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"web:Total" does not match Results RRS feed

  • Question

  • Have been testing the Live API before we release our recipe to the world.  anyways have found that in below query, the  "web:Total" does not match the amount of results returned.

    Code Snippet

    http://api.search.live.net/xml.aspx?AppId=MYMOMMASHOUSE123&Market=en-US&Query=soceer (site:neimanmarcus.com/ OR site:rockandrepublic.com OR site:bloomingdales.com OR site:backpage.com OR site:macys.com OR site:craigslist.org OR site:7forallmankind.com OR site:sevenjeans.us OR site:thedenimshop.com OR site:scottsdalejc.com OR site:wrangler.com OR site:luckybrandjeans.com OR site:truereligionjeans.com OR site:levis.com)&Sources=web+spell&Web.Count=5&xmltype=elementbased



    thanks!
    Thursday, January 15, 2009 9:34 PM

Answers

  •  

    That's correct. The value of total is an estimate and its accuracy varies greatly with the popularity of a query (more accurate with a common query, almost a random number with a very rare one).

    You should never use this value for any computation, as its value may even vary across different issuings of the same query in a session.

     

    Please note that this behavior is an artifact of the architecture of all modern search engines, and that this problem is not unique to Live Search. Increasing the accuracy of this estimate would have very deep consequences on other qualities of the system.

     

    HTH

     

    --Alessandro

    Friday, January 16, 2009 7:58 AM

All replies

  •  

    That's correct. The value of total is an estimate and its accuracy varies greatly with the popularity of a query (more accurate with a common query, almost a random number with a very rare one).

    You should never use this value for any computation, as its value may even vary across different issuings of the same query in a session.

     

    Please note that this behavior is an artifact of the architecture of all modern search engines, and that this problem is not unique to Live Search. Increasing the accuracy of this estimate would have very deep consequences on other qualities of the system.

     

    HTH

     

    --Alessandro

    Friday, January 16, 2009 7:58 AM
  • Hi Alessandro -

    How should we get accurate estimates then?

    The web total, in our case, isn't even close.

    For example: a search for [site:http://www.dell.com/] yields 84,300 results using Live Search. In the API, it yields 220 results.

     

    For other engines, I'm just not seeing this much of a difference. Google, for example, shows 265,000 in the web search and 262,000 in the API. Yahoo! Search shows 81,696 in their web search and 83,461 in their API. While the numbers aren't exactly the same, they are fairly close.

     

    We don't rely on this number for a calculation, but it is an important number for us when doing research.

     

    Thanks.

     

    Friday, January 23, 2009 5:32 PM