Alan Meckler’s WebMediaBrands — previously Jupitermedia — just got $18 million in cash for selling its Internet.com business. So Meckler is probably on the prowl for deals. But before he even sniffs at Jason Calacanis’ Mahalo, he wants to know why the heck Sequoia Capital trusted Jason with all that money.
“I am wondering what my pal Jason Calacanis thinks he can achieve with Mahalo?” he asks on Twitter. “Nice site but what gives it staying power?”
To try to answer Meckler’s question, Jason has moved past just “human search” to Q&A and knowledge base services, which pay money to people across the Internet to help each other on Mahalo. Like gaming companies trying to make money selling virtual goods, he’s taking models that have worked in Korea and Japan and trying them here.
“Essentially we’ve put an economy over Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers and Google search — in one product,” he recently told us. “It’s confusing and new, and sloppy at times, but it’s working and learning new stuff every day.”
Whether Mahalo has staying power is just as unknown as any other Internet company. Inktomi arguably had staying power at one point. But Mahalo at least is getting some real traffic, cracking 8 million unique visitors in July.
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