Jason Calacanis & The 4 Little SEOs Podcast

I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your SERPs down…

But is it all just hot air?

Also vailable as Audio [MP3] video [mp4] iPod [mp4]


Jason Calacanis (here is a link to all my Jason Calacanis coverage)

Michael Gray also known as Graywolf
Brian Provost of Scoreboard Media
Allen Stern of CenterNetworks
… and some quiet blogger called Andy Beard who no one has really heard of but at least he gets everyone’s names spelled correctly ;)

Whilst throughout the podcast Graywolf was referred to as the wolf, and most of Jason Calacanis’ readers know he has been slacking a bit on his fatblogging, in some ways I can’t help thinking that at least in this episode, the real wolf was the one sitting in the chair.

I was my quiet, unassuming self especially at 1am on my “virgin” podcast, and on an international call it isn’t easy butting in on a conversation to make a point.

The domains by proxy discussion generally took over the discussion halfway through, and being a European (si3429 of 2006) I stayed out of it, and there was some great comparison of Squidoo and Mahalo.

Jason seems to think that all SEOs are out to game his service. I still think Mahalo is going to fall into a trap of always listing the same “trusted” sites such as Wikipedia, because for any term there might be 1000 credible links, and many of the SEO / Affiliate sites could easily have better information than even the original sources.

A good “white hat” , “thick” (rather than thin) Affiliate site is going to have potentially better information and links than Mahalo, and Mahalo scalability was looked at.

The last 5 minutes covers the greenhouse program and how people might attempt to game the Mahalo results.

With Mahalo having $250,000 reserved for Wikipedia donations this year from the $10 -$15 that editors can choose to give to Wikipedia instead of keeping for themselves, and the prominent position of Wikipedia links on every results page, I am sure Jason would really love those links being reciprocated (with a followable link to a fellow “trusted” Wiki).

You can probably make more money writing for PayPerPost than Mahalo, and have the chance to write better quality content.

Yes that is a referral link, and if you sign up for PayPerPost using that link, I will make as much as Jason pays for the “1 to 2″ hours he thinks it takes to write a good “Mahalo Search result”

You could also sign up for PayPerPost using the “Review My Post” button at the bottom of every one of my posts. All you then have to do is write a blog post, link through to my post in a short review, and we both make $7.50

If you love everything about Jason Calacanis, and want to rip apart everything I have said about Jason in the past in that review, you would still make $7.50

I suggested in the comments of my previous post on Mahalo that a researcher might spend a full working day in total on a search result.
For a partial search result with the Greenhouse program, I would hope for at least 4 hours of effort in evaluation and creation. If you have a search page with 20 links, surely it takes more than 3 to 6 minutes to find and evaluate each one for inclusion?
In Europe (well in the UK) that is $40 at minimum wage, but surely a good researcher is worth more than that?
Jason says he will evaluate the payments in the future, maybe he will introduce a tiered system where you can qualify for $40 to $100 per search result and bonuses over time for maintaining them.

Wikipedia is a non-profit, Mahalo is a business – outsourced workers don’t benefit from typical startup perks such as partial ownership, they deserve better compensation.

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  1. says

    Never really understand how Mahalo work. All I know is they are human search engine. Do you they pay out or outsource for people to review the submitted link?

  2. says

    Andy, nice to see your blog back and running.

    I do not consider myself a SEO but I think every affiliate marketer needs/uses seo to some extent. I do however think Jason is very ignorant and angry towards affiliate marketers as well. In this interview he continually says that we are after people to trick them somehow.

    I wish him a lot of luck….. But can you imagine some one saying “Do you Mahalo?” or “Let me Mahalo something up on the internet”? lol

    He is up against companies whose names are equivalent to “search”. And from what I understand he claims that search results are way too polluted. What are the Google results are doing on Mahalo? What a bunch of crap!
    I do give him credit for inviting you guys on his show.

    I could have made a post out of it… oh well.

  3. says

    Just one more thing. I live in US but I never have associate AlJazeera with AlQuaida. In fact for his information AlJazeera has offices across USA including Washington DC.

  4. says

    I watched the whole podcast I gotta say it was kind of entertaining, that JC dude is quite a character. Did you noticed how he fished for comments and compliemnts? I think the thing with this mahalo thing is that really there are sooooo many possible queries and ways of asking search engines things, that to expect to be able to create lots of human created versions and then manage them too is just a bridge too far.

    I would have like to have heard JC flseh it all out a little more and talk about the ongoing management issues of such a concept. I really don’t think it scales – unless of course it really grwos legs and has some mass user particiption thing where ‘Maholo fansters’ volunteer to edit it via some trusted wikitisation process.

    Go out there today and buy any number of keyword databases for popular searches and you’ll find yourself in the millions very quickly. Jesus, take paris Hotels alone and you off on a big big curve. Hotels in Paris, Hotel in Paris, place to saty in Paris, Hotel Room Paris, Paris cheap Hotel, Luxury Paris Hotel, Lodging Paris, Paris 5 star hotel, B and B Paris, Paris Bed and Breakfast, Paris Guesthouse, Paris Accommodation, Accommodation in Paris…ok, you get the point I’m sure. That’s just one little 2 word kw phrase – the satellite phrases are legion. What does one do? Just replicate the main paris hotel page and apply it to all, or do you create a series of other pages that fit around those terms.

    Whilst backfill scraper content might well work for the non user created pages and queries, its hardly innovative and as i think it was GW who said it, its little more than a low quality scrape – I mean come on, how is an rss newsfeed scrape with titles in any way fresh or indicative of quaility.

    I’m sure it might fly, but at the end of it all, Mahalo is just an ambitous piece of kit, with a great driver behind it. Whether that’ll be enough to make it a killer must use resource is another thing.

    If it were anybody else then IMO it would be sensible for Google or Y! to strangle it at birth and simply refuse to index its content, after all don’t we already have enough human edited directories already – I suspect that Sequoia involvement might prevent this though.

    Really though, what is different about this thing? Its just the same old links to other stuff put together by people with a time focused bias on stuff that they think is cool . Give it a year then much of that stuf wull have aged at best or not exist at worst, meaning that it just ends up like some mishmash of irrelavent broken links. I may be wrong, perhaps they’ll build a few spiders that go out and check for 404’s and 301’s or 302’s, there is a lot they could do programatically to possibly prevent or reduce spam hijacks or legacy deteriorations, I just feel that it wont be enough.

    I could be wrong of course, it certainly won’t be the first time. :D

    • says

      You might have done more keyword research on this topic than Jason ;)

      I don’t think it will fail, there is so much money thrown at it, enough to turn Dmoz into something useful again.

      It doesn’t need to scale, Google will probably allow it to rank for redirects just like Wikipedia.

  5. says

    This is the second Calacanis Cast that I’ve watched (the first being the one with Ted Murphy) and, again, I’ve come away with an overwhelming urge to punch my monitor. There is just something about the smug, smarmy way he conducts himself that makes my blood boil.

    Mahalo will fail. By the time it’s got the draw it will already be too late. It’s not the SEO/search engine buster that JC promised. It’s nothing but a rehashed version of DMOZ.

    The scalability issues have not been looked into. I enjoyed the part where JC squirms as it’s pointed out to him that each and every page will need constant review to prevent SEOs from buying up the “trusted” sites.

    Does he really think that he’s got some kind of bomb proof product here? His stock answer was that if he found that one of his editors was being paid a sweetener to include results, he’s fire them. Great, JC, and just how many people will be queuing up to slog away building your pages for $15? So you’re going to have reviewers to check the reviewers? Do you really think that will work?

    Did anyone believe him when he said that he was unaware that aged domains have more weight in the SERPs? Come on…

    Thanks for flying the flag on this one, Andy. Shame those pesky Americans didn’t let you speak more ;)

  6. says

    I love a guy who stirs it up and that’s why I love JC.

    Sure, a lot of what he says is kak, but it’s not like the dude is unsuccesful at what he does.

    He is a master at the art of conversational jujitsu.

    It was a shame you didn’t get stuck in more Andy, I would have liked to hear more. A litre of Dr Pepper works wonders.

    For the record, Mahaloaola or whatever it’s called will fail, there is no need for it. I could see a travel specific type of site working though. But the size of what they are trying to cover is huge.

    • says

      ( months ago you could have said there isn’t a need for any more SEO Blogs or Blogs about blogging or affiliate marketing, and in many ways you would be right, but there was still room in the niche.

      Success won’t necessarily be down to how good the results are, but how many links it gets.

      If I was going to link to some kind of reference, and the Mahalo results were ok, I would be inclined to link to them rather than Wikipedia because they have followable links.

      I would also like their work to be under GPL, so I can legitimately scrape them with a link back ;)

      I think it will come down to the ability to get eyeballs, and there are a few plays to help that possible, one being links from Wikipedia.

  7. says

    Iv’e submitted my site about two weeks ago, I doubt it will get in though, all the big boys on their, just looks like a way to make sure that the rich stay rich.

  8. says

    Iv’e submitted my site about two weeks ago, I doubt it will get in though, all the big American boys on there, just looks like a way to make sure that the rich stay rich.

  9. says

    At least, this guy is smart.

    By having 4 of you, he get a big coverage from your blog regardless of whatever you guys say. By 2 weeks time, this story will be everywhere and the curious lot will start asking, what is Mahalo? This is cheap publicity. He also have the chance to reply to what you guys wrote some time ago regarding Mahalo.

    So, this video somewhat change the perspective to some group of readers. Even if it is a failure, JC has the attention this time.