I designed and executed some tests to provide a (mostly) objective answer to this ongoing question.
The results are at:
Which search engine returns the best results?
Search Engine Optimization by NetBaldwin.com
Can you check your link Will.Spencer. I tried to click on your article and it said "the specified server could not be found."
I made a DNS error with the NS record at my parent name server.
Unfortunately, those are set to a default TTL of 48 hours.
I apoligize for the error.
It seems to be working again now. <blush>
Sweet. My favourite singer (Jimmy Buffett) being used as objective testing material. Attaboy!
* puts on a white sport coat and orders a pink crustacean and two more Boat Drinks *
Personally, I think this is a very well-thought and scientific manner to do things. Controlled experiments are always useful.
However, there are a few things I'd like to see: when lowering a score, show the irrelevant (if any) results.
Also, try looking up words and phrases that will generate a lot of spam results normally (such as "I90 ringtones") and see how the engines each handle them. I'd be interested to know how the scoring would pan out then.