Microsoft does something, these sites are a serious junk pages.