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Just read on Battelle that Jason Calacanis new search engine Mahalo has launched. I checked it out briefly with two searches and here's what I found:

(i) The Grateful Dead search result page: This is actually pretty nice. Good results, sorted in a helpful, useable manner - presented very cleanly. Me likey.

(ii) The Topix search result page: uh oh. There are no results.

Hmmmm...so why is this? Well, one click away you learn that all the search results are hand made/ human edited and since no one had created a Topix page on Mahalo, to it, Topix doesn't exist. Their stated goal is to create search pages for the top 10,000 terms (FYI, I'm guessing they kept that number purposefully low so they can announce the inevitable "we reached our goal in less than ___ days" press release) and rightfully Topix did not make that list. Fair enough. Unfortunately though, as a user, I can't create that page either - at least not yet. The most I can do is click a link to send them an email to let them know about the "missing page."

So what does all this mean? Well, apparently, Mahalo isn't interested in the long tail. If your not in their top 10,000 they don't haven an answer for you and don't want your traffic (yet). But I'm guessing that they are interested in SEO - i.e. if I search Grateful Dead in Google, they're hoping the Mahalo page will turn up as a result (notwithstanding the underscores in the Mahalo URL's). At Topix we have 400k of these SEO pages, so we're pretty familiar with the idea...

So Mahalo is an SEO site for 10,000 terms, created by non-volunteer editors....hmmmm. Sounds hard to scale. I'm guessing this changes soon....

In any event, I'll continue to play with it and see what it comes up with. Obviously, it's worth watching....


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