A Brief Interview with Jason Calacanis of Mahalo

Last week saw the launch of Mahalo, the new human powered search index from Jason Calacanis(that’s his dog, at left, one of his favorite online images). Jason has a flair for getting attention, and you all gave him some in the comments on my post noting the launch, all right. I emailed Jason for his response and we did the classic Searchblog back and forth. One thing I can say for Jason: He speaks his mind (see his comments on Squidoo, below). The interview:

What do you make of the response so far to Mahalo?

First off, I’m thrilled with the amount of attention and feedback the project has gotten. It’s a very contrarian idea, so I think some folks are rightfully exited and/or skeptical. Launching at the D conference certainly contributed to the excitement.

Of course, we’ve heard and developed a strategy to resolve the issues that people first think of when you say “human search” months ago. As you can imagine, when we spoke to our investors they brought up the same issues: how does it scale, how do you deal with human bias, how do you keep the search results up to date, why would people switch from google, how many search results do you need to reach scale, how is it defensible, etc.

I’m also excited that the SEO community has predicted it will fail because, of course, they have the most to lose when it succeeds! (Jason has been notorious for dinging the SEO community).

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