After a few days of brooding, I finally post: Mahalo & Community-centric Search Thoughts

Posted on November 13, 2007. Filed under: Epic-Fu, Google, Mahalo, My Musings, search |

On 11/01 I noticed that the JetSet Show had changed their name to Epic-Fu. I also noticed that Mahalo, a people driven search site, now has it’s own daily web show.

Why mention both? Well besides obsessively patrolling the web all day and browsing through random web show archives, I remembered that the host of Mahalo Daily is Veronica Belmont, who was once a guest on the show formerly known as Jet Set. You can read Veronica’s Mahalo Daily announcement on her blog.

Mahalo & Google: A Relationship To Ponder

I wrote about Mahalo back in September, feeling it would be a great place for my web savvy/obsessed brother to work.

So far, as a user, I have mixed feelings about Mahalo. Initially, I wondered what the difference would be between Mahalo and community curated/moderated search sites like Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a source for information about *almost* every topic in *almost* every language imaginable, presented as continuously updated articles with reference links…

Mahalo is a human powered aggregator of primarily English based search results comprised of relevant links, not articles. It lacks the editorial element that Wikipedia provides, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing (it does offer limited Guide notes). But what makes Mahalo a stopping point for me as I go from Google to Wikipedia?At this stage, Mahalo works as a (if I can remember it) middle ground for me between Google and Wikipedia. If Mahalo doesn’t have results created for my topic, it points me to Google, where I would go anyway. It’s another layer of work that I am not yet sure I am willing to deal with.

The relationship between Google and Mahalo is a little perplexing for me. By partnering with Mahalo, Google is acknowledging that their search result don’t ALWAYS bring you what you want. That’s cool, there are pretty obscure links out there defy all algorithms. But if you are already in bed with each other, why not provide all Google search results along with the producer curated Mahalo result pages? Why make me do one search with you, and then another on Google to make sure you (Mahalo) didn’t miss anything?

What I like about the Mahalo search pages is that although it’s just a bunch of links, they are broken into categories. All the video links/embeds are in one area, and so on. One of the many things that annoy me about Google searches is that sometimes getting the most relevant/linked to search results at top isn’t what you want. You should have the options of seeing all results broken into categories. If I search for “figs”, I want to see all results as images, videos, links, etc. broken into categories. Mahalo is providing this manually, but I want it dynamically, and I don’t want to have to go to both Mahalo and Google to get what I want.

Aside from that, Here Are Some Things I Like About Mahalo:

Current and Relevant Search Results: Mahalo employs full time producers who create and update specific search terms/categories, including links that (for whatever reasons) aren’t normally found in most search results. Besides niche interests, they stay abreast of popular topics as they happen and provide great relevant links. EX: Donda West (not to be morbid, but a good example)

Harnessing the power of community: (Mahalo Greenhouse Guides)

…Some people really like discussing/researching links on Triads. Why not let them get paid to do it while contributing to quality search results?

Transparency/Accountability!: (I hate this word but it applies) EX: Ability to see all search result progress on producer profiles. If the search results suck, I know who to contact!

Again, the emphasis on community oriented search is pretty cool. If you join their Facebook group you’ll get a better sense of what I mean.

Back to brooding.

Wait… Here:

Notable Mahalo Linkage

Man Vs. Machine – Fast Company

New ‘Mahalo’ search engine uses people power – USA Today

Interesting thread on TechChrunch post – TechChrunch

Mahalo, an SEO’s Worst Enemy – ProNet Advertising (I don’t necessarily agree with this, but it’s interesting)

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One Response to “After a few days of brooding, I finally post: Mahalo & Community-centric Search Thoughts”

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Daniela,

Mahalo for the great feedback. Have you thought about introducing your brother to the greenhouse?

Also checkout our social networks at:
http://mahalo.ning.com
http://mahalodaily.ning.com

Take care,
Sean


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