There is a most interesting discussion going on within LinkedIn of all places about how Jason Calacanis can better Mahalo, his human edited search project.
Wondering if you guys were me, what would you do next with Mahalo.
1. We’ve got a great team: tech, admin, research, and editorial.
2. We’ve got an amazing server setup and can handle massive traffic.
3. We’ve got 4,000 pages done and can do 500 per week.
4. The public is suggesting links already (do a search apple, iphone, a car or a tv show and you’ll fine some suggested links).
5. Folks are not chatting on message board yet.
6. We have a very stable and robust technology platform (MediaWiki).
So, given what we’ve got… what would you do next?!?!?
So far, there are 66 responses, ranging in real suggestions, critiques of the project, and some people asking for jobs from Mahalo.
I went to Mahalo and while I found it interesting, I did not come away with, “the next time I want to do [X], I’m using Mahalo!”. Own a horizontal online category activity (e.g. Travel – Orbitz, Mindless Videos – YouTube.com, Music – iTunes, Stocks – Yahoo! Finance, Electronics – cNet.com). I can see the asset that you’re building clearly, however I don’t see the application quite so clearly.
Differentiate yourself. Like several of the other comments said, you’re doing a better job at what about.com and wikipedia have been doing for years. I think you’ve hit the TechCrunch, Digg, Reddit etc. crowd well, but we’re going to go right back to google after we take the tour. You say you have people powered search, but when it gets right down to it, I’m still reading text on a page.
Assuming Mahalo is a great idea and you will iterate and evolve it to make it even better (Mahalo Kids, My Mahalo, etc), your focus should be on getting the word out and building the brand. Buzz only lasts so long… I would focus on creating sustainable mass audience-reaching distribution channels for the Mahalo’s brand and the actual service.
What amazes me more than the indepth answers given to Jason’s question is that this is one of the major informating driving projects I’ve seen conducted so far on LinkedIn Answers, which has me thinking about using it more and more in the future to tap the expertise of my connections and their talents.
By using LinkedIn as a vehicle for tapping the knowledge of his opinion leader filled network, Jason has reinforced the brand of Mahalo amongst his peers, and found some quite useful input and critique on the project… but I’m going to be walking away from this thinking more about LinkedIn and its Answers capabilities than Mahahlo, thanks Jason 🙂