This came to me as a shock, as I hear some rumors on the blogosphere that Microsoft is planning to re-brand their search engine to Kumo.
The first thing I asked myself – What does Kumo mean? After a bit of searching I found that Kumo means either “cloud” or “spider” in Japanese. Seems like ZDnet did a pool in early august asking their readers how Microsoft can re-brand their Live Search? And in the polling option the author of the article added “Kumo” as an option and thats how this word came into the picture. Lets see how the pool results were:
OK it looks like 48% of the voters said that they should leave the name Live Search as is. But that didn’t stop Microsoft from acquiring the domain name Kumo.com. (Check out the Domain Whois Information of Kumo.com) –
LiveSide.com has stated that there are some evidence that strongly indicates that the new search brand for Microsoft Live Search will be Kumo.
Can Changing 4 Letters SAVE Microsoft?
I’m not an expert in branding so obviously I can’t make any ‘expert’ comment on whether KUMO is better than Live. But personally I’d say that its a horrible name if they go forward with it. Andy Beal points out that, Kumo has too many different spelling errors just waiting to happen– koomo, cumo, Komo etc.
Moreover why would they want to adapt a Japanese name where their biggest target market should be USA & Europe? If they want to make a specialized search engine to compete with the Japanese ones, then I guess its acceptable to have a localized name for the engine. So for instance typing in Kumo.com can simply bring the visitors to Live Search Japan.
I think the question is whether ‘re-branding’ Live is just enough for Microsoft? Because I certainly don’t think so. If Google changes its name to “CrazyFrog” I’d still go there because I find their search engine useful for my work and research.
Barry pointed out in Search Engine Roundtable that Microsoft can’t even index a site properly. And Its actually true! If you take 5 minutes of your time and actually compare the result of Live.com & Google.com it will be absolutely clear to you that Live is still not ready to rock the search industry. They are just far away from anything but useful. So re-branding the search engine can’t save them or make them popular over night.
After the news got out, Josh Garner made a funny comment in Marketing Pilgrim blog and It really made me laugh. So I’d like to share it with all of you.
I can see the board room conversation:
Exec 1:”OK guys, we need to do something to gain ad traction.”
Exce 2:”The guys in R&D have some great ideas on modifying our search technology, or perhaps some ways to really connect with people. You know, to rid ourselves of that perception that we are just a bunch of suites looking to make money.”
Exec 1:”Hmm…that sounds expensive. Anyone else?”
Exce 3:”We could change our name to something cool or hip.”
Exec 1:”What do you got?”
Exce 3:”How about Kumo?”
Exec 1: “I like it. Move forward.”
Exec 2: “Sigh…”