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This has to be one of the poorest naming/branding moves I’ve seen in a while. just launched, and apparently the term “cuil” is suppose to be pronounced “cool.” This big news is currently being covered on the homepage of CNN. My buddy Thunayan (who never sells his company’s domain names) already has a search engine on  Seriously, what were they thinking?  This doesn’t pass the radio/tv test.

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.

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Comments (17)

    Jason Matthews

    I was thinking the same thing when I read about this on Yahoo this morning. If you have this great search technology why put yourself at such a disadvantage with a terrible name. I guess the VC’s that dish out millions to these guys just don’t see it as an issue, unbelievable.

    July 28th, 2008 at 11:26 am


    They clearly couldn’t afford any branding expertise…….they only got $33MM in VC funding…….

    July 28th, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Andrew Reberry

    They are a very bad bot. We had to write specific programs to stop them from stealing insane amounts of bandwidth from us. Did not obey robots.txt, and once we shut down seemed they just moved to use other IP ranges. This was about 4 months ago. This bot and Twiceler should definately be in anyone’s firewall for blocking!

    July 28th, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Scott Roberts

    60 seconds with ‘Cuil’ and I am seriously unimpressed. “Elliots blog” comes up in the number one spot, but no results at all for Elliot Silver. No results at all for several other queries that bring me just what I want from Google.

    July 28th, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Steve Luvender

    I read very recently that it’s not actually pronounced “cool”. I’m not exactly sure how it’s pronounced, but it’s apparently not “cool”. Awful search tool and name. These people are no longer Google employees for a reason! Unfortunately, they’re getting a lot of attention today from CNN, blogs like this, and other social news sites. It’s still publicity for them.

    July 28th, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Antony Van Couvering

    This is what happens when you live in an echo chamber. All your friends have companies with ludicrous names, so you think it’s fine when you come up with one too. I can just hear it: “Everyone thought Google was a dumb name at first too.”

    This has got to be one of the worst. You can’t remember it, you can’t pronounce it, you can’t spell it, and you’re embarrassed to say it because you have to explain it and why it’s so lame.

    July 28th, 2008 at 12:04 pm


    This seems to be a trend….. Joost = Juiced?
    There are many others that I am surprised at. I just can’t remember them.


    July 28th, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Too Many Secrets


    Ditto here, I can’t believe this made the top news stories today !!

    July 28th, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Rob Garner

    Make no mistake – the people are Cuil are heavyweights in the search business, and deserve a through review. But the name is terrible – I believe it could be a sinker. Search is competitive enough as it is, and a confusing name like this works against them.

    July 28th, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Conor Neu

    Horrible name and I’ve been dissapointed with the search engine so far. Sounds like a $33m marketing campaign.

    July 28th, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Too Many Secrets


    Heavyweights? Right now, I get this message when I do a search:

    “Sorry, an error occurred.
    Please try your search again. If the problem persists, please be assured that our team is working quickly to resolve the issue.”


    July 28th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Rob Garner

    Yes – heavyweights. Louis Monier – go read about him in Batelle’s “The Search”, or Wikipedia. One loading error does not a bad engineer make.

    July 28th, 2008 at 4:56 pm


    Agree with Andrew’s comments about their BOT. It’s incredibly invasive and will index your server nonstop and make things very sluggish as a result. Imagine how much bandwidth they’ve cost companies from indexing 120 Billion pages.

    I sent a C&D Complaint Letter to their company already.

    July 28th, 2008 at 7:14 pm


    More silly web2.0 domain trends. You would think with all that VC they could have bought a killer name. On a side not looks like your friends site is down? I can only wish for him its from to much traffic. That is a nice problem to have.

    July 29th, 2008 at 12:01 am

    Rob Garner

    It looks like my response didn’t make it through yesterday.

    @toomany – Yes – heavyweights. Louis Monier is a true Internet/search engine pioneer. Go read about him in John Batelle’s “The Search”, or look him up on Wikipedia.

    July 29th, 2008 at 11:39 am


    Yeah I know what you mean. We were amazed that we didn’t here back from them about KUEL(.)COM — It’s still not the kuelest spelling, but it beats that. They probably spent the money on a printer instead. LOL

    July 30th, 2008 at 2:47 am


    Really a bad choice. Cuil pronounced as cool? They must be kidding. Not in English, and not even in any language with more phonetic pronunciation (Spanish, Italian, neither in Slavic languages).

    Estimates of fully native speakers of Irish range from 20,000 to 50,000 people!!! It should be compatible with a language that somebody speaks.

    Foras na Gaeilge, the official governing body of the Irish language, doubted the assertion that ‘cuil’ means ‘knowledge’. “I am unaware myself of the meaning ‘knowledge’ being with the word ‘cuil’ in Irish,” Stiofán Ó Deoráin, an official on Foras na Gaeilge’s terminology committee, said.

    August 12th, 2008 at 7:51 pm

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