As of January, 2012, this site is no longer being updated, due to work and health issues

Search Tools Survey - Product Ratings with Fewer Responses

This page lists search engines which have one to five responses in the survey: not enough for even a rough average. However, we find the user comments on advantages and disadvantages to be fascinating and enlightening -- just be sure to check the date reported (new versions may have addressed the problems) and note how long the program was in use on that date.

See the Survey Summary page for information on other search engines and the survey methodology

Disclosure: The site is provided as a free service to the web development community and is not sponsored by any advertisers. However, Search Tools Consulting has provided analysis and information to search engine devlopers including Atomz, AltaVista, Siderean, Google, Inktomi, Maxum (Phantom) and Mondosoft (MondoSearch). We do not give them site visitor or survey personal information or allow our relationships with any vendors to change any product review or analysis.

Listing of Less-Common Search Engines

Sorted by Name, Rating, How Long (length of time used), and Date Reported

SearchTool rating how long date reported What about this search tool works well? Any problems or issues with this search tool?
Alkaline 5 6 months 07/1999 It does what I want and does not pretend to do more. It's easy to install and it's free. -
2 1 year 11/1999 Fast searches Handles PDF files well Timeouts in some versions Bugs in current version Support agreement not forthcoming
2 3 months 10/1999 - -
AltaVista 4 2 years 09/1999 AV currently provides a broader search than SWISH-E Am somewhat distressed that it does not recognize Dublin Core meta tags.
2 5 years 07/2001 - old version
2 3 months 04/2000 indexes pdf files -
1 3 months 01/2000 - we have not been able to optimize it for our site. we have multiple feeds (news, weather, entertainment) and these always surface before any real meaty relevant pages
Apple e.g. 2 3 years 03/2000 Very good stemming, intelligent searches, high quality returns It crashes; not supported, but we can't find anything better. We're looking and all of the Mac products have problems.
1 1 year 06/2000 serves up pages reasonably closely related to the query crashes the machine
1 ?? 01/2000 - It takes a very long time to return any pages, and when it serves up the page, the url changes nightly, so that pages are not bookmarkable
Architext 1 4 years 05/2001 - It can't search numbers or citations of legalese.
1 1 year 07/2001 simple Doesn't index numerals (we're a transit agency, with route numbers).
Architext 2 5 yrs 01/2001 Free. Relatively easy to configure. Doesn't search the DB, so must create ugly workarounds. Doesn't support multiple languages. No support from vendor.
Autonomy 3 1 year 11/2000 - -
beseen 4 4 months 04/2001 great customization for look and feel just started including "featured" search results which are NOT on my site
2 6 months 05/2000 It is easy to find on the site and customizes the display of the information in order of relevancy. It slows down the download of the pages considerable and sometimes will not load at all or create a backup and will information is lost.
2 3 months 12/1999 - I have to specifically instruct it to reindex when new information is added and it can only be reindex once every seven days
bravenet search 3 - 06/2001 good speed to much advertising
CNIDR Isearch 2 5 years 11/2000 it finds the relevant documents. Isearch returns only the URL and title of relevant documents. This isn't very useful on our site--our documents are huge--average between 500K and 1MB each. I'd like the results page to display excerpts from the document that show context.
DBtextworks Intranet Spider 3 2 months 04/1999 You can add fields and edit information in the database itself, eg. value added indexing terms and abstracts which aid retrieval. Total control over design of query screens and report formats. Every searching feature known to mankind (except proximity)- boolean within and across fields, field specific, range searching Will spider documents in a file directory too if asked to. Not yet
Fast Site Search 5 one year 06/2001 relevant results, good performance, native xml indexing, and its pretty easy to use no
Fluid Dynamics 4 1 week 08/1999 Good output, that is very important. No problems with administration. Easy to do, fast to crawl. -
2 3 months 02/1999 Records details of searches in a file. Has peculiar case sensitivity - doesn't always find pages containing words in a different case. Only searches the site it is running on, would like it to also search other web sites that I specify.
1 3-4 months 03/2000 Easy set up and template design. Multiple directory levels cause problems and number of directories slows it down.
Hummingbird Seach Server (formerly Fulcrum)w 2 2 years 02/2001 - -
2 2 years 08/1999 fast, has vendor API hard to maintain, not many new features, vanilla keyword searching, low throughput/not scalable
2 1 month 07/2000 - -
Google 3 2 years 02/2001 typing -
Harvest 3 3 years 03/2000 Searching performance is good! Very flexible can't do fuzzy search,only keywords
2 4 years 11/1999 - -
2 4 years 04/1999 - will no longer cope with newer developments, specifically can't cope with http v1.1 on server so much of site no longer indexed
2 four years 03/2001 good indexing slow search
HitBox Search 1 1 year 09/2000 fast they don't re-index pages
HomePageSearch applet 2 5 months 08/2000 Free, easy and works Much too slow
Hotlinks 4 1 month 12/1998 - -
Hyperseek 1 1 year 11/1999 - complicated to install and update - complicated user interface - to expensive
IBM NetQuestion 1 6 months 09/2000 Very little Many symbols (eg. UK pound sign) not searchable. Differences in results returned between browsers. Keyword search only (limited to 5 words). Slow. Limited information about returned results. Ranking of results cannot be modified and seems random.
iCat 1 4 weeks 05/1999 - questionable returns, obscure syntax, lack of insight into indexer
ICE 3 not yet 06/1999 it will be fast. It requires a keyword index; I'm trying to come up with a way to pick out proper people and place names to also treat as keywords. [adaptation using ASP (perlscript, vbscript) and SQL DB] Difficult and time-consuming to implement
2 2 years 01/2000 Reasonably fast Prefer more options for user
2 8 months 04/2000 Fast, easy to install & Customise, Free Not terribly accurate, too dependant on titles and META tags, lack of configurablility
iFilter 4 6 months 07/1999 indexes CONTENT of PDF files periodic incompatibilities between Adobe and Microsoft
Inquery 5.0 4 3 months 01/1999 - -
Intelligent Miner for Text 2 1 year 07/2000 - no Java API not enough sort criteria
Lotus Domino Search Version 4.6 3 Three years 06/2001 - It meets our business needs of being able to search based on field level. ie: language=english - It is free with the domino server. - It has limitations on how to narrow searchs, therefore, making it less effective because it returns too many hits.
Lotus Search Engine 1 6 months 09/2000 - -
Lycos Site Spider 1.0 2 8 months 02/1999 Easy to configure, returns results quickly will not do "Fuzzy" or "Like" searches. Seems to be case sensitive.
Microsoft Site Server 2 1 year 06/2001 Indexing, unlimited catalogs Excluding content is cumbersome
NetIS 5 2 years 09/1999 Full text search with advanced search options (wildcards, proximity, boolean etc.) Hit highlighting + pinpoint navigation Ability to fully customize the looks & feel + data display (for the user as well) through usage of CSS Ability to deal with super big databases Ability to do web-publishing through our engine Abiloity to perform page-sensitive banners and many more NO.
OfficeVision/400 4 10 years 07/1999 Combined search of content and object descriptions IBM are withdrawing support
Oneworld Search engine 1 two years 02/2001 Not much Very slow, not accurate results
Oracle ConText 1 1 year 03/2000 No special entry rules Need to search content of pages (HTML), not just titles.
Oracle InterMedia - not yet 05/2000 - -
Perlfect 4 1 month 09/2000 Simple to install (also on more virtual servers) and easy to configure nope, but maybe too little features
2 1 Year 01/2000 Ease of use Too generic the results returned.
Phantom 4 1 month 03/1999 Robot not yet
3 3 years 12/1998 Easy to customize Multiple logical indexes Crawling is slow Data file is fragile- not robust
2 - 12/2000 poorly bug
1 - 10/2000 - -
PicoSearch 2 1 year 06/2000 quick and easy no longer works
2 1 week 06/1999 quick never updated
- 1 day 08/1999 - -
PLWeb 1 3 months 03/1999 template configuration big probblems creating a large index, data can only be added incementally
Qfinder 1 2 years 11/2000 - slow and doesn't work well in client/server environment.
ResourceMiner 2 3 years 08/2000 It can do a content, natural language query and opens the PDF to the exact page of the hit. The hit words are highlighted. Biggest problem is it only searches PDFs. It is hard for people to understand a natural language query when they are used to simple word matching.
Sambar 2 1 month 08/2000 - can't spider other sites
Search Light 3 2 months 05/1999 - -
Search Maestro 4 3 years 11/2000 Most things are OK. Frozen development
SearchCSV 4 4 months 06/2001 Results returned CGI Pathnames
sfe search (cgi written in pearl) 4 2 weeks 01/2001 either exact or close results. clean uncluttered index pages. Its free. a bit difficult to implement for a nvice
Sinky Search Engine 1 2 months 07/1999 Nothing I does not display any thing expcet the query in in the address bar
Site Server (Microsoft) 5 6 months 04/1999 Speed, Indexable properties -
3 1 month 10/1999 GOOD -
2 2 years 08/2000 - -
2 6 months 11/2000 works well for small site but we will be growing exponentially now reporting is problematic and inadequate
2 1 yr. 07/2001 Reasonble flexibility not an out of the box solution
SiteMiner 2 1 month 11/1999 - -
1 1 day 03/2000 Ease of set up. Includes www search as well. This site does not combine an index that includes my 4 different URL's.
SQL tablescans 2 1 week 10/2000 The amount of content is small enough so that it performs reasonably It is a temporary solution, much functionality is needed and when sote load and content increase it will not work.
Surf Map 2 9 months 11/2000 Includes site map with search function Very slow, doesn't always find content it should
unknown 3 3 months 10/2000 all ok
unknown 1 about a year 01/2001 it produces results not designed, sometimes no good relevance
WAIS 3 4 years 03/1999 fast, easy to administer, contols of "look and feel" with templates, etc. limited search results display options (i.e. it returns a "headline" which cannot be fielded or otherwise specified, except in terms of no. of characters.; no option to search within a search, or save searches.
2 4 years 01/1999 - slow
2 3 years 01/1999 - we don't have the budget to customize it properly (i.e., utilize our documents' inherent structure, properly leverage the documents' keywords which come from controlled vocabularies]
web-search/dataeasy 2 A couple of years 02/2001 - Difficult to make it see the diference between "kansas," and "Arkansas"
WebBoard 4 don't know 10/2000 Over all the Oreilly's WebBoard is a good package, but the search tool doesn't search document attatchments. search tool doesn't search document attatchments.
WebIndex / WebFind 1 5 years 06/2000 It doesn't work very well at all. It returns a very long list and often the list of items is irrelavent. Doesn't provide enough information about the file. Doesn't search the mega tags.
1 3 years 05/1999 can run on schedule, allows us to exclude files based on file names contains, file title contains takes too long to create and merge indices, not always accurate
WebSTAR Search 4 1 year 02/1999 Natural language query results are very accurate (usually the answer I am looking for is in the top 3 results) People don't understand how to do natural language queries, bad PDFs can corrupt the entire index.
WhatUSeek 3 1 year 12/1999 Keyword search Lack of updating
2 6 months 04/2000 it's there. has soundex... cannot sort by date. indexes different number of pages each time spidering done.. no help link... no email contact for help.
1 6 months 09/2000 - I suspect there is some limit, but I have no documentation or statement from the search provider.


July 2001 Survey Results

Sites & Search
 - Why Install
 - Why Not Installed
 - Site Sizes
 - Update Rate
 - Server Location
 - Languages
 - Multilingual Sites
 - File Formats
 - Summary
 - Popular
 - Custom
 - Others


This survey is copyright © 1998-2003 by Search Tools Consulting, and all rights are reserved. The survey was designed, analyzed and reported by Avi Rappoport. Personal information in the survey will be kept private at all times. For reprint permissions or survey aggregate data purchase, please contact Search Tools Consulting.