Monday, March 23, 2009

How Cool is Cuil?

When you go online and search, do you in fact search? Or do you “Google?” In the same way you don’t blow your nose with a tissue, you use a “Kleenex,” Google has cleaned house and outed the non-branded “search” from our webcabularies.

You may be interested to know that there is a new engine out there trying to change that.

Meet “Cuil.”

Cuil is the self-proclaimed “world’s largest search engine.” Cuil prides itself on being a search engine that searches 10x more web pages than Microsoft and 3x more web pages than Google.


Aside from searching more, Cuil claims they also search better. Instead of relying on “superficial popularity metrics,” Cuil ranks pages based on content and relevance, as they state “when we find a page with your keywords, we stay on that page and analyze the rest of its content, its concepts, their inter-relationships and the page’s coherency.”

It is for this reason the Cuil results are different. Based on what they find as they “stay on your pages,” and conduct their magic, they provide helpful choices and recommendations for what you see on your results screen.

And they serve up results differently. Cuil brings you a different orientation, not relying on the vertical alone, but spanning into the horizontal realm. Their results layout was inspired by their belief that “ten blue links is a simple concept which fails to reflect the huge diversity and variety of information available to you on the Web.”

Cuil’s “Philosophy” is based on the following four ideas:
1. Size matters
2. Popularity is useful, but not always important
3. Organization is fundamental
4. Analyze the web, not the users

And Cuil brings you PICTURES! So is Cuil, cool?

… I’m not so sure.

First, I will address their third point: “Organization is fundamental.”

Whether you realize it or not, when we “search,” we are accustomed to scanning results vertically, typically with a set number of 10 organic results per page. We have also become aware of where sponsored and PPC results are placed. Google has produced a comfortable and familiar search results experience. Cuil is, for better or for worse, tampering with what we have been bottle-fed throughout our search engin-fancy.

Next, Cuil also claims that images will help illustrate the ideas behind the pages. Interestingly, I have conducted many-a-Cuil searches, and discovered a multitude of improperly associated images. Now just what are you illustrating by a strangely-oriented group of search results with inaccurate, unrelated images? To add, I have also conducted searches and uncovered families of not so cool bugs that have crashed my searches entirely.

Maybe just a little too much too soon Cuil. I am all for experimenting with search engines and crafting new ways to serve up content online, but I just think that perhaps before the bold claims, and the construction of a pedestal higher than Google; you should resolve some of the more-overarching, and detrimental flaws in the world’s self-proclaimed BIGGEST SEARCH.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cookbooks= A Dying Breed?

I find myself often being a new media naysayer. Orally punishing many of the new media for taking away our outside time, our vacations and our piece of mind. But, I must admit, the FoodNetwork is doing something cool…

Not only does it provide site users with thousands of recipes organized by categories, or show, or chef, or type of cuisine…but the site produces recipe cards in different sizes to print off!

I do not have a Rolodex of recipes like my mother does, and my grandmother… but I love how the channel respects this more romantic, archaic and flour-covered practice and acknowledges it online. You can choose a 3x5 or a 4x6 card to print of the recipe you chose that will fit into your recipe archive. I often find the recipe I need at work and print a recipe card off for my trip to the store on my way home.

It is amazing how sites like have really replaced the common cookbook. Why go buy cookbooks that only contain a limited number of recipes when you can get everything you need online?

I now cook not with a book, held open by a mixing spoon, or a spatula- but instead with a laptop in the kitchen. Sites like these are a great resource for young chefs and gives them much exposure to the shows and products produced and sponsored by the network. I am hooked.

The Internet and smart, user-friendly sites like are changing the way we cook and eat.

Online cooking demos never hurt a novice in the kitchen either.

No Ancient Sea Scroll

Our firm developed the following site and I wanted to introduce you all to a cool web site effect!

Check out the site here!

This site was developed for a local restaurant with a cool, eclectic vibe, therefore we found it fitting to explore the horizontal scroll. The entire sit sits on one page and uses javascript to navigate the site content. It changes the way people usually navigate sites and therefor is memorable. It produces a unique online presence for a place with a unique physical one.

When you select the menu items to the left, you are taken to a certain place on the site’s “one page.” I personally like sites that strive to provide a unique site user experience. Although there are many sites out there that continue to push the proverbial bar and play with our senses, I just wanted to bring up this site as it resonates in my headspace as something that “works.”

What do you think?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is your web site stock-e?

I am personally astonished by the ease of availability of stock photography. Whereas single images were at one time only purchasable for thousands of dollars, images are now available for around under ten dollars in various qualities. for example is one great service.

Photographers too benefit from the purchase, as they receive royalties from the purchase of their images.

However, many question if these web sites and services are actually shooting photographers in the foot, as they are needed less for commissioned shoots. This is an interesting consideration. At least we know wedding photographers are safe.

When working with clients at work, we often use stock photography as it is easy to purchase and so many images are available for public use. One risk that you take is having a competitor utilize your same imagery, however due to the number of images out there and services that provide them, this almost seems a moot point. Unique, and professional photography very often can make an online presence very special, but for generic images, stock photography is economically advisable and hard to pass up.

So why don’t all web sites get a little stock-e? It will help them save money and be able to visually demonstrate EVERYTHING they need online.

GENERATION X............BOX360

I will admit, I have been an XBOX hater. I have cursed its name. I have hoped for harm to it its first born. I have wanted to throw it off rooftops and see it break into many small pieces down below.

I found it a loud screaming nuisance keeping my romantic life at bay with my boyfriend and allowing the voices of small obnoxious boys from all over the world into my living room through XBOX Live.

Not into recently- and the purchase of "Lego Starwars The Complete Saga" have I become to appreciate this world a little more, and realized the marketing mastermind that is really is.

Whereas XBOX was once just a video game system, like Sega, or Playstation- where you insert your game and play…it has now blossomed into something much more powerful, with many more powerful implications to the world of marketing.

Now, when turning on the system, you are welcomed by your XBOX dashboard. Through your XBOX, you can preview and purchase anything from movies, primetime TV shows, cable network shows, other games, music and much more. You are no longer just playing one game anymore, but instead being exposed to many other media that you just may need to purchase. It has now evolved into a one-stop Media Center- offering everything you may want to see or hear from your TV.

NetFlix is also coming to XBOX this fall, making it maybe unnecessary to ever turn this fabulous, buzzing machine off. I am anxious to see what else will come into the XBOX world.

As we know, XBOX is not just a system for 12 year-olds, but actually attracts crowds of all ages and of both genders (my 27 year-old boyfriend is a good example), so the product offerings are widespread. It is for this reason, I do not see this as marketing targeted at children- but instead at the world of gamers that come in all shapes, sizes, ages and education levels.

The media integration plays in perfectly with the more lackadaisical common gamer mentality...why not have it all in one place? Why have to get off the couch more than I need to?

Ma, more meatloaf!

Impersonal Shopper

The world of eCommerce is getting smarter.

It is widely known that people shop online, a lot. With the ease of shopping from your living room, office, or bed- you can scan countless online stores, accessing a plethora of products. You can see the products on many sites in multiple views and colors. It seems you can do everything aside from touch the product and you can have it shipped to you in record time!

It is also more secure than ever. "They" say it is safer to give up your credit card info online than it is to give your credit card to a waiter who must do a roundtrip walk through a restaurant to process your payment. There are more opportunities for identity theft in that 10 meters, for example, than there are disclosing information online.

The rise of popularity in online shopping is no surprise.
Last year online consumer spending was on target to reach $200 billion by year end. Overall U.S. online consumer spending for 2006 totalled $170.8 billion.

How could this get any better? Our online worlds are so convenient and we needn’t spend a dime on gas!

Well for the shopper like me often hunting clothing, shoes and handbags, etc…it has with Imagine getting notified of sales of products in YOUR SIZE in the brands you pick, out of 537 options whenever you want to!

You pick your brands, your sizes, and when you want to hear about sales- and does the rest. It appears the new web sites and inventions that are successful in some way make life easier. That is just what does. It keeps you from needing to search countless sites. And it keeps you from the disappointment when you learn the item isn’t in your size.

I shop it to me every Friday. It is so dangerous, but so convenient at the same time!
P.S. This site also serves men and children!

Cruel In(line)tentions

Have you heard of the Dirty?

Just recently, a new type of blog site has launched, and has hit America by e-storm: causing tears, breakups, revenge, insecurities, fights and breakdowns from coast to coast.

“Nik Ritchie, the first ever reality blogger” has created

With nothing less than the cruelest intentions, this site allows people from cities and universities across America to send in pictures and stories about people they don’t like, or that they deem are “dbags” or “tools” or “sluts,” etc.

[Oh and nice try on the emulation- (Perez Hilton (Paris Hilton) /Nik Ritchie (Nicole Ritchie)...
you are about as clever as the second person that tells any joke.]

At, people are allowed to anonymously badmouth individuals online whenever their hearts desire! There is even a strange native tongue resulting from this web site, where acronyms and webspeak mean certain things, or rankings in people.

Personally Nik Ritchie, the ultimate reality blogger, I think it is you that is sad. People will always be mean and insecure, and well done Nik (with no C) for inspiring and cultivating even more of it.

I can’t imagine the money you make from the dirty ads that line your site and your "dirty gear" is enough to convince you each day that you are a good person.

Rant over.

Nik, I will now sit and wait for your first shiny defamation case, so I can see your small, self-important and pretentious empire fold like your integrity did the day you took the site live.