22 August 2007

Jason Calacanis - Mahalo

screen shot of Maholo.com, new people generated search engineScreen shot of Mahalo search engine results
for the term "advertising" on 8/22/07.
Right click to open larger version in another window.


Man vs. Machine is a great article about Jason Calacanis, the person everyone loves to hate. He is stepping back to a kinder, gentler time of personalized (read people-generated) search. Inspired by a "family and friends email" his wife put together about Kauai, where she an Jason were married, Calacanis has secured $20 million in venture capital and launched Mahalo.com: Human-powered Search.

I like the idea of human-generated search results. It brings to mind Apostolos Gerasoulis and AskJeeves.com (see blog post, Into the Realm of Search Engine Algorithms (CoolAdzine for Marketers, 10/28/2005).

On the other hand, Mr. Calacanis' wife planned her wedding on Kauai, my favorite Hawaiian island. Either she spent countless days finding perfect places to stay, eat and celebrate on the Internet or by driving around the island. Using this method to complete top 10,000 search terms may be a stretch.

Couple of things I found wonky on the web site:
  • Getting paid to write search engine result pages.

  • Most relevant search engine results came from "our friends at Google."

  • Find a term with no results, submit your email address and you will receive a "hand-written result for your search."

  • The use of metatags and choice of keywords: "Main Page,14 Soldiers Die in Helicopter Crash,2007 NFL Pre-Season Week 3,2007 VFW Convention,Amy Winehouse,Apple,Apple August 2007 Special Event,Arabic,Banana Peppers,Becoming Jane,Bentley"-will these be changed daily?
The funny thing is Mahalo resembles all those spam search engines that used to cover the Internet. Do you remember? People hand coded search engine pages with their affiliate links, put them on paid to promote (PTP) sites and paid people .010 cents to click on them.

It is indeed a fine thing to try to do things differently. Good luck, Mr. Calacanis!




2 comments:

lucia said...

Well, now I know who Ann Moore is! Imagine, more people are googling than "advertising"? (Or did they code her to show the Venture Capitalists an example of what human editors can do?)

Anyway, lately, I just can't stay away from Mahalo. Jason stopped by and reminded me that it's only beta and the search results will improve.

I hope not; the nearly random search results are way more fun the way it is right now! :)

CyberCelt said...

@lucia-the only thing I can think is that we are taking a step backwards. It is like "Wikipedia gone wild." LOL

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