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July 30, 2008

If Cuil Can't Find Itself, How's It Going to Kill Google?

By Li Evans

Cuil.com screenshot of a search for www.cuil.comSo like everyone else who has a blog and an email address in the search industry I got that press release about Cuil.com launching.  With all the fanfare and ballyhoo around it being started by ex-Google employees, one would think this search engine would kick some butt right?

My "non-search" friends all thought because it had an ex-Google in one of the driving seats, it certainly had to be a contender against Google.  I wasn't going to write anything, since it was covered by Simon, Danny and  a slew of other people, but then something my friend Dom said to me in an email really blew me away and felt I had to post about this.

Dom searched for "www.cuil.com" on Cuil, and guess what, it didn't even appear in its results!  How's that for relevance?!

Cuil.com search for 'liana evans'Lets not even talk about how slow it is, and poorly it performs with pulling up images with its listings.  I want to know where these images are coming from.  I did a search for "Liana Evans",  my lianaevans.com site comes up - great! right?  But who the heck is that dude in the picture listed with my site?  I have no clue, and that image is not on my site nor is it on ANY of the sites I'm affiliated with (SEM Clubhouse, Internet Marketers of the Delaware Valley or KeyRelevance).  This is just really bizarre!

Then I noticed that the same exact article appeared twice, but with different pictures attached to it.  I tripled checked this, but my eyes were not deceived, the same listing (same URL, same wording) and all was presented within my 11 results.  This is just really odd too!

Lastly I did a search for "keyrelevance", which is the company I work for.  When I first did the search when the new release came out, the logo for WAA came up with our listing, but I failed to get that screen shot. We are a member of the Web Analytics Association, but I just don't get why it chose that image to represent the company, when we have clearly tagged and marked what's KeyRelevance and what's not on the site.  All the other entries have bizarre images as well.

So until Cuil.com can find it'self relevant for a search on it's own domain name, and until it can pull images up for "liana evans" that are clearly marked "liana evans" I think I'm going to deem this search engine, non-relevant.  Folks, I'd use MSN before I use this, and that says a lot.  "Google killer", Cuil.com is not.

*postscript to this, I did this research when they first launched (7/28) and yesterday (7/29) after my conversations with Dom.  I wrote this very late last evening and put up the screenshots on flickr this afternoon (real work supercedes SMG writing!), it does seem as Dom comments, they fixed this issue (Cuil not ranking for www.cuil.com), and the image issue, but it's relevancy is still not "on".  I'm not really ready to give this a second try.... and I still don't believe this is a Google Killer.


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Hey, I am always happy to inspire. And guess what? They fixed it and they now come up first if you do a search for www.cuil.com. Either they read your blog, or a bunch of other people had the same idea I had and sent them smack down messages. To be fair, perhaps there was just a glitch in the index or whatever. I am going to check it out some more.

By the by, a search for your name no longer displays pics. In fact, many less search results do. I think they had a problem with the wireups between images and search results and turned some of it off.

I for one am going to give it some time. Choppy start, but you never know.

Thanks for the post.

By the way, the site is STILL not ranking itself if you search on "Cuil com". It appears that they just did a last minute hack for that one term.

why would you be looking for the Cuil website if your using Cuil ??? maybe thats why its not listed ...think Cuil is Goal in english too,, if its ment to be an irish word...

Besides that the servers went down the first day and cuil.com does not existed in their own serps, I agree about images, who knows where those images are coming from. The name is not cool, is wierd.

Cuil was Cuill until the last minute they gone public. So you can't really blame them for that, it's only a matter of time until they index them self.

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