Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mahalo, Squidoo, Hubpages…what’s the difference?

Jason Calacanis has launched the alpha version of his so-called Human-powered search engine called Mahalo.

Calacanis has employed 40 editors/guides who have so far created 4000 result pages. Calacanis has long-range plans- Mahalo will cover 25,000 popular search topics by the end of 2008.

What’s new with Mahalo?
IMHO, nothing.

In fact, Calanacis’s new startup seems to be following the lead of Seth Godin’s Squidoo Lens, where people aggregate links on a given topic and Squidoo shares any ad revenue with the Lens creators.

Another similar model is that of Hubpages, which runs along Squidoo’s type.

Bloggers often use aggregation to create attractive pages. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone started aggregating all these pages, sharing revenue with bloggers.’s guides are doing similar things, only differences being the amount of ‘original content’ the guides add, for a share of advertising revenue.

Answer services Yahoo answers and Chacha cover similar territory.

Wikipedia doesn’t particularly aim to cover all popular search terms and I suspect Calacanis is aiming to tie up with Google a couple of years down the line, if Google is thinking of reducing its reliance on Wikipedia results (or, is it the other way around?)

Then there is the social search aspect pioneered by the likes of Swicki which has covered more than 50,000 topics, the data being submitted and shared by all members rather than select guides.

Rollyo is a variant on social search, basically getting you to create your own search engine.
Google also allows users to create their own search engines- searching only a select list of sites - and sharing adsense revenues with users.

There is just so many options available to web users nowadays.

By the way, I am not sure what the 100 or so guides as planned by Calacanis will do during their work time – you can create 50 result pages easy per day, amounting to at least 12000 pages in a year.

I won’t be surprised if you find these guides being SEO experts as well, working hard at rankings for their result pages –the human-powered search engine needs Google’s adsense to thrive.

The present DMOZ directory-like look of the front page is useful but a separate Tag cloud will come in handy.

The future for Mahalo depends on smarts applied by the crafty Calacanis, who says he has enough funds to run Mahalo for 5 years.

By then, the web 2.0 bubble will be burst – but then there is nothing Web 2.0 ish in Mahalo.

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At 5:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mahalo means "Thank you".

What are they thanking users for?

At 4:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another Mahalo-like company is, which started out with 450 topics and aiming to reach 10,000 topics.

- Tim

At 10:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The concept is similar to that of oondi ( except that oondi will pay out 100% of the advertisement profits to the authors. Their hosting costs are covered by clicks which occur on non-author owned pages like the index but I suppose it's basically a non-profit organization similar to Wikipedia rather than a commercial one like HubPages or Squidoo.

At 12:32 AM , Blogger Jason said...

The big difference between Squidoo/Hubpages and Mahalo is that anyone create any page at anytime on the other systems and on Mahalo their can only be one page for each term.

Do a search on Squidoo for iPhone or Paris Hotels and you'll get hundreds of spam filled results.

Do a search on Mahalo fro iPhone or Paris Hotels and you get one spam free, organized, clean, and helpful page of links.

This page was created with individual editors subject to *massive* and transparent community review. As you can see on the iPhone page many folks are suggesting links and those links are transparently accessed by our guides.


Jason McCabe Calacanis
CEO of

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