Microsoft Re-Branding Live Search to Kumo? It’ll Take More than Four Letters

There’s nothing like wild speculation to start your Monday morning off right.

LiveSide tenuously strings together evidence that Microsoft might re-brand Live Search as Kumo.com and the whole blogosphere goes crazy.

Fast forward to this week and Microsoft suddenly showed its hand. Control of the Kumo.com domain was moved from the registrar to Microsoft, and is now pointing to an internal Microsoft test site (employees only).

You can test this out at home by firing up the command prompt (type “cmd” in the Vista start box) and then type “tracert kumo.com”. You’ll see the route to the end location go through a few msn.com servers, and then suddenly you’ll notice all those asterisks, which is where Kumo.com becomes available for internal use only.

It doesn’t help that “Kumo” means both “spider” and “cloud” in Japanese. It also doesn’t help that Microsoft has finally started admitting that “Windows Live Search” is an awful brand–at least one that will never inspire the same “cool” factor as Google. But Kumo? Really?

I’m not buying it. First of all, Kumo has too many different spelling errors just waiting to happen–koomo, cumo. Second, Microsoft’s biggest problem is not the brand name, it’s the branding. Sure, Live Search sucks as a brand name, but what has Microsoft ever done to try to convince us that Live Search is cool, useful, and worthy of our Google-clicks?

If Kumo does, in fact, become the new brand for Live Search, I hope Microsoft realizes that at this point in time, Kumo inspires nothing in us. Four letters does not a great search engine make! There had better be a huge move away from the vanilla offering of past Microsoft search efforts, and some kind of campaign that goes well beyond throwing Jerry Seinfeld on TV.

  • http://www.directom.com/internet-marketing-blog Justin Seibert

    @Andy – You’re 100% right about it being the branding and not the brand name. Although, I’d argue that even before they get that taken care of, they need to fix the product. It’s not awful, but it’s not as good as Google or Yahoo!, nor does it offer a unique take or special niche.

    Justin Seibert’s last blog post..Tracking Site Page Importance Via Crawl Cache Dates

  • http://www.seo-factor.com Josh Garner

    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…”

    Josh Garner’s last blog post..Todd Mintz Talks on Resumes and Job Searching

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    @Josh – funny!

  • http://www.keithparnell.com/ Keith Parnell

    I twittered a thought this morning: “I love Redmond. My friends now this. My colleagues know this. But rebrand “Live Search”? Why? This makes me wonder why I love Redmond.”

    At times I wonder what really happens in those decision-making meetings at Microsoft. You’re right, Andy. The problem with Live Search is the branding, not the brand.

  • http://www.saadkamal.com Saad Kamal

    @Josh — That was funny! LOL.

    Well I think this is just stupid! …Microsoft should really look into how to make their engine better. And Live sounds pretty cool already..

    Saad Kamal’s last blog post..Google SearchWiki with Sound Effects

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  • http://www.majauskas.com giedrius

    Cum’on, at least admit that someone in Microsoft has a sense of humour.

    giedrius’s last blog post..Back from vacations in Hurghada

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan Kanellis

    Use our “Spider Cloud” technology to find what your looking for.

    Jaan Kanellis’s last blog post..Google Publicly Attacking Paid Links Again?Stop Already

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  • http://www.cheeze.com/blog Jamie Riddell

    Regrettably it is another desperate attempt by Microsoft to be taken seriously in the search space. Putting a new sticker on the engine is not going to help.

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