Yesterday the buzz around Cuil was amazing. I got the press release around 12:30am Monday, and it was something that I thought sounded interesting, so I exchanged a couple emails with the PR contact, but there was nothing pressing about it. The headline, “Cuil Launches Biggest Search Engine on the Web,” was overblown at best, and misleading at worst. And then within hours, every major newspaper and trade publication was giving it major coverage.
The biggest search engine should be measured in terms of consumer usage and ad dollars; everything else is meaningless. If billions of people preferred to use a search engine that only indexed five pages, advertisers would still aim to reach those people, and it would be the biggest.
As for Cuil, well, it’s good to be a skeptic here. Few startups win. The top five search engines haven’t been dislodged since they became the top five search engines.
You can read more thoughts on it in my post on the Ad Age DigitalNext blog, excerpted below:
In this superhero-obsessed summer, it’s about time everyone found an underdog to root for. In a feat as inexplicable as Tony Stark fashioning scrap metal into an Iron Man suit in an Afghan prison, Cuil.com gained almost iPhone-like levels of publicity for its launch yesterday. Yet Cuil (pronounced “cool” — get ready for a new swath of Web 2.0 words that don’t sound anything like how they’re spelled) is due for a run-in with Mr. Freeze as its media mojo gets put on ice.