It seems the SEO community isnâ€™t too impressed with Jason Calacanisâ€™ new search engine Mahalo. Itâ€™s not at all hugely surprising given his somewhat antagonistic relationship with the industry. However unlike some people I donâ€™t think the project is destined to fail.
I agree with a lot of the faults that have been pointed out with the idea; but Iâ€™m going to play devil’s advocate for a minute and point out five ways in which Mahalo will succeed.
People Search â€“ it seems the manual editors have spent plenty of time creating listings for the rich and famous. A few quick searches on actors, musicians and even bloggers and youâ€™ll see results which generally are as good if not better than Googleâ€™s first page of results. Theyâ€™ve done a good job of getting lots of valuable information and links all in one single page. You only need to look at the top searches for 2006 to see how being the search engine for celebrities could be a clever move by JC & Co.
Spam Free â€“ Iâ€™ll admit if it gets too popular, Mahalo might have a dmoz 2.0 on their hands, but so far the engine is completely spam free. As hard as Matt Cuttâ€™s might try, they are always going to be a few black hats out there that are ahead of the algo. If the human editors are doing their job properley, Mahalo wonâ€™t have that problem.
No Shopping Engines â€“ one of my biggest gripes with Google is the proliferation of shopping engines like Shopzilla & Kelkoo on any product search. Some people think they are useful results for users, but personally I couldnâ€™t disagree more. Iâ€™d hoped that they would be disappearing with Googleâ€™s crack down on Search Results in Google but they donâ€™t seem to be going anywhere. Another positive for the Hawaiian named site.
Well Integrated Universal Search â€“ while Googleâ€™s Universal Search and Technoratiâ€™s redesign are commendable, they are pretty busy design wise. Keeping the clear subtitles Mahalo, does a good job of keeping the interface simple. You still get the blogs, video and news but itâ€™s a lot easier to see whatâ€™s what.
Incorporates RSS Well â€“ theyâ€™ve even done a reasonable good job on integrating RSS into their results. For example Calacanisâ€™ previous project Engadget shows its three most recent articles; right there on the search page.
I agree they will have problems scaling, amongst other things, but I think a few people have been a bit too quick to judge the engine based on its ownerâ€™s ego rather than the engine’s performance. Give it some time, it might just take off.