Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cuil is dead

Cuil is dead:
Cuil, the much maligned search engine that at one time had hopes of toppling Google, has gone offline ... It may be done for good. Those employees who are still with the company apparently weren't paid this week, and they're starting to say they’re looking for new jobs.
Flashback to the hype of July 2008 around Cuil:
Take yesterday's over-hyped launch of stealth search startup Cuil, which was quickly followed by a backlash when everyone realized that it was selling a bill of goods. This was entirely the company's own fault. It pre-briefed every blogger and tech journalist on the planet, but didn’t allow anyone to actually test the search engine before the launch.

The company's founders have a good pedigree ... But creating a big index is only half the battle. A good search engine has to bring back the best results from that haystack as well. Here Cuil falls short ... The results Cuil returns aren't particularly great, and sometimes completely off the mark.
And what happened soon after:
The launch of the search engine was nothing but a classic PR trainwreck, with much hype and little to show for. Cuil failed to deliver good enough results to drive anyone to change their search behavior, and quickly became the subject of backlash and criticism because of their poor performance and indexing methods that actually took websites down in the process.

I took a peek at how they're doing traffic-wise out of sheer curiosity. After all, with no less than $33 million in funding and a founding management team consisting of ex-Google search experts, something had to give, right? Well, no. Cuil isn't performing well any way you look at it ... search engine traffic is nearing rock bottom.

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