July saw a new search engine by the name of Cuil launch to much fanfare and then a barrage of bad publicity. Six months on and how is the site, originally dubbed (by its founders and no-one else) as a Google killer, doing? Not very well actually.
I’m a huge fan of Google Search. It’s what Google is best at, it’s a site I trust and have used for many, many years, and it made sense of the Internet years before Web 2.0 was even thought of. But Google’s huge market share of search traffic hasn’t stopped many so-called Google killers launching over the years in an effort to muscle in on its territory.
The latest (and possible greatest fail) is Cuil, a site which launched in the summer and immediately gained bad press from both bloggers and the mainstream press alike. Trying to fill a void that doesn’t exist because Google already inhabits it was always going to be a problem. And the traffic six months later is proving the point.
Techcrunch details the PR trainwreck that was the launch of the site and then looks at the traffic. As can be seen in the Alexa chart below, the news isn’t good for Cuil, with the levels of reach experienced by the search engine dipping extravagantly since launch.
The site seems to have experienced a huge amount of launch traffic, mostly by bloggers checking to see if it was really as bad as reported, before a huge drop-off occurred. Since then the site has pretty much flatlined with very low visitor numbers.
Cuil was started by ex-Google employees and should have done much better than it has so far. It’s also been funded to the tune of $33 million, which looks like a very poor investment at this stage of the game. If this teaches any start-ups anything, it must surely be to look for a niche rather than trying to move into an already overcrowded area of the Web, especially one where the behemoth that is Google is currently top dog.