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SEO Book.com - Lets take a look at a typical Mahalo page
mahalo.com/Best_Computer_Speakers
That page has a #1 ranking in Google with 0 unique content and 0 value to the searcher (according to Google’s above guidelines).

How can Jason Calacanis create a site that poor while slagging off everyone else as a spammer?
Comments28 Comments  

Comments

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2412 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Curse you! I was actually logging onto sphinn specifically to submit this story!

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from jasoncalacanis 2412 Days ago #
Votes: 0

1. fyi, those were sort of experimental pages as I discussed at the time: http://www.calacanis.com/2007/10/21/best-computer-speakers/ 2. we’ve added some more original content to the page (see the extended Guide note). Do you think this makes the page more worthy of a top 10 ranking? http://www.mahalo.com/Best_Computer_Speakers3. We are actually no-following/no indexing lots of our pages that are light on content (i.e. all tag pages and user-generated pages), while producing more and more original content on our pages that are indexed. For example, these pages from the last couple of days are equal parts links and content: http://mahalo.com/Taiwan_Presidential_Election_2008 http://mahalo.com/Obama_Race_Speech 4. Over time I think you’ll see our pages grow to be over 50% original content, 20% links, and 20% UGC (i.e. reviews, votes, comments). Most pages in the system are 50-70% complete.... over the next two to three years they will reach 80-90% complete thanks to the help of the community and they will be worthy of a top 30-50 ranking in 20-30% of the cases is my guess. 5. We are working on a system right now that will no-follow any pages that have under 400 original words. From what I undertsand from SEOs this will concentrate the Google/Yahoo juice of the site to only the best pages. Anyone have feedback on this concept? all the best, jason

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from mvandemar 2412 Days ago #
Votes: 4

2. we’ve added some more original content to the page (see the extended Guide note). Do you think this makes the page more worthy of a top 10 ranking?Oh, damn, see, I would never have thought of that. Spam your way to the top, then add useful content. That actually makes so much sense.  That way even if you burn through 95%  of your sites/pages due to them being penalized by Google, you can focus your time on only the ones already in the top ten... much less wasted effort that way.Good thinking. Just, you know, you should add the content before someone else blogs about it to the entire community. Otherwise it’s kind of on the obvious side.

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from HamletBatista 2412 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Jason - What are your plans for the remaining 10%? SPAM?

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2412 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Jason, if you’re not adding content yet why not just restrict the dupe pages in robots.txt until you actually have something to add? It seems painless, and if you’re telling the truth about your dedication to correcting the "spam" on the internet, is that not necessary? Or does your own pocket book override this factor?

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from jasoncalacanis 2412 Days ago #
Votes: -1

@slightlyshadyseo: we’re working on not indexing the light content pages. We think any page with less than 400 original words will not be followed. You like that idea? is 400 a good number of words? less? more?

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2412 Days ago #
Votes: 3

Well, it’s not a call for me to make honestly. I think most followers of sphinn know my ethics as far as this goes(blackhat). It’s more up to you and your own ethics...I would try and take it out of context of Mahalo. Pretend your pages were on squidoo isntead. At what point would that inital frown turn into a smile?

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from IncrediBILL 2412 Days ago #
Votes: 4

I think Jason’s onto something.Just slap NOFOLLOW, NOINDEX on the home page of Mahalo and call it a day.

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from johnandrews 2412 Days ago #
Votes: 13

Everyone just copy Jason Calcanis and Mahaloo, ok? That sounds like a GREAT idea. Jason dissed SEOs in public, at a keynote, on purpose, and then learned a bit so he wasn’t quite so ignorant of SEO any more, and is now working the SERPs as a black hat SEO. Jason dissed affiliates in public, at a keynore, on purpose, and then learned a bit so he’s not as ignorant of affiliate marketing as he was before, and now Mahaoloo has embedded (inline) affiliate links (take a look.. added since Affiliate Summit). I think every "Learn how to Make Money Fast on the Internets" web site should simply point to Mahaoulo and say "copy them.. they are riding the black edge of gray hat SEO" and be done with it. So simple... just copy them. As they add pages, add splogs on those same topics because those are money terms. Every time they link to some resource, link to it from that blog. Scan technorati for Jason’s comments, and add one of your own right into that thread.. every time. Let Jason pave the way to profits.... each time he justifies his spam, he’s justified YOUR spam as well. Every time he explains how he’s not a spammer, he’s explaining why YOUR not a spammer either. Best of all, he’s being your spokesperson for FREE! And remember, Jason Calcanis will never, ever, ever say that YOU are doing anything wrong or stupid or (gasp) unethical because, well, he CAN’T. It’s not within him to do so. I won’t bother highlighting how bidness is bidness and the SEO world is easily abused that way, but at least those junior SEM opportunity seekers out there should recognize this one as golden, even if perhaps fleeting.Disclaimer: I don’t know Jason Calcanis personally so I could be completely wrong in my assumptions. I have merely based my opinion on his words and actions over the past few years, and even then only the irritating, insulting ones that were broadcast purposefully to a large, public audience. If the real Jason Calacanes is not the one I see at SES, Affiliate Summit, etc. well, then, dang it you fooled me!

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2412 Days ago #
Votes: 5

@John Andrews: I think I speak for all internet users when I say thank you sir. That is everything everyone has wanted to say for far too long.

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2411 Days ago #
Votes: 3

@mbeharry: How is it not scraping just if a human does it? If I wanted to I could scrape data that made sense, but it’s still scraping. How does me being not-lazy/inefficient and doing it by hand make that no longer scraping?

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from NickWilsdon 2411 Days ago #
Votes: 3

@mberry There’s plenty if Indian firms willing to mass produce page content that are barely understandable and often copied. Are you sure that wouldn’t come under your definition of scraping or spam?

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from seobook 2411 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Thanks for the comment clarity and the great comment John.

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from phinalcountdown 2411 Days ago #
Votes: 3

In my eyes Mahalo is not even worth the 45 seconds it will take me to type this up. Just the UI and lack of aesthetics is enough to tell me that six months from now it will be no more and this discussion will be pointless. I give Mahaloo four out of five Apples of Phail.

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from eiso 2411 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Having been active and left the GreyHatSeo world, in other words making scraper sites, I don’t find Mahalo to fit the profile. These sites consited of links (taken from RSS feeds), content copied of Wikipedia etc.. Yes, that sounds an awefull lot like Mahalo but I believe Mahalo to be different. I believe so because its people gathering and summarizing this information instead of software which builds a 100,000 page site in under 10 seconds. So when I put these two pages next to eachother, one of a Site Generator and one of Mahalo I find a clear difference in my response and I believe the response of many others. One contributes value to what we are trying to find and the other doesn’t. Guess which one is which. If you don’t agree because Mahalo’s pages don’t add value to your search to answer a query I can only recommend you the following for your Google search:Best Computer Speakers -site:mahalo.comBest regards,Eiso Kant

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from davehuston 2411 Days ago #
Votes: -9

First, I feel a little dirty about having to set up an account on a page that is such a blatant ripoff of Digg.  I also find it funny that someone is posting a false story about spam on such a ripoff site.<div></div><div>Mahalo’s pages are created and maintained by people.  They are no more spam than a blog, a MySpace page, or a Twitter feed.</div>

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from seobook 2411 Days ago #
Votes: 0

>They are no more spam than a blog, a MySpace page, or a Twitter feed. Or, perhaps, a scraped and recompiled one. I would not put money against some software being smarter than some of the people working at Mahalo.

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from eyevariety 2411 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Calacanis is more spam than Mahalo itself.http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyevariety/2342004110

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2411 Days ago #
Votes: 3

@davehuston: really? Jason himself admitted that they’re scraped for now...he says that will change in the future, but how come he can awknowledge the problem that you deny when he is so close to the project?

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from johnsonmx 2411 Days ago #
Votes: -1

It seems like there’s a personal aspect of this that’s obscuring the nominal question of whether Mahalo is spam.Spam is something that adds zero, or negative, value. I think it’s clear that most of Mahalo adds value in organizing and contextualizing the web. Yes, there seem to be things Mahalo could do better. But to call Mahalo spam is, I think, disingenuous.If you changed your headline into something that doesn’t ignore the nuances of this issue (perhaps focusing on a specific thing Mahalo shouldn’t be doing), yes, we could have a better discussion here.

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from SlightlyShadySEO 2411 Days ago #
Votes: 3

It’s odd. I did an article awhile back about data mining/organizing pre-existing data in a unique way, and I had everyone jumping on my arse about scraping. Hmmm. Standard changing?

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from seobook 2411 Days ago #
Votes: 1

>But to call Mahalo spam is, I think, disingenuous.You better ask Google to rewrite their spam guidelines then.

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from funkygorilla 2411 Days ago #
Votes: -1

I am a use of both Sphinn and Mahalo and to be honest I was very surprised at this article. When you look back at the original story on SEObook it is obvious that the writter has had some run in with Jason Calacanis and so has an axe to grind.Mahalo and other similar experiments in social search are interesting in that they ask us users to recommend pages. I have been doing this for some time now (see my pages here) and have found interesting and valuable links through the few friends I have! To be honest I would have been unlikely to find some of these links elsewhere, just because of the huge volume you have to wade through, and having a physical person recommend the site makes me feel more inclined to believe it. Okay, so having said that hopefully you can see that Mahalo is a useful and valid site to people like me, if not for the author of the original article.Where things get a bit less clear is the particular page we are talking about. From earlier comments more content will be added which I think will help, however just looking through the search results on Google.com in Australia, I have Mahalo, then 4 shopping sites, then C-Net. If you look at computer speakers you get shopping sites. So why the difference? In my opinion if I search for "best computer speakers" I am looking for independent reviews of speakers, not shopping sites. This makes Mahalo and C-Net the only valid sites hear, and the other sites spam. No matter what you say about the content in Mahalo, user generated or not, it does provide an independent view of which is the best, which shopping sites are hardly going to recommend something they don’t sell. On the other hand if I search for "computer speakers" I am looking to buy and the shopping sites are the most valid returned searches.In other words, Google has it right, "best computer speakers" returns the correct result at the number one position. really it should be a competition between Mahalo and CNet purely on a white hat basis.Once again I am surprised at this article. I know that Sphinn publishes from anyone that cares to write, but if you are hoping to promote yourself in this field, a little thought please!

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from TinPig 2411 Days ago #
Votes: -1

so let’s see. everybody’s complaint about mahalo seems to be based on the fact that it largely consists of links to other sites (scraped or handed entered or user submitted) and not much original content beyond any discussions Mahalo users may engage in around a certain topic. and this is different from sphinn in what way?all the seo’s and social media marketers that hover over the blogs hoping to be the first to post a story, and then rely on the reciprocal nature of social "friendship" to watch the story get voted up thus increasing their own social equity on the site has some inherent value?the fact is relevancy has become a meaningless term. the link-based page rank algorithms leave the door too wide open to manipulation. at least mahalo is an attempt to deal with the issue. how long they’ll be around as an independant entity remains to be seen, but don’t think that google is happy about having to fight the black-hats day-in / day-out. if mahalo does it’s job, they suddenly start to resemble an uncorrupted source of relevancy and a nice replacement for the failing link-based system.

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from johnsonmx 2411 Days ago #
Votes: -1

seobook,It’s not Google that’s saying this: you are simply asserting that a part of Mahalo falls under Google’s spam categorization. Maybe there’s something interesting here that Mahalo should be doing differently- I’ll grant that. But then you’re blindly extrapolating this to all of Mahalo? Color me unimpressed by your statements.

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from seobook 2411 Days ago #
Votes: 0

>it does provide an independent view of which is the bestI am not so sure. If all it is doing is recycling what is elsewhere then there is no independent reviews or analysis...this is precisely why Google hates thin affiliate sites. And for that page that classification is fitting, according to Google. >It’s not Google that’s saying thisObviously you have not read Google’s spam guidelines in their review documents.

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from DanThies 2407 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"Mahalo’s goal is to hand-write and maintain the top 50,000 search terms" - nice goal, but so far, hand written doesn’t appear to translate to "well written."

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from Jeeb90 2323 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"Just slap NOFOLLOW, NOINDEX on the home page of Mahalo and call it a day."Hahaha.

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