Mahalo vs Google

I read the Mahalo vs Google article in Techcrunch and these here are my thoughts.

I think Mahalo needs a better way to indicate the quality of their links rather than just mentioning what the source is. It's tough to skim to see what might be useful if the page looks like:

http://www.mahalo.com/tea

Compare to any search engine with snippets

http://www.ask.com/web?q=tea&qsrc=0&o=0&l=dir

They also appear to leave QA to random people.
I've submitted a handful of links (I wanted to see how it works!), some of which have been taken, some of which haven't, with no real rhyme or reason as to which were taken and why.
That being said, I think that there's a good place for a user generated list of links for the top 20k queries or so. I just wouldn't want to be the one maintaining it.

I have to say, Mahalo's "one-box equivalent" (guide note/fast facts) is actually pretty cool. They seem to have them for tons of search terms, and I bet that often times they answer the searcher's question.
Just as an example: query="u2"

Guide Note: U2 are one of the most popular Rock bands in music history. Their lead singer, Bono, has also become known for his charity work and efforts to provide debt-relief to third-world nations.

Fast Facts

  1. Hometown: Dublin, Ireland
  2. Formed: 1976
  3. Bono's Real Name: Paul David Hewson
  4. The Edge's Real Name: Dave Howell Evans
  5. Worldwide Album Sales: Over 170 million
Mahalo uses Google to back-end fill all the queries to which they do not have user submitted articles for. There's a huge gap between what is being searched on the web and what Mahalo currently has in their database (and what they have the bandwidth to create). For this reason Mahalo is dependent on Google (at the moment) and can not be the "Google Killer" some blogs have said it is.

Furthermore, Mahalo's method of search doesn't mesh well with users who are looking for very specific content, breaking news, or a more mature subject matter (e.g. real estate, taxes, business, government info, etc.). As Mahalo user submitted pages are for the most part general and take time to be posted.

Where Mahalo looks to be thriving is in providing content for a much younger generation of users. The vast majority of their user submitted content focuses on movies, music, video games, etc.

Conclusion
Mahalo? Liked it better when it was called about.com.

Mahalo is an SEO play, not a search play -- just like the companies
that Calcanis bashes. The only different is that Calcanis is
pugnacious and connected to tech 2.0 media, so he can make a splash
with big, bold claims. You can actually see this in his earlier
startups, including his digg-ification of the Netscape homepage.

I think the guy is cheeky enough and has the force of personality that
he may have a big hit one day, but I don't think this is it.

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