Is Cuil Trying too Hard to be Cool?

I’m too sexy for cool, errr… I mean Cuil

The new search engine in town thinks it can be a player alongside Google. But that name is gonna be a problem, I think.

From their press release;

“Cuil (pronounced COOL) provides organized and relevant results based on Web page content analysis. The search engine goes beyond today’s search techniques of link analysis and traffic ranking to analyze the context of each page and the concepts behind each query. It then organizes similar search results into groups and sorts them by category.”

When i first saw the name, before anyone told me it was supposed to be pronounced “cool”, the thought that came to my mind was “quil”. And now that they tell me it’s supposed to be “cool”, I’m thinking “lame”. Everybody knows that trying too hard to be cool is just not, erm…., you know, cool.

So how is their name going to spread when they use an obscure spelling where people will need to be explicitly informed on how to pronounce it. Not only that, as the people at search engine watch pointed out, they are up against a brand name that has become part of the lexicon. “Google it” will be hard to compete against.

The presentation of their results are certainly interesting and placing an image next to each result is a “cool” idea. They just need to get better at choosing the right image, and particularly one from the actual site they are listing.

I dont see how their new ranking method can compete with Google’s link based popularity contest. From their About page;

“Rather than rely on superficial popularity metrics, Cuil searches for and ranks pages based on their content and relevance. When we find a page with your keywords, we stay on that page and analyze the rest of its content, its concepts, their inter-relationships and the page’s coherency.”

So a content based ranking algorithm seems to me like the search engines of old (pre-Google) where keyword stuffing was the SEO technique de rigueur. Too easy to game while at the same time creating a poor reading experience for users. But they are also looking at organizational structure of the site and how the other pages interrelate with each other. Not sure how that works just yet but conceivably could provide some level of relevance over and above simple keyword spamming. We’ll see.

It’s their indexing efficiency they are trying to use as their key selling point. Able to index a large number of pages (they claim 120 billion so far) and able to do so much more efficiently and cheaper. 10 times cheaper. Users won’t care about that but other search engines will.

So my predictions for is that the name wont let them be a real contender in the search market, their ranking algorithm will struggle to produce relevant results, but their indexing technology may make them a nice buyout target for Google or MSN as a cost cutting method.

I’m hedging my bets though. Should they become a contender I picked up a few juicy domain names. Based on some of the names already taken like and every typo version you can imagine, some think it might go somewhere.

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • BlinkList
  • Furl
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

DoFollow links available for frequent commentors.

4 Comments to “Is Cuil Trying too Hard to be Cool?”

Andrew Shotland (1 comments.) on July 29th, 2008 wrote:

Whatever they may or may have screwed up with their launch, at least they have generated a serious amount of backlinks so the domain itself will likely have considerable value.

There might even be a great strategy here. Leak that you are starting a competitor to Google. Launch with a vaporware product (not saying that Cuil is one of these) and generate a ton of negative press and backlinks. Suddenly you have a very rankable domain.

Stever on July 29th, 2008 wrote:

Yes, it’s certainly getting lots of buzz and links from within the seo and tech communities and the news wires.

I bet the accountants at GOOG and MSFT are tapping the keypads on their calculators as they contemplate potential buyout prices.

rimroll on October 19th, 2008 wrote:

here is the problem with cuil
they bit off more then they could chew
it could be great
some of the ideas are very good
ideas and implemantation are 2 differant things

Stever on October 19th, 2008 wrote:

Seems like their just dead in the water now anyways. Top execs are bailing out.

Leave a Comment