- May 30, 2007 TechCrunch.com story titled Jason Calacanis Launches Mahalo Today: Human Powered Search
- Calacanis started the magazine Silicon Alley Reporter back in the 1990's during the dot com boom. The publication folded when the boom busted. Then he founded Weblogs Inc., which he sold to AOL in 2005. Mahalo has $20 million in funding, enough to operate for four to five years.
- Jun 13, 2007 TechCrunch.com story titled Mahalo Greenhouse: Get Paid To Submit Search Results
- The new program allows members of public to build search results for search terms not currently included in Mahalo. If accepted, participants will be paid $10 to $15 per search result.
- Mahalo Greenhouse
- Nearly 900 part-time guides
- Style Guide
- Greenhouse QC Process
- PTG Training Videos
Man vs. Machine
- September 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine, an article titled Man vs. Machine
At the rate it's going, Mahalo will capture some 25,000 terms by the end of 2008--far more than the top 30%. And Calacanis is in no hurry to monetize his idea. He doesn't plan to sell advertising for at least a year or two, giving him plenty of time to establish a viable brand.
Google is powered by perhaps as many as 200,000 servers (the company won't say) and 10,000 employees. Mahalo, to date, has 20 of the first and fewer than 60 of the second. Each day, Mahalo staffers, who are called "guides," sit before two 24-inch monitors in a converted factory in Santa Monica, compiling search results one at a time. It can take several hours to do a single page of links, depending on the complexity of the topic. Most of Calacanis's employees are young out-of-work novelists, screenwriters, musicians, artists, and actors--info addicts happy to earn $35,000 a year plus health benefits by searching the Web rather than shelving books at Barnes & Noble or slinging chai lattes at Starbucks. Calacanis has promised them 15% of the company when and if it goes public, with the investors getting a third and Calacanis keeping the rest.
Over time, he plans to hire as many as 100 of these Netheads. And while it might be tempting to frame the battle as man versus machine, it cuts deeper than that: It's man using the machine against itself. Mahalo's searchers use Google to gather the raw material to build each page of results. But they also use Google to back up its lists. In other words, if you search Mahalo for a term that has yet to be tackled by the guides, you don't come up empty, you just get bumped to the standard results "from our friends at Google," as Calacanis, reluctant to antagonize the seductress of search, puts it. Mahalo grabs 65% of any revenue Google gleans from the referral. The symbiosis extends even further: Google also provides ads for Mahalo through AdSense.To erode Google's advantage further, Calacanis has formed a team to monitor RSS feeds and breaking news stories. Google recently began folding Google News stories into its searches, but the vast majority of these results lag the news noticeably. Mahalo's news team can create a partial page (a "stub" in wiki-speak) in minutes and add to it as a story unfolds. That might not satisfy serious news junkies, but most people start looking for a story 10 hours later or the next day.
Not for Nerds
- Aug 18, 2007 Calacanis blog posting titled I love when folks get it.... (or Mahalo is not for the .001%)
There are, however, the majority of internet users who are spending a couple of hours a day or week on the web and who don't know all the cool sites. They don't know how to find what their looking for quickly. They are frustrated by all the noise. These folks are you sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, and parents in many cases. They are your non-dotcom friends who you have drinks with.Those folks get a LOT from human-created search.
For 'normal' people
- Mahalo Follow - Firefox plugin
- Compare Mahalo results to your current search engine's results, side-by-side.
- May 30, 2007 - Mahalo Launches With Human-Crafted Search Results
- Aug 20, 2007 - Some thoughts on Mahalo - by the founder of Topix
- Aug 26, 2007 - Why Mahalo, TechMeme, and Facebook are going to kick Google’s butt in four years
- Techmeme - aggregating other comments about this claim.
- 10 Things You Can Do with Mahalo
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