Reviews

The Fonz is Cool. Cuil, Not So Much.

The Fonz is CoolThe buzz the past few days has largely centered around the new search engine, Cuil.com, created by some former Googlers, including SMX West 2008 Keynote Speaker Louis Monier.

For those of you not geeky enough to know, Cuil is pronounced “cool” which could be a problem for the upstart search engine. I can already hear the uninformed trying to explain about this new search engine they found . . . pronounced “swill” or “sewill” or “kwill” and so forth. Not real good for easy branding.

And, judging from my initial attempts and searching with Cuil.com, Fonzie is cool, Cuil.com, well, not so much.

We all remember The Fonz in his black leather jacket and slicked back black hair, the epitome of cool in the 1950s based TV show Happy Days.

Cuil.com’s interface is also jet black, simplicity itself, though strangely not centered on the screen (at least not on mine). Type your query and off you go.

Cuil.com interface

I’ve heard that the new search engine claims to have the largest index on the planet. I’m seeing old and even off-kilter content that needs to be removed or fixed. For instance, I ran a search for “FramesDirect” since I do SEO for FramesDirect.com to see what Cuil.com would come up with. They were gracious enough to make our home page first in their results, but one of the other results on the page pointed to and described the site’s lens option page using an image for a “Corvette Black Book” which obviously came from another site.

Cuil.com result with mystery image

I then ran a search for “richard v burckhardt” and who the heck are these guys?

Cuil.com just can't get the pictures right

In another case, the Cuil results included a page on the FramesDirect.com site that was 301 redirected something like two years ago.

A search for “eyeglasses” resulted in Eyeglasses.com coming in first place. No offense to the competition, but that site has been down for several months with a single “Under Construction” page in place. I believe in the power of back links, and Eyeglasses.com will have some powerful keyword rich anchor text for “eyeglasses” in its back links by virtue of the domain name. But, a search engine that ranks a single page that is under construction and has been for months in the top spot needs some algo work.

That said, the search engine has a nice clean interface, with images and related search tabs at the top of the results. Better yet, Cuil.com doesn’t collect any information from you. If you are concerned about privacy, you’ll like this feature.

If Cuil.com wants to be The Fonz of search engines, it just needs some refinement, which I’m sure will come with time. After all, slicked back hair and black leather jackets got stale in the 1960s, kind of like some of Cuil’s current index.

Time for a Beatle haircut!

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