We had an interesting experience recently with one of our customers who uses IBM’s WebSphere platform (several of our customer use this). This customer found out that there was an upgrade to the WebSphere search and so they decided to replace the search that SLI was providing with the new WebSphere search.
The new search was nicely presented – with options to refine and reorder the search. However the relevance was terrible. This customer has two sites with different brands but much of the same content – they kept our search on one site. A search for ipod on the site powered by us returned ipods with some of the new Nanos and ipod Touch at the top. A search for ipod on the WebSphere powered search returned no ipods in the first three pages of results – it was all accessories – products that contained the word ipod but weren’t actually ipods. From looking at the search results you would assume they don’t carry ipods.
The customer now has us powering the search on both their sites. This serves as an important reminder that of all the features you can have in a site search, having relevant results is the most important.