Say Aloha to Mahalo

June 6th, 2007 | Categories: launch, marketing, networks, search, social media, strategy, wikis

Mahalo logoLast week, Jason Calcanis launched his pet project, a human-powered search called Mahalo. The engine provides company-edited results, as well as user-submitted results.

A typical search results page is comprised of several new areas:

  • The Mahalo Top 7 - seven hand-picked results from the editors
  • Guide Note - additional information and other relevant search queries
  • Fast Facts - self-explanatory

A given SERP also gives users the ability to add relevant links and results for that given query. Finally, a discussion area is available for every query. This allows users to provide further thoughts, above and beyond the search results.

Some quick facts about Mahalo:

  • 40 full-time editors
  • 4,000 results pages created thus far
  • 10,000 pages predicted by the end of 2007
  • 25,000 pages predicted by the end of 2008
  • 4 years - how long Calcanis says he can run the business without revenues

Once again, the scenario of ‘human vs. computer’ arises. Will Mahalo be able to provide better, more relevant results on an ongoing, frequent basis? My guess is no. I do not believe that a small team of editors can keep up to the constantly-expanding, dynamic nature of the web.

I am eager to see the offering put forth by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. He is working on a human-powered search engine of his own. Apparently, these tech industry veterans believe that they can overcome the speed and power of the algorithm-based engines. I am full of doubts. And until they can provide me wrong, I think I will favour the algorithm-based players (especially for long tail queries ;) ).

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