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Nov

Microsoft Fail: Live Search Going to Kumo.com

Another Gigantic Fail for Microsoft Marketing Team: Kumo.com

Microsoft Possibly to Rebrand Live Search to Kumo.com?

Though it is only rumored, Search Engine Land‘s (SEL) column on this move offers some convincing evidence that this rebranding is in the works.

Why Kumo.com Will Fail As Rebranding:

Let’s start with the fact that Microsoft is trying too hard to be that nice, neat, and all-expansive buzz word: “Web 2.0″. Kumo supposedly can be translated to mean “cloud” or “spider” in Japanese.  So it’s likely they are thinking more along the vein of “spider” than “cloud”.

It’s just unique enough to completely forget.

Secondly, if the they don’t augment the search algorithm capability to, at the very least, match what Google and Yahoo are doing, then it won’t matter that it’s called Kumo.  It will still return the results that have made it a consistent #3 search engine, and still be equipped with the functionality that make a search disaster.

Lastly, the Microsoft Team has participated in far too many blunders.  Starting with Microsoft/Seinfeld Ads and then possibly using BrowseRank, then going back a year to the launch of Vista.  Microsoft’s reputation has taken too many blows to hide behind a simple name change.  They don’t have to start from scratch, but they certainly need to put much more thought into these branding messages.

My advice: time to find a new marketing team.  This is should be the final nail in the coffin for the completely inept, and non-tech folks they’ve got working these branding schemes now.

What Will Really Happen if Microsoft Goes Through with Kumo.com

Live Search to Kumo.com = FAIL

Live Search to Kumo.com = FAIL

If the speculative change happens, then Microsoft will see, overall, a lower share of the search market.  This is an attempt to reach out to a younger, possibly more tech-savvy audience, interested in social networking and “cool, unusual names”.  Microsoft must have looked at the numbers and seen that the majority of their users are non-tech and net-savvy Boomers and older.  Those users who use IE (Internet Explorer) like it’s going out of style.

And, the way Microsoft pushes out their branding pieces is so “in your face”, that it will be impossible to disassociate itself from Kumo.com if it does happen to tank miserably (which it will).  They’ll see an influx of users, much the way Kuil (Cool) did, and then slide into a slow and destitute oblivion, with very little hope of Live Search ever resurfacing and regaining back users.

They only way Microsoft has a chance if they launch Kumo as a somewhat independent engine, loosely associated to Microsoft Live Search.  In this manner, Kumo will be able to gather a user base organically. And if and when it chokes out, Live Search will still have a semi-strong brand backing and not have lost too many users.  But to completely switch the branding over to Kumo as the new Search Crown Jewel is brand-suicide.

UPDATE:

According to TopNews, “In the internal memo, Satya Nadella said, “Kumo.com exists only inside the corporate network, and in order to get enough feedback we will be redirecting internal live.com traffic over to the test site in the coming days. Kumo is the codename we have chosen for the internal test.

Update #2 From Search Engine Land

How about that brand name? Last year at SMX Advanced, then Microsoft online services president Kevin Johnson acknowledged that Microsoft had a search brand problem, one that he decisively said would be fixed, even if that meant getting a new brand. Since then, four contenders for the new brand name have emerged:

  • Kumo
  • Bing
  • Hook
  • Sift
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