Microsoft Search Uses Hamsters

Ah, I finally understand why Microsoft is losing search share, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars: It uses hamsters for search. Check the following Microsoft search job posting, which I assume is not a joke, even if it sounds like one:

Hand crafted results
When all else fails, and the ranking algorithms do not pass the confidence threshold, we fall back to delivering handcrafted results. Working on a team of approximately 132 other handcrafters in 26 worldwide markets, you will receive a user query, use all the available search engines to quickly scour the web for results, pick the top 10 results for this query, and send it on to the user. Successful handcrafters can typically find top 10 results for a real-time user’s query in less than 3.8 seconds. This is an opportunity to truly connect with customers, because the queries that get routed to you are precisely the ones that the engine cannot answer well. We will have adequate staffing to allow generous coffee and bathroom breaks.

If you are an expert at using at least 3 different search engines, well versed with American English/colloquial usage, and can type at > 149 words/minute as measured by the Simia-Lico method – come join us and delight users real-time!

Assuming 132 people at $60,000/yr, that’s $7.9m a year in hamster costs. Fascinating.


  1. HA!
    Hamsters, or monkeys?
    From a marketing perspective, sometimes a black box should stay a black box.

  2. It’s a joke. It made the rounds of the SEO blogs last year. There’s no such thing as the
    “Simia-Lico method”, that’s probably the authors or some in-joke.

  3. Ah, a bit of searching shows “Simia-Lico” probably means “low paid monkey”.

  4. Hey, at least I thought it sounded like a joke. Have revised to reflect its non-truthy status.

  5. It’s MS’ response to Google’s secret Pigeonrank technology: