Mahalo Needs to Say “A Hui Hou”

Posted on December 28, 2007
Filed Under Web 2.0 Kool Aid |

Human-powered search engine Mahalo, which I named as one of the Dumbest Startups of 2007, really needs to say “a hui hou” (goodbye). Through Center Networks, I was led to a blog post by Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis that I believe shows just how hopeless this “startup” is.

Any doubts? Just consider the following excerpts from Calacanis’ erudite post:

My thinking is that if you are super upfront about what’s an advertisement and what’s content folks will really focus on the ads *IF* they are in commerce mode. If users are not in commerce mode we don’t want to try and trick them/shif them…. let them stay in information mode.

Not sure this will work, but I really like the approach as a consumer.

PS - Anyone have ideas for advertising providers by vertical that really provide value to the user? Who would you use for health or travel ads? Would you stick with Google or use some niche player?

Yes, these are the words of a man investors have entrusted with millions of dollars. And yes, he’s either entirely clueless or pretends to be clueless very well and should consider an acting career.

While I don’t think that taking advice from your users/customers is a bad idea, I agree with Allen Stern: the “community CEO” that Calacanis is trying to be just doesn’t work. In this case, the “community CEO” is simply a cover for a “clueless CEO.”

The individuals and firms that have backed Mahalo (CBS, News Corp., Sequoia Capital, Mark Cuban, Jonathan Miller and Elon Musk) are certainly going to be saying “a hui hou” to the $16+ million they’ve invested. While that’s part of the game, I can’t help but think they will be most disappointed by the fact that Calacanis didn’t hire a hotter host for Mahalo Daily. Veronica Belmont really needs to be replaced by my future ex-wife Veronica Zemanova.

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4 Responses to “Mahalo Needs to Say “A Hui Hou””

  1. on January 3rd, 2008 3:49 am

    […] a post about Twitter and whether it’s eventually going to be able to make money. My favorite “community” CEO Jason Calacanis, leader of one of the Dumbest Startups of 2007, Mahalo, weighed in with an […]

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  3. Why Are These People Invited to Conferences? : The Drama 2.0 Show on January 22nd, 2008 1:54 pm

    […] hosted a session “Humans Disrupting Algorithms” and featured Jimmy Wales of Wikia and Jason Calacanis of Mahalo. According to TechCrunch: Jimmy and Jason each gave a brief overview of their human […]

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