Mahalo Human Edited Search : Past Meets Future

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Jumping on the human edited search wagon and keeping a little bit of Netscape dirt on the heels of his boots, Jason Calacanis is backing a new human edited search project dubbed Mahalo.

Mahalo is a Hawaiian expression of thanks, and is a bit of a catchy name in the world of search engines with names like ChaCha, Accoona and Hakia.

One of the easiest ways to explain Mahalo is that its part directory, part Netscape, part and supplemented by Google.

Mahalo’s definition statement is kind of like taking a time machine back to 1998 and the world of Guides :

Mahalo is the world’s first human-powered search engine powered by an enthusiastic and energetic group of Guides. Our Guides spend their days searching, filtering out spam, and hand-crafting the best search results possible. If they haven’t yet built a search result, you can request that search result. You can also suggest links for any of our search results.

Instead of volunteer guides which get points, credits and the opportunities to plug their own sites, Mahalo is taking the Netscape editorial staff vision into the search world.

These staff members will be giving ‘hand jobs’ to specific search results (Mahalo has a goal of 10,000 results) which will include recommended sites and information, somewhat similar to’s Smart Answers or Yahoo Shortcuts, which offer multimedia information and links to relevant human picked content.

Mahalo goes farther in their human edited search results however, much farther.

A search for iPod brings a Top 7 of online resources on the product, including an embedded YouTube video. Then product reviews are served in the results from various comparison engines and online stores (the links do not appear to be affiliate links) and other relevant info is served, such as guides to support, tips & tricks, hacks and so forth.

Mahalo also encourages its users to recommend links, report spam, and connect with Mahalo guides.

Although Mahalo continues to remind me of the directory powered search engines of old, it does seem to be breathing some fresh air into the search market via 2.0 type features as community, video, transparency and relevant information.

It will take time to see what happens with Mahalo, but apparently Calacanis & company have 5 years worth of funding to power their human edited search monster, and industry eyes will be on this project.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Anand

    Loren, there have been quite a number of ‘human powered’ search engines of late…Though you have not mentioned Sproose as one of these, I feel Sproose carries much more weight than any of the others., simply because it carries the success of Digg onto the search platform…

  • iMarketingGuru

    Great tidbit on Sproose, I have to check it out immediately. As for the post, great, great move on Jason Calacanis’ part on the building of a completely human-powered search. I just hope that he uses perfect data to fit data from other areas into the areas of the human-powered directory — (take in Digg bookmarks, PageFlakes “flakes”, squidoo lenses, bookmarks, etc.). I hope the best for this new venture, but there is much more needed to power a company offering superior search results — either the company must harness humans much like the open-source movement (based on status and rank) or based on monetary value (Squidoo but created in an editorial way).

    Anyways, love the post and I’ve NEVER heard of Mahalo as of yet. What other sites do you suggest like Mahalo? Do the sites shown up give high link love to the sites documented? If so, this new site may be a great opportunity for link-building/SEO…

  • Mark

    I frankly did not like the search engine and the way they list the results. It is confusing and doesn’t look like an engine which is going to go anywhere. looks like all hype and hot air, nothing else.

  • Adam Jusko

    Mahalo appears to be the exact same concept as Bessed, except it’s got a “name” in Jason Calacanis and a lot more money behind it. Not sure whether we should be flattered or disgusted.

  • Andy Beard on Mahalo

    It is quite funny, I wrote an overall positive review as well, and was accused of being Jason’s bitch despite probably giving his more negative coverage on a wide range of topics than most search blogs don’t cover.

    I did find a few bugs, and Jason responded that those are going to be fixed.

    I like the fact that the editors use their real names, which gives some level of accountability always missing in the various Open projects.

  • Loren Baker, Editor

    Good point on the Editors’ names Andy; I also like that they show the backgrounds of the editors as well. Gives it more of, well, a human touch.

  • dabu

    This is similar to mahalo –

    However, it is more extended in polish version –

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