The Mahalo Method: Cut costs by paying users to produce content

Jason Calacanis is hoping to increase user generated content at his “human search engine” Mahalo with a new revenue sharing model that lets users split the site’s profits.

The two year web directory announced the changes at New York Tech Meetup on Tuesday. According to Calacanis:

“We need to get out of the page creation business and move to the next level.”

Until now, entries on Mahalo were created by a small team of paid staffers. Now, any user can claim a topic, maintain and esentially own it. But unlike the Wikipedia model, where users create and update pages for free, Mahalo is letting users in on the profits of their labor, with a 50/50 split of the ad revenue on created pages.

Own generic terms on Twitter to win at SEO

Jason Calacanis, by David Sifry via FlickrI wrote a post last month called ‘Why should brands own their own social media profiles’, where I called out Coca Cola for not bothering to sign up for @coke and @dietcoke on Twitter. But there’s a bit more to it than meets the eye.

Earlier today, I spotted a note on Twitter by Rory Brown that simply said: “I really like the concept behind @answers. Mahalo may have a winner there.” 

Mahalo Answers was launched in mid-December 2008 as an extension of Mahalo, the human-powered search engine. It’s like Yahoo Answers and LinkedIn Answers, and it works well. It even uses Twitter as a capture and response channel: you can ask questions and receive replies via Twitter. It also automatically posts questions asked via the website to Twitter. In short, it’s excellent.

Business models aside, Mahalo might have a winner in selecting ‘answers’ as its Twitter username.

Fail: Mahalo black hat SEO

Jason Calacanis may be one of the most recognizable internet entrepreneurs in the United States but that doesn’t mean that is current startup, Mahalo, is above using questionable SEO tactics to boost its SERPs.

Mahalo is a human-edited web directory that some have criticized in the past as being nothing more than a link farm designed to take advantage of search engines. Which is ironic, given that Calacanis has in the past been critical of SEO.