Really: Is it Cuil or Us?
Pretty harsh post on TechCrunch this morning about how Cuil "blew" it's launch in 20 seconds. It talks about the absurdly short hype-cycle of less than a minute on today's Web.
I'll be the first to say I was disappointed in the early results of a company that a lot of people I respect think very highly of. And I, too, was a bit stunned after raising that much cash and working so hard, they would launch now. And they should have kept their messaging to indexing more cheaply, the UI and privacy-- not touting greater relevancy, obviously. (We didn't even mention that one in our TT piece, because I hadn't gotten enough time to play with it.)
So yeah, they screwed some things up. But doesn't part of the blame go to the blogosphere? I'm counting me in that too. I was probably too effusive. Like everyone else in the Valley, I find technology and new companies exciting and Cuil has a great story. But you don't make up for that by then eviscerating a company. It doesn't somehow balance out in the greater cosmic order. TechCrunch says the whole thing was Cuil's fault because they didn't let pre-briefed bloggers use the service. Ok, that was dumb, but take some responsibility! No one forced you to write a glowing piece before you'd used the site. If I erred in being too excited about Cuil, that was my bad as a reporter, not the company's. (For the record, I seem to be the only blogger in the land who didn't get a pre-brief, I had just heard a lot about the company from sources for more than a year so I'd been anxious to check it out for some time.)
At some point, the tech blogosphere has to break itself from the junky-like addiction of having to get a story two seconds before the competitor. Can it really drive that much traffic when every other blogger got the same pre-brief? Isn't it better to wait a bit, use the service and write something smarter?
If we've got a 20-second hype cycle in the Valley, that's not Cuil's fault. And I don't think it's serving readers well either. If we write something is amazing in the morning and then total junk in the afternoon, does anyone looking to tech blogs for analysis keep coming back?
I, for one, am not writing the company off after one day. Launches are hard. How many of the
products we use and rely on today were perfect the day they launched? I've invited the founders to come on TechTicker and hope they accept. I'd love to hear their thoughts on why the launch day went the way it did and whether they're worried about the backlash or just chalk it up to the increasingly schizophrenic blogosphere.
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