Crowdsourcing an Opinion


The hot tech news story today – starting last night, actually – is the new search engine Cuil. If you click around the usual run of Web 2.0 news sites, you’ll find the Cuil story on all of them – big new search engine, backed by lots of money, ex-Google founders, new ideas. But if you check out what’s being said about Cuil on Twitter you’ll find a different story: inaccurate, out-of-date, inappropriate photos, “not impressed.”

I predict that by this afternoon we’ll be seeing a lot of stories about the Cuil launch being a failure. But there’s a lesson here for any web worker involved in launching a new site or service: feeding out a good story line through your PR people is not enough. Before you launch, you need to be sure you actually live up to the story you’re telling. If not, you’re in trouble: these days, it is way too easy for the masses to speak up – and you may not like what you hear.



Interesting points – they surely got the publicity they were probably looking for. I saw it on MSN, and on my Mobile news on the iPhone. It will be interesting to see how their page ranking works. I tend to think in those terms as a web worker and SEO pusher.

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Considering that they were able to elicit those kinds of reaction, I thought they got what they wanted. Now, it’s time for them to re-assess that vision and move forward and incorporating the unsolicited advices.

I admit I use Google to the max but you just can’t have ‘steaks’ all the time.

Good luck to them.


Mike Gale

I’m reserving my judgement. I assume that they are having teething problems at present.

I noticed a couple of things I’ll keep an eye on:

1) Images from one site used to illustrate another. This includes images protected (?) by a nocache directive.

2) Content repeates. At least 3 times on same page.

3) A lot of links to another search site, that looks like a link farm to me. What about primary links, instead of secondary.

3) Some great finds, better than other search engines I think, though not always well connected to the search. Mixed with dead pages and pages containing only a sentence of content.

4) Not much help/FAQ/Forum… yet

Looks like the PR people jumped the gun (when I first heard of it the search page was not even live, which clearly says premature publicity). I’ll give it a few days to settle down.


Just tried it. It was extremely short of returns. my two first seraches produced none, and it wasn’t particularly fast either.

Won’t bother in the short term here.

Troy Peterson

Exactly! I’m writing up a review and search plugin for the site right now. While I will have some good things to say, I’m also going to point out some of it’s flaws. Claiming to be bigger than Google, yet not being able to deliver is a big mistake.

But then again… I suppose even bad publicity is still publicity. I just saw the story on CNN about an hour ago. Now, how many new search engines actually get that kind of coverage?


Yeah, far too easy for the masses to speak up. haha. I’ve learned that quickly being a web worker. Especially after viewing the 3G iPhone release hate/love posts on every website in existence, seemingly! I swung by Cuil this morning, and it’s to early to determine an opinion. I think right now I like Google’s lay out, but I’ve been using Google for so many years it’s not a fair opinion! We’ll see what they come up with in the coming weeks.

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John Dowdell

Another dynamic is the urge to opinionate fast… it’s an open issue how many speakers will want to own their Day One opinions a week or month from now.

(Looking at the Techmeme cluster on Cuil, it’s a reasonable bet that not all these speakers are saying things worth the mouseclick.)

Handling crowd expectations is hard. Best policy is usually to under-promise, over-deliver, and play for the long term. But when third-party pundits set the expectations, you may not have much role in how your efforts are perceived.

Then again, just so long as they spell your name right…. ;-)

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