Huge milestone today for Mahalo: The Mahalo Greenhouse accepted the 100th SeRP (search result). We’ve accepted 200+ really great PTGs (part-time guides) into the Greenhouse over the past three weeks and they are working on around 250 search terms right now.
The process of creating a search term is called “SeRPing,” and we reached a nice tipping point I think over the past week where a core group of PTGs figured out how to quickly create highly quality search results. After the PTGs create a result they pass it on to an FTG (a full-time guide) in our office in Santa Monica where the result is checked, polished, and moved from the Greenhouse to the public-facing Mahalo.com search service (don’t call it an engine or directory please!).
We have over 6,000 pages right now, so 100 from the Greenhouse is a small percentage of those, however, I’m hopeful that now that we have a core group of PTGs we’ll see some real growth. We even started a contest: The first 100 Guides to have 100 SeRPs accepted are going to receive an iPhone in addition to the $10-15 they get for each SeRP… our way of saying Mahalo for building out the service.
If you’ve done work on the services like Slashdot, Wikipedia, DMOZ/ODP, About.com, ChaCha, blogs, digg/netscape/reddit, etc. you’ll understand what we’re doing quickly. If you’re interested please join us… you’re all welcome. 😉
[ Bonus Side Rant ]
One of the most interesting thing that happens when you launch a new company-especially when it’s something contrarian like Weblogs, Inc. was or Mahalo is–is that people say it isn’t going to work. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the way you can tell a really great idea is when most of the folks you tell don’t understand the idea at first.
When Brian and I tried to explain to folks that we were going to pay people to blog, build 100 blogs, and try to get to $10M in yearly revenue they would look at us like we were crazy. “Why would anyone advertise on a blog?” they would say, or “How could a blog make $100,000 a year in advertising?” Brian I would just smile and look at each, having both watched Silicon Alley Reporter grow to a $12M business, VentureReporter.net grow to a $1M a year business, and Meet-the-Makers take off to a $250k first year . We had both watched editorial business grow quickly, so in our mind why couldn’t 100 take off together.
Now the concept of a blog network seems really obvious, and venture capitalists are investing in them.
When we tell folks that we’re hand-writing the top 25,000 search terms they say things like “Why would you do that?” or “How will you keep them up-to-date?” I just smile and tell them to please put one of our pages like iPhone or Paris Hotels next to Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo, Ask, delicious, squidoo, and digg. If they do that they get it and they tell their parents to use Mahalo. if they don’t take the time to compare them I don’t mind… they will in a year or two. People who didn’t get Weblogs, Inc. year one got it in year two or three.
Frankly, I love the challenge of making something work that everyone thinks is crazy…. in fact, if people were able to understand the vision right now I’d be out of job. Thank God so many folks don’t get it (right now).