Jason Calacanis Mahalo Diggbait – Lies Or Credit?

Just one month ago Jason Calacanis invited me and a few bloggers he has crossed swords with in the past onto his Calacanis podcast. During that podcast I highlighted what I believe was one of the fundamental flaws with Mahalo’s long-term success, and Jason very politely rejected my advice.

Here is the full “SEO Podcast” show which I also posted and discussed one month ago.
You can skip watching the whole thing, I have included an excerpt further down the page

However I want to concentrate on one small part of that discussion and unfortunately even when you have the whole podcast cached in the Podtech player, it doesn’t seem possible, at least on my system, to fast forward to the section I want to concentrate on.
So using their video player I wouldn’t be able to tell you to skip to a particular segment.

Podtech list all kinds of usage restrictions

I am including an excerpt for the following reasons

  • The technical ability not to be able to skip to the part of the show I need to reference
  • I need to use a small fragment of the whole in what could be looked on as a journalistic capacity, but I am not a journalist
  • The section of the conversation I want to use includes what I personally said, and Jason’s response directly to me.
  • What was said is an integral part of my ability to report on current events

So here is an excerpt along with some interesting clips

This signals a change in focus by Mahalo, possibly prompted by one of the key issues I had with Mahalo, that the content wasn’t Diggable.

Jason certainly seems to have taken that concept to heart, and is now competing against the sites he is listing as “quality search results”.

Mahalo was meant to be a “search engine” – Google is a search engine, they don’t create content – Mahalo is no longer just a search engine

Mahalo is now competing against content sites such as Lifehacker, Lifehack and Smashing Magazine who frequently publish links to great content, and “How To” information.

My suggestion was to make Mahalo search results “diggable” – that doesn’t require content creation, just a short paragraph explaining why a particular link is worthy of a reader’s attention.

Mahalo has gone beyond that.. I am not sure that is the purpose of Mahalo, at least how it has been spun to us to date.

Should I be given any credit? Jason has done the “made for digg” content sites to death with Weblogs Inc, but he might not have realised that Mahalo needed something of the same to gain links.
If he did realise it, then in the podcast he wasn’t telling the whole truth about his future plans to publish diggbait.

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  1. says

    If he did realise it, then in the podcast he wasn’t telling the whole truth about his future plans to publish diggbait.

    I suppose that depends on how long it would take implement the change.

    You and Graywolf and the others all had some great criticism of Mahalo, but you’re not doing yourself any favors now by looking for something that isn’t there. Makes you look like a bit of a whiner.

  2. says

    This is how I have responded to some of Jason’s fans on YouTube (he linked through from Twitter to the video)

    The quality of the content is not under question, it is exceptional.

    That isn’t however the point…

    Jason Calacanis launched a search engine that was intended to improve search results by editing them by hand and finding those gems that don’t rise to the top because of “evil SEOs”

    A “Search Results Page” is quite “free form” in structure, and when better content is discovered it can easily be included within the body of the page.

    What Mahalo are now creating are “How Tos” with detailed information, with a few links at the end to other content.
    It would be very time consuming to change these “how to” like “search results pages” to include information on alternative methods and alternative services

    Mahalo was intended to highlight the best content on the web, not replace it.

    I previously had some sympathy for Mahalo because the purpose was highlighting good content, and they even gave good links.

    It would have been very easy to highlight the good content in such as way as to not take away the value of the original content.

    I don’t look on this as being a “whiner”, I think it is a paradigm shift in emphasis that needed to be highlighted.

  3. says

    I completely agree that Mahalo has taken a long departure from a “search engine”.

    At some level I respect what Jason started to do, but now it seems like the entire model has shifted dramatically. I don’t know if it’s a lack of focus, a lack of good management, or what – but it seems like an ever-shifting project.

  4. says

    So is Mahalo trying to be “About.com”?

    I visited Mahalo yesterday. One things for sure: It’s one wretched search engine!

  5. Morton Gambit says

    Do you notice now how Jason submits every “how-to” page to every social site – digg, delicious, reddit, netscape and stumbleupon and then begs his blog readers to hit them?

    I wonder when he will have his greenhouse start to digg everything too so that every how-to hits the home page. Of course that is probably happening now as at least half the votes come from confirmed mahalo people.

    I guess search engine didnt work so now we try how-to engine.

  6. says

    The way Mahalo is going at the moment, I don’t see how it is any different from Squidoo (which he likes to slam) or Hubpages. It certainly isn’t a search engine.

  7. says

    I completely agree with you Andy and one important thing everyone is missing, is that Mahalo’s “search results” are being indexed by the other search engines, the real ones. I don’t think many search engines do this, why put an extra step to users searching at Google? More and more I’m beginning to think that Calacanis’ master plan is to rank Mahalo pages at the top for the major keywords out there (let’s say 10000 :)) and make some bucks.

    One of the greatest anti-SEO positioning result pages at Google? I’ve seen it all…