Cuil – One to Watch

According to research conducted this week by us here at StatCounter, the new search engine Cuil is one to watch.

Cuil, launched on Monday July 28th, could be a significant rival to Google. After just one day, Cuil accounted for 1 in every 1000 searches done on Tuesday.

Aodhan Cullen, CEO and founder of StatCounter said, “This is phenomenal when you consider that Altavista, a search engine founded in 1995, accounted for just 6 in 10,000 searches.”

Cullen continued, “We monitor over 100 search engines and Cuil was in the top ten in US, UK and Ireland. When you consider that over 90 other search engines (e.g. go, excite,, lycos) combined accounted for just 1.54% of searches on Tuesday – Cuil with its 0.1% share on the market inside 24 hours is doing extremely well.”

On Tuesday Cuil accounted for:

  • 1 in 1,000 searches globally and in the US
  • 1 in 500 searches in the UK
  • 1 in every 400 searches in Ireland

Note: This information is based on a sample of over 25 million page views globally.

Press queries to StatCounter PR Agency:
Mary O’Brien/Jacinta Ryan – Simpson FTPR

UPDATE – 3 August 2008
Thanks for all the comments and interest so far folks!

It does appear that Cuil is having some “teething troubles”, but hopefully they will manage to work these out soon. It’s a brand new search engine – let’s give it a chance!

Some of you have mentioned how the high traffic that Cuil has received is as a result of an impressive PR and marketing campaign. We agree! Regardless of the reason, however, we believe that interest in Cuil has been unexpectedly high. Of course, we have to wait and see how the engine performs in the future, but the stats so far have been interesting anyway. Without initial stats, how could we compare how Cuil fares in the weeks and months ahead?

In our opinion, and for a variety of reasons, Cuil remains “one to watch” – whether we will be watching a meteoric rise or a slow descent remains to be seen… Further to some of your suggestions, though, we would be delighted to update you with more stats on how Cuil is doing in the coming weeks – we’ll keep you posted! 😉


  1. To Sheila Street: You can get code for your .htaccess file that will block specific bots like Twicler. It does not show up in StatCounter hits, but most of the time, most bots don’t I get a lot more Google/Yahoo/MSN hits than I see in ST. If worse comes to worse, write this Jim guy at Cuil and he’ll remove you from their list. The reviews of Cuil I’ve seen so far are lukewarm at best, but Twicler is a truly horrible device that does nobody any good.

    To StatCounter Team Response: There are sites every day that generate ‘interest, traffic and column inches’ – why is this one singled out to be mentioned in your blog? It’s a little like reading about McDonald’s in a Pepsi blog. I don’t recall any recent ST blog post about another company except for those that are directly related to you guys, such as the problem with PayPal, and the datacenter that blew up. Those are fair subjects to discuss as they have an impact on ST customers/users. Cuil does not, so it looks to a lot of people (me included) like a P.R. job.

    As you’ve seen, most of the people who have responded to this post have not had good things to say about Cuil, and it seems like it’s caught ST on the back foot a bit, hence the defensive replies to several comments, and the sudden rush to have another post about someone on your team. Again, ST blog posts seem to be more or less on a monthly basis, or as things come up to pass along to us, the end user. To have another post within three days looks a bit like trying to sweep the bad news under the rug.

    Now that you’ve gotten your fingers burnt, why not stick to what you guys do best – StatCounter news. Leave the shameless outside promotion to the slick P.R. teams companies like Cuil hire. It’s out of place here.

    StatCounter Team Response:
    Thanks for the post.

    Sure Mike – lots of topics generate ‘interest, traffic and column inches’ – we chose to share some stats about Cuil. It’s as simple as that. That’s not a defence – it’s an explanation for someone who doesn’t seem to “get” where we are coming from. Perhaps we are “stats nerds” – but we were surprised to see Cuil accounting for 1 in every 1,000 searches within 24 hours. We thought our members would be interested too. Where else could you get independent data on Cuil within 48 hours of its launch?

    If you have a look back over the blog Mike, we actually posted about the Firefox 3 world record download attempt – not related directly to StatCounter but we felt the stats were interesting enough to share with our members. Same deal for Cuil!

    No sudden rush to add a new blog post either Mike! We post blogs as we have time to write them… June was a prolific blog posting month for us! We were a bit quieter though in July… We’ll have to see what we can do in August. 😉

  2. Yikes…I just noticed something else! Cuil last indexed my page…1.5 YEARS ago! That is the page and description text they have in their index…crazy!

  3. Well the impact of Cuil was there, but for how long?
    A lot of local results, i.e. in Dutch are pretty useless.

    MSN Search or Yahoo is beating Cuil easily with Dutch search queries. Wondering how and if Cuil will adapt to that!

    Redactie LGL

  4. I used search terms that people frequently use to find my web-sites (gleaned from Statscounter results), and the search results were abysmal. On Google and Yahoo, my sites rank fairly high, and depending on the terms used, occasionally at the top of the first page. This bot couldn’t find me on half of the terms, and all of the results had pictures totally unrelated to my web-site, actually advertising a different company.

    While Statscounter hasn’t shown any hits from them on my web-sites, my web-servers stats show a huge chunk of bandwidth being used – and I only have two relatively small web-sites!!! Here’s hoping they do respect the robots.txt files, as I post private web-pages for certain clients with specific instructions for the robots to ignore them (but the huge bandwidth pretty much proves they are not respecting those limits). Like others here have expressed, I am extremely disappointed that Statscounter would have climbed onto their very flimsy soap-box. We don’t need another search engine out there – Google and Yahoo and a few others do just fine!

    Just wondering – is there any way to block them, independent of blocking other search engines – from crawling web-sites? If they cannot deliver accurate results and if they keep posting competitor or totally unrelated pics next to results they do manage to get, then I don’t want them sniffing around. Period!

    StatCounter Team Response:
    Hi Sheila,

    We’re very sorry to hear that you are disappointed… but we’re unsure how exactly “we have climbed onto [our] very flimsy soap-box”!! We chose to share information with our members re a new search engine which is in the news. No soap, no boxes…that’s all!

  5. I have to agree with most of the above. Twicler is one of the most evil bots I’ve ever seen. It was sucking up Gigabytes of bandwidth on my sites (yes, that’s right, Gigabytes). And it would not respond to robots.txt. In the end, I had to write them and demand they get their leechbot off my pages. I refuse to take it in the shorts for their benefit. Nearly a year ago, it was rumoured that Cuil was just a development ploy to eventually sell back to Google. I don’t see anything in what I’ve read so far to dissuade me of that. I’m disappointed that Statcounter is sucking up to these people.

    StatCounter Team Response:
    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for posting but we are a little confused about your comment that we are “sucking up to these people” – love it or hate it, Cuil has generated a phenomenal amount of interest, traffic and column inches in the last few days. As a result we shared the information we collected about Cuil, with our members. Period.

  6. It may be a classic news driven traffic spike. Since Cuil was in the news, most of the traffic will be of a transient nature. As Cuil drops out of the news cycle, the traffic may fall off exponentially.

  7. It’s obvious Statcounter was paid to post this “newsflash.” There’s even a PR contact for Cuil following the post.

    So now, not only do we all know Cuil is a terribly inaccurate search engine, but that Statcounter has been “bought in to the hype.”

    StatCounter Team Response:

    Things are not as “obvious” as you may think… We were NOT paid, encouraged, asked or coerced into posting ANYTHING about Cuil! The PR contact following the release is OURS i.e. the StatCounter PR firm.

    Like it or not, Cuil is in the news at the moment. Given this fact, we chose to share the interesting data we gathered with our members. Simple as that.

  8. Pingback: Fading Whispers: The Chronicles » Blog Archive » Giving things a fair shake
  9. Either Statcounter got paid to post this or did not read the news? lol

    The only reason there has been so many searches from them is because of the money thrown at it and whoever is doing their press release work!

    I am hoping they can take on Google though. Go Cuil!

  10. Search isn’t relevant nor accurate, it’s rubbish, I don’t like it…

  11. Could anyone explain what’s the point of showing irrelevant images in the Cuil search results? They are not even taken from the resulting sites!
    It’s just absurd, you find the web site of a hotel, and they display an image of another hotel.

  12. I dont feel that google has much to worry about IMO. First of all the name doesnt really stick in your head CUIL CIUL COIL??? where as the google term is know a household name as in if you dont know some thing you google it. The next thing i noticed was that the search results were not particuly pleasing to the eye, I tried to look at them from a none bias view but it just doesnt sit right (again in my opinion).

  13. Also, also, the search box doesn’t let you autocomplete because of its suggested terms software kicking in, the main page is black, but takes you to an all white search page, which is awful on the eyes, and when reading the results I have to go left to right AND top to bottom.

    Which one is more relevant? The one at the middle of the first column, or at the end of the top row?

  14. Yeah, I typed in my site address and got nothing, but couldn’t see a way to submit my URL other than e-mailing them the address!

    The hits will go down after the news dies off. I’m guessing if they have StatCounter installed there won’t be many ‘returning visitors’

  15. It’s the result of initial cheap promotion steps they followed. Google Killer, Next Google or 3 times bigger than Google search engine.

    Lets wait and see how long it runs. search CNET Japan and it gives some blog on first result. Search anything, irrelevant images comes with results. Biggest search engine and many websites are not there in search index. Holy crap. 🙂

  16. The reason why it’s getting so many hits is because it was announced on the news this week. As soon as I heard the news, I checked it out. I’m not the least bit impressed.

    I did a test and typed in “Sherri Meyer Photography” and this is what I got One of the results that came up was a write-up about my site, with someone else’s name and photo.

    To top that off, I have heard worse stories!

  17. It’s AWFUL — it can’t even index itself. What I want to know is who the PR firm is that’s handling this account. It’s like the Segway of search engines.

  18. Not sure why the statcounter development team would even mention as one to look out for. We all know that they received that must traffic because of the media attention. However, I won’t use it. I tried it and the results are terriable. Plus the layout isn’t favorable either.

    Who cares who has a larger index of sites between google and cuil. At the end of the day its not about the amount of index of sites; its about the search results!

    They have a lot of work to do with all that money they have!

  19. The search result suck! I searched for my site which does well in google and the only sites that came up were ones that copied post from my site. The only reason I went to cuil is because people told me it was the next best search engine but i was very disappointed.

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