It seems as of last night MSN is now requiring end users to pass a cookie (specifically MC1) with all search and RSS feed requests. The cookie has 2 parts (V and GUID). V is always 3 for now (probably stands for VERSION), the second part is GUID which looks like an MD5 hash to me (32 character hexadecimal value). It also appears as if you can just make up the GUID to make it work (doesn’t validate against anything to make sure it’s valid).
Anyway, this seems really stupid, because now all the RSS feeds that were using MSN are going to break. The worst part is it doesn’t reject it, the web server simply holds the HTTP connection open (never returning anything and never closing it)… Nice! Wonder who’s idea that was. heh
Anyway, here’s a snippet of PHP code to form the cookie, which you can use with whatever you need (cookie name should be MC1):
[code=php]$cookie_mc1 = urlencode (â€˜V=3&GUID=â€™ . md5($_SERVER[â€˜SERVER_NAMEâ€™])); “test”[/code]
You can test this in your browser by going to any MSN search result page (for example this one) after you delete the MC1 cookie from .msn.com (if you have it).