Cuil Interest Shows Hunger For Search Competitor

They might want to cut back on idle snacking, though

Get the WebProNews Newsletter:

[ Technology]

Cuil, the search engine launched at the beginning of the week with brassy fanfare and progressive decrescendo on Monday, still looks about the same on Friday. It’s faster, at least, without 50 million—seriously—queries hitting its categorized servers. The images are still a bit out of whack, the categories still odd, the results certainly alternative.

Regardless, the important part is the 50 million searches conducted the first day of launch. "[T]hat’s in the same ballpark as Microsoft’s Live Search and approaching Yahoo!. And they have a bit more infrastructure than our small start-up," the Cuil team blogs. The traffic "outstripped" their ability to respond, causing some machines to fail, and, as we know, the masses to be underwhelmed.

Hitwise’s Bill Tancer reports that Cuil premiered at position #106 of all Internet sites, in tenth place among search engines, grabbing 0.6% of search share on Monday. Not quite Live Search or Yahoo ballpark, not even in Ask or AOL’s either, but really kind of startling for a debut.

Tancer also reports that a third of Cuil’s traffic originated from other search engines, and over a quarter came from news and media sites. After hype and subsequent deflation, Tuesday’s traffic wasn’t quite the same level and Cuil’s rank dropped to 197, and 12th among search engines.

But still…

Those numbers illustrate some interesting things about this launch, and one crucial point beneath the surface. First point: a lot of credibility and disclosure to the right sources goes a long way. Sarah Carey, Cuil’s communication strategist and columnist for Ireland’s Sunday Times, blogged this morning she sent word to no more than 20 journalists.

Sounds like they sent them to the right journalists who were able to recognize the Stanford/Palo Alto/PhD/former Googler search brains behind what was effectively touted as the world’s biggest search engine, and the fever just spread from there. Google’s post about scanning a trillion URLs daily also suddenly has interesting timing, published just a couple of days before Cuil hit cyberspace.

Second point, the important one: It appears the Internet is hungry, starving even, for a Google competitor. All that goodwill, all that hoisting to the top, bestowed on Google all those years has lulled in the face of a now spooky Internet steamroller. Who would have thought Yahoo would be rendered virtually impotent? All that good will, all that hoisting to the top was waiting for Cuil, and unfortunately for its founders, Cuil’s crowd-surfing ended badly.

But they sure got everybody’s attention quickly, nobody’s more than Google’s, you can bet. If Cuil can be fixed—and it needs to be fixed relatively soon—then a second go at it looks not just possible, but potentially very successful.

They may want to trim their budget a bit and invest on some infrastructure and scaling, though. Carey’s now famous prose style shined quite the light on the inner workings at Cuil and how they’ve been spending their VC money. That post was deleted from her blog, but you can still take a peek via Yahoo’s cache. This section is an eyebrow raiser:

Lunch is ordered in every single day. Huge fridges burst with snacks and drinks. Bowls of strawberries and muffins lie around the rest area.

The company pays for a personal trainer and gym membership for everyone. A doctor calls round each Friday, after the weekly barbeque, to see if everyone’s in good health. Employees drift in an out at times that suit themselves.

When I observed this behaviour first I was appalled and took my CEO friend aside. This was disastrous! His company would never succeed if he wasted money like this and didn’t crack the whip. He laughed. This is the way it works out here. 

Well, they say you should dress for the job you want and not the job you have. If a company wants to be the Googleplex, one might suppose they should start acting like it.



Cuil Interest Shows Hunger For Search Competitor
Top Rated White Papers and Resources
  • http://www.netndx.com Guest

    good observation. I think there is alot of support for a true competitor to google, especially since google is well on it’s way to favoring it’s own content over an impartial list from the web 

  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    Replying to the comment by Guest: Google is certainly not on its way to favoring our own content in our search results. If anything, Google favors itself much less than other search engines.


    For example, right now for [how to backpack], Yahoo has a hard-coded shortcut to one of its own properties at the top of the search results, and Yahoo ranks the knol at #3. Meanwhile Google, ranks that knol at #7. If anything, it would appear that Yahoo is ranking knol pages higher than Google.

  • oscar

    i can read cuil strawberries and muffins on scarey blog,it must have  just crashed earlier.Amazing how a few of you just dont get it.!..this is standard treats for the tech geeks and of course scarey knows this but  has a different less pampered blog/newspaper following to amuse and entertain with some artistic license.keep at it scarey!

    I also think this cuil thing might well be something big soon

  • Guest

    I did about 20 searches on it, and the results really stunk.  The attraction of Cuil, for me, was their reported better-than-Google’s respect for the privacy of usres.  But they need t do so much more to be a credible search engine.  They should be in pre-beta right now, not launched.

  • Guest

    After reading about the new Cuil search engine, with great excitement I quickly went to test drive it. To my horror it was most disappointing. It had brought up a few sites that were relevant to my search, but mostly insignificant sites when I searched for my type of product. It had a number of my competitors along with many sites who never bother updating their sites! Our site was no where to be found if searched with the key words-where we come up always number 1 with google search-organically-we have never paid Google a penny.

    If I were a customer and was looking for that type of product, I would have to wade through many insignificant sites and not find the valuable sites that had the relevant items! I am certainly NOT impressed with Cuil, it fails in my keywords to bring the significant useful sites, it brings insignificant irrelevant sites that waste my time (from a customer’s perspective).

    I don’t know what criteria they are using but its certainly so far looks like stale, out dated, or low traffic sites are being displayed when using my key search words.

    Does Cuil penalize the prized top sites at Google? We have worked HARD to attain organically the prime spots and maintain them by continually updating our sites. Its extremely disappointing to see the sites that do not update their sites or offer insignificant number of products to be displayed as prized sites with Cuil. At least so far.

    In short, under close scrutiny if searching for relevant returns , forget it, you’ll get stale sites.

    PS I contacted Cuil to let them know of my experience , after telling them we have been on the internet since 1996 and have some knowledge, to date no response, at least to Google’s defence they have always responded in a timely manner.

    Cuil is not cool

    A most disappointed user.

    • http://www.consolecables.com Guest

      I second that.  I have a top 10 organic listing on Yahoo, Google, and MSN.

      The funny part is that when you search for my keywords, several of the results use images from my website.

      Cuil will be getting a cease-and-desist order from me next week.



  • http://www.easysearchlive.com Dave Gilbert

    I would like to know who ranks search engines and what they base their ranking on after reading the above article especially the time frame ( "Cuil launched a week ago ") and statements like "Cuil’s rank dropped to 197, and 12th among search engines." surely if they launched a week ago they would not have any rank as yet (unless they cheated) and how can a search engine with a PR of 4/10 (Not bad for 1 weeks SEO when other sites take months to get a low PR rating) rank above others who have been in operation for much longer and have a higher PR especially when their results are rather ordinary and apart from a small layout change appear no different than the thousands of other search providers results.

    As the operator of one of these engines that seem to be vastly overlooked because we have not worked for Google or Yahoo i would like to invite you to try some of the lesser known engines and maybe just maybe you’ll discover that there are a lot of engines that are more worthy of exposure.

  • http://www.paintingiant.com Jared

    we had a test on searching via Cuil on the first day since it is published, while seems that they are quite slow to display the result.

    At the same time, we are not used to the search result displaying format.


    Just from a user’s point of view

  • http://www.webadjust.com/affiliatecashsecrets/index.htm Neels Theron – Non-Guru Road To Making Money Online

    I don’t know where Cuil will be a year or two from now, but it is nice to get some fresh blood into the search engines. It is a different approach and I wish them success. Will always love Google as well, but who knows, Cuil may just fill a void.

  • http://www.aims.co.il Zvi

    On the one hand Google’s spokesperson says, “Having great competitors is a huge benefit to us and everyone in the search space…” On the other hand, its algorithm really knows what to do with competitors. Look at this blogpost about SERPs and you will see what I mean.


    I am following this discussion and would like to hear what you think about this post.


  • http://www.logodesignnext.com/ logo designer

    I know i am repeating this, but if Cuil wants people to take them seriously, they’ve seriously got to improve upon delivering relevant results. At the moment, the thumbnails being displayed are downright misleading and have no relevance to the result being displayed besides it.

    One of my sites is ranking in the top 5 :-)) however the thumbnail being displayed is of the logo of a major international news broadcaster!

  • http://www.gogimon.com search channel

    It may take some time for cuil to catch up to Google but when it does

    Look out

    • http://www.oakwebworks.com Guest

      Is there any info out there about how its algorithm works? Our sites are treated very differently compared to Google and I was wondering what affects the rankings for cuil? Do they not rely as heavily on backlinks?

  • http://www.surreybookkeeper.co.uk/ Surrey Bookkeeper

    …our site isn’t on there yet. Despite ranking at 1 and 2 on Google, the our site doesn’t appear on Cuil. Also tried ‘bookkeeping services in Surrey‘ where we know we have the content, yet stil nothing.

    Will wait and reserve judgement but had high hopes mainly due to the amount of pages they’d indexed already.

  • http://guiadelojas.com Guidelojas

    I’m not quite sure yet but since I’ve tryed Cuil to search some keywords fo my website it stated bringing visitors! Will it be a free backlink source?

  • http://www.gasta.com Guest

    Has anyone heard if cuil are looking at aquisitions?

  • http://www.harmonypartners.com Colin Bingham

    Cuil is certainly different.

    I checked Cuil out last week when I first heard of it and again today for my main keyword phrase [ harmony partners ] and although I was unable to find any direct links to my website, found that in most instances links came from a press release that I put out over a year ago.

    Checking with a longer keyword word phrase [ Christian singles online dating service ] which pitted me against much bigger rivals put me on pages 4 and 5, again with the press release.

    Now that’s what I call interesting.



  • Guest

    Like the rest of the geeks I gave Cuil a try on the first day, however the servers were overloaded, so I waited until the second day to do a query. I needed a driver for my HP printer, so I queried "hp f4140" and the results were 0. Hmmm…..a search engine with over 120mil pages cached, but nothing on the model of HP printer that I needed. Google immediate gave me thousands of results, and I was able to locate the driver I needed.


    Cuil needs to go back to the drawing board some more before I am willing to switch my allegiance.

  • http://www.hopefarm.com Richard Frisbie

    What I really liked is that my search terms:
    "New York Books" & Richard Frisbie each returned me (my bookshop – Hope Farm Press and my bio page) ranked first. Oddly enough, the image I saw was from a review I did, not one of the several of me I’ve posted. (ASK a Travel Expert from a gay travelguide I reviewed.)

    Google only has me in the top ten, but it does include my various listings more times then CUIL does. Still top ranking is top ranking – I like CUIL!

  • http://www.foremostgroups.com Dan

    I really thing that Google needs some competition…. I used to love the big G, but now it seems they’re trying to monopolize the world with their adwords/adsense, etc.

    So, I’m thrilled that Cuil is trying to compete, but their search is definitely greatly flawed.

    My site – http://www.foremostgroups.com – is ranked #3-4 on google for the word ‘foremost’…. and I stopped looking for it in Cuil after page 6. Searching ‘foremostgroups.com’ found our site, but also produced some of the most absurd and irrelevant results ever.

    I honestly hope that Cuil pulls through and is able to compete with the G, but i’m not sure it’s going to happen without a refined algorithm.

    Am I correct in saying that their algorithm is based more on content, whereas Googles is more about backlinks?

  • http://www.xen.co.za Guest

     Okay so Cuil may not be the best right now but the potentual is there in a big way.  Most complain of not finding what they are able when compared to Google.

    My experience has been that Cuil supplied information that I had never seen on Google. Remember too that google with enforce geo location means that relevant information takes longer to find. Of coarse being blinkered stalward US citizens most believe that the world is the .com net. forgetting that there is another world out there.

  • http://sewhaa.com/ sewhaa

    I too tried the search engine and the first thing I did not like was the look. I was not comfortable with the experience so I just went right back to Google; They are the BOSS so far.  

    • http://www.easysearchlive.com Dave Gilbert

      try our search engine http://www.easysearchlive.com  and compare us to Google 

      • Mihai

        easysearchlive.com , a very stupid name

        • http://www.easysearchlive.com Dave Gilbert

          The Name reflects the engine and what it can do for you no different to microsoft live search yahoo or google for that matter who really cares what it is called as long as it works.

        • http://www.easysearchlive.com Dave Gilbert

          The Name reflects the engine and what it can do for you no different to microsoft live search yahoo or google for that matter who really cares what it is called as long as it works.

  • http://easysearchlive.com Cathy Romine

     I hate to disappoint the big guys here but this in no way measures up to the search engine easysearchlive.  Has anyone bothered to take a look?

    Live View – More Results, 99% spam free – judge for yourself and see who is set to be the next google -



  • Guest

    Thank heavens Cuil does not yeild Wikipedia near the top of every search.  At least this is progress.

  • Guest

    nice site you have! :-)

  • http://www.easysearchlive.com Dave Gilbert

    that is because we filter the terms "Ass" and "shit" we are only responding to public demand for a family safe search engine.

    perhaps if you used the most likely term "soldering equipment" you would have got these results "Showing 1 – 10 of around 10,300,000 results for soldering equipment" of which Wassco is Number 1.

    which would you prefer 20 pages of results containing porn links or 10,300,000 results the are highly relative to your search query..?



    • Guest

      You dont filter nothing – you search engine is full of porn and rubbish. I dunt know what you are talking about. You decided not to be family friendly after all? Easysearchlive – home of the pornographer.

  • http://cathyshomebusinessnetworking.com/ Guest

    No, you’re NOT an average user of search engines. You’re part of the search engine team. How about trying a little honesty?

  • http://www.homeremedyhaven.com Home Remedies

    I wouldnt count Cuil out at all. I think all in all their search engine is pretty good when compared to Yahoo and MSN. And when you consider those are SE’s in position 2 and 3 behind the leader, google, it doesnt levae much to have to achieve in order to be number 2 and take a piece of market share.

  • Join for Access to Our Exclusive Web Tools
  • Sidebar Top
  • Sidebar Middle
  • Sign Up For The Free Newsletter
  • Sidebar Bottom