Mahalo ... and goodbye
Jason Calacanis' new start-up Mahalo
launched today after being announced at the D5
It is a human-powered search engine. In other words, it is a directory. For results beyond the 4K human-built pages (soon to be 10k) in their system, Mahalo defaults back to Google. It is cute and has a nice, current design. The results for top searches are good.
But Mahalo will flop for the following reasons:
1. Wikipedia kicks Mahalo's ass. Instead of a small group of paid editors, Wikipedia has thousands of people editing and categorizing data. Try searching for things (like Tiger Woods) on Mahalo
and see what you prefer.
2. It isn't a search engine. It is a directory. Directories are expensive to maintain and get old very fast. The list of companies with major funding that have tried this and failed is long. Ask Yahoo, Newhoo/Dmoz/Open Directory, Netscape. And so on.
Danny Sullivan, the king of search, reviews Mahalo
Commenting on TechCrunch, Seth Finkelstein weighs in
Regarding “they are given Google results instead” - is there a formal partnership agreement with Google there? Given the involvement of Sequoia Capital, aka. Google buy-out Sugar Daddy, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is indeed a co-operative arrangement.Bonus points to Vallywag
, who did one hellofajob guessing what Mahalo would be well before it was announced.
Of course, Jason's A-list buddy and fellow TC20
conference organizer Michael Arrington gives it a pretty glowing review
. Nice to see you can always count on your friends. Here's the announcement on Jason's blog
. Check it out, as he's much better at hype than me. Official PR is here
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