The (Premature) Birth of the Cuil

Cuil, a brand new search engine (it just launched last Monday, and I think, given the founders’ somewhat inexplicable brio, was supposed to have put Google out of business by last Thursday), has metamorphosed, in one short week, from a potential Google-killer to a spectacular failure.

By and large, the SEO/M community approached Cuil with a resounding “whatever,” which has since become, in most cases, outright ridicule. For example:

The World According to CuilGoogle Blogoscoped

How Cuil Is The SEO Industry?Search Engine Land

How To Lose Your Cuil 20 Seconds After LaunchTechCrunch

SEOs Comment On Cuil, New Google CompetitorSearch Engine Roundtable

Even Yahoo, who usually picks up their own fair share of scorn, scored points on these guys with Yuil (and, seriously, you have to give them a hand for that one).

Do the folks at Cuil deserve the backlash?

Coming out of nowhere and billing itself as “the world’s biggest search engine,” Cuil had to know it was going to take some immediate heat from the search engine community.

Cuil, nobody cares if you have more indexed pages that anyone else (even if Google says otherwise). And whatever you’re doing with your image search is ludicrous. Turn it off. Fix it. Work out the kinks. It might also help if a person could tell which result was most relevant, rather than being served up a big old jumble/grab bag.

We’re all fans of the scrappy underdog. That’s why we’re so dismayed. We keep waiting for one to take on Google, which, while still the best search engine available, has become to many of those who make a living off the web a bloated despot. So please, take it back to your old drawing board, Cuil (provided you have enough cash, because it’s maybe going to be tough to drum up a whole lot more VC after the last seven days). Whip that algorithm into shape. You needed this last week to knock that chip off your shoulder. Your mission is clear. You could be a contender.

But right now, you’re just not cool.