Mahalo’s Calacanis: Time To End The Content Farm Arms Race

No stranger to controversy, Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis threw down a gauntlet at his "content farm" competitors, arguing they're polluting the web and angering Google, to the detriment of searchers and their own companies. Calacanis made his remarks during an "Ending The Content Arms Race" talk at FM’s Signal LA event. My semi-live blogging of his talk is below. Jason recaps how he started Mahalo in 2007 reaction to what he considered bad search results on Google, results that were filled with spam. He felt human editors could do a better job selecting results for the most popular searc [...]

He Calls Google A Vampire, But Mark Cuban’s Mahalo Is Doing The Sucking

Yesterday, Mark Cuban warned media owners in a keynote speech that Google is a vampire trying to suck them dry, giving them nothing back and daring owners to block it. This is the same Mark Cuban who is an investor in Mahalo, which touts to advertisers how it taps into Google to generate page views. Is Google a vampire except when it works in Cuban's favor? It's compare and contrast time. Cuban's speech at the OnMedia conference was reported by several publications. I'll quote from AdWeek: "Google is a vampire, and you run scared," he said. "There is no reason to be indexed in Google." An [...]

Mahalo Answers Launches, Offers Cash For Q&A

Mahalo Answers is the newest entry into the crowded Q&A reference site space, but it offers a twist that its biggest competitors don't: the chance to earn money by contributing to the service. Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis says the new service is the third and final piece of his original vision for Mahalo, making it a site that combines search, content, and knowledge exchanges. Yahoo Answers is the 800-lb. gorilla in this field, with some astonishing numbers reported earlier this year: 135 million users and 500 million answers worldwide, and growing at a rate of 11 million new answ [...]

Search 4.0: Social Search Engines & Putting Humans Back In Search

Previously I've covered what I dubbed Search 3.0, how search engines have evolved toward blending vertical or specialized results into "regular" web listings. Today, the step beyond that: Search 4.0, how personal, social and human-edited data can be used to refine search results. The Search Evolution So Far Before going ahead, let me summarize what I covered in my past article, in terms of how search engines have changed over time to create and rank the results you get when doing a search: Search 1.0 (1996): Pages ranked using "on-the-page" criteria Search 2.0 (1998): Pages [...]

SMX Social: Just What Did Calacanis Say About SEO & More Recaps

At our SMX Social Media Marketing conference this week, we had a great panel on the future of human powered search. Jason Calacanis of Mahalo, Jimmy Wales of Wikia Search, and Steven Marder of Eurekster all took part. Jason had some remarks on SEO that set off the usual wave of upset. But as I commented to those who weren't at the panel, by the end of Q&A, Jason -- along with Jimmy Wales and Seven Marder -- were agreeing about the usefulness of SEO. It's all down to the definitions. Below you can hear Jason's presentation yourself, then you can hear the Q&A portion that covered search [...]

SMX Social: Mahalo To Do Microformats, Search Wikia Adds Alpha 0.2 Features & More

News from the first day of our SMX Social Media Marketing conference. Mahalo is now doing microformats as a way to enhance its search results and allow local businesses to be added to your address book. Wikia Search has gone to "Alpha 0.2" with new features. And other conference coverage, below. Jason Calacanis of Mahalo, Jimmy Wales of Wikia Search, and Steven Marder of Eurekster all spoke at the end of the day on our Social Search: The Human Challengers panel. Lisa Barone provides live blogging coverage in her Keynote - Social Search: The Human Challengers post at the Bruce Cla [...]

Mahalo Adds More Social Features

Mahalo has just launched several new features that entwine the human-powered search engine even further into social networking and online community building. The Mahalo Follow toolbar now enables you to post links to Delicious, Ma.gnolia, Mahalo Social, and Twitter with the click of one button. The sidebar now displays quick tips when you're on sites like Twitter and Gmail. In addition, Mahalo now lets you create "stub" pages (much like you can on Wikipedia). Jason Calacanis assures us on his blog that he has 50 full time people watching user-contributed content for spam and will not only rem [...]

The Google Challengers: 2008 Edition

Rich Skrenta -- who, aside from creating the first computer virus, is more notable to search as a cofounder of the Open Directory Project and the Topix news search engine -- has announced he's founded a search start-up. A stealth one, as TechCrunch puts it. Don't we already have several stealth search start-ups? Yep. Here's a guide to who's who. Blekko What we know so far about Blekko isn't much, and TechCrunch has the most details in its The Next Google Search Challenger: Blekko post from yesterday. Apparently Rich founded the company in September 2006, along with five othe [...]

Who’s Ranking For Knol? Hello, Wikipedia!

Ah, sweet irony. Yesterday I spent some time raising concerns about knowledge aggregation sites like Wikipedia and the forthcoming Google Knol potentially ranking tops for every search conducted. Today, what's in the top results for Knol? Yep -- a new Wikipedia page on the topic! The page was created yesterday and took less than 24 hours to show up. Looking at the top results for Knol is also fascinating in how until last week, the Google project wasn't announced, so the results had no reflection of it. Today, they dominate the page: Let's run down the list. KNOL is also the ticker sy [...]

Mahalo Adds The Social Graph To Search

Everyone's been talking about how the social graph is the next evolution of search. Search 4.0. The next step forward after Search 3.0's blended and personalized search. Today, Mahalo is taking that next step and adding a social layer to their search results. Jason Calacanis, Mahalo founder, says that the problem of search will be solved by a combination of machines, human curation, and social interaction, and with today's launch of Mahalo Social, Mahalo adds the beginning of that elusive social interaction. The new features include profiles and the ability to recommend links for search terms. [...]

The Promise & Reality Of Mixing The Social Graph With Search Engines

I'm having a bad day. Aside from my desktop crashing, we get another spate of "let's blame SEO" to start my morning off. Robert Scoble uses that theme as a launching pad for a series of videos on how Facebook potentially could be a killer search engine -- regardless of the fact he seems to have no clue that "social graph" or social networking mixing has been tried and abandoned with search. Having watched his videos, which have sparked much discussion, I'll do some debunking, some educating for those who want more history of what's been done in the area, plus I'll swing around to that [...]

Mahalo Follow: Toolbar Gives You Human-Powered Alternatives To Searching, Surfing

Mahalo Follow is a new toolbar that allows you to view Mahalo's human-powered search results next to the results from the major search engine of your choice or have them appear in response to pages you view on the web. Mahalo Launches With Human-Crafted Search Results from me in May explains more about the Mahalo service -- Jason Calacanis's challenge to Google and the other major search engines that human editors can craft better results than algorithms. But nearly two months after its launch, fair to say that the major search engines aren't shaking in their boots, as Mahalo has yet to gain a [...]

Search Spam Fight – Mahalo: 1; Squidoo: 0

Last week, Jason Calacanis of Mahalo renewed his campaign from earlier this year against Squidoo as a source of search spam. This time, he appears to have gotten a result. Despite Squidoo's belated plea that it would clean things up, Google seems to have penalized Squidoo. Below, a timeline for those keeping score along with snarky post-game analysis and an explanation of that weird cat photo above. February 2007: Calacanis does a post called "Is Squidoo becoming a massive, dirty SEO back alley?" Squidoo takes a PR hit, but no search impact on the site is reported.   May 20 [...]

Google’s Human Touch

The Human Touch That May Loosen Google’s Grip from the New York Times questions whether Google's use of algorithms and computers to compile search results might lead to its demise in the future. One of the search engines the NY Times focuses on is the Mahalo human-edited search engine. It also explores several search alternatives. PC World also covers some of these in a timely article. Google engineer Matt Cutts is quoted extensively in the article, making a case that Google does have a human touch. Matt followed up the article with his own blog post named the role of humans in Google sea [...]

Mahalo Greenhouse: Get Paid For Writing Search Results

Jason Calacanis has announced Mahalo Greenhouse, a way for users to get paid for writing their own search results for the Mahalo people-powered search engine. The Greenhouse FAQ gives more details on the program, where if accepted, you can earn $10 to $15 per submission. Greenhouse kind of makes Mahalo a bit more like Squidoo. For more details on Mahalo, check out Danny's Mahalo Launches With Human-Crafted Search Results. Postscript From Danny: Jason comments below on key differences he sees between Greenhouse and Squidoo, which he recently described in an interview with John Battelle as " [...]

Mahalo Launches With Human-Crafted Search Results

Mahalo, the expected people-powered search engine backed by Jason Calacanis, has now gone live in an early "Alpha" test release. In Mahalo, human editors have crafted the top search results for popular queries. For example, search for [paris hotels], and human editors at Mahalo have assembled a page that lists actual hotels in Paris rather than hotel aggregation/booking sites that you see at Google. I ran a few queries when talking with Jason about the service last week. Often, the results were impressive. In some other cases, the humans had gone into overkill, listing so many rela [...]

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