I love when folks get it…. (or Mahalo is not for the .001%)

{ Photo from the TechCrunch party in August by SVB }

Mahalo is not for the “TechCrunch 50,000″ (i.e. the top 50,000 internet users who are obsessed with Michael Arrington’s brilliant blog which covers every tiny feature and company in the web 2.0 space).

Not that there is anything wrong in building a service for the nerds you see above… these nerds needed service too. 🙂 However, they need services with bells and whistles. They need things that take time to figure out and leverage. They like complex PC-based videos games that take five hours to learn, Mahalo’s audience like Wii games that you figure out in 10 seconds. I like complex PC-based videos games too… but that’s a small audience compared to the Wii. I’m not building for myself, I’m building for scale.

It’s two different worlds.

I mean, Mahalo could be for those folks. However, the truth is if you’re part of the .001% of the web you probably know that if you want travel information the best nine sites are TKTKTKTK, TKTKTK, etc. You probably know that to find information about bittorrent clients you should go to DownloadSquad and LifeHacker. You know the lay of the land because you’re on the Internet 12 hours a day from your desktop and 6 hours a day from your mobile device.

There are, however, the majority of internet users who are spending a couple of hours a day or week on the web and who don’t know all the cool sites. They don’t know how to find what their looking for quickly. They are frustrated by all the noise. These folks are you sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, and parents in many cases. They are your non-dotcom friends who you have drinks with.

Those folks get a LOT from human-created search… as I read today:

  • Mahalo is brilliant, or so says my sister. That’s what she thought when she took a look at it after looking at Twitters about it. When I asked why she thought that, here’s what she said.

    Wow – now I do not have to spend hours searching for things on the Web – I can just ask MAHALO – one human powered search engine that will find the best pages for you. This is a genius concept that will move Web research in to a new dimension.

If you want to test this send your non .001% friends to three or four Mahalo pages when they are looking for information and ask them what they think of it vs. Google or Yahoo. You’ll get the idea.

I know this because at Mahalo we do actual USER TESTING labs with REAL PEOPLE all the time. When we bring in real people they LOVE what we are doing and go WILD when they get a search results done by a human. They ask things like “why isn’t Google doing this?” or “Is this service live because I need to tell my husband about it!”

The fact is, if folks who are in the .001% of the internet population are in love with our service that’s probably a BAD SIGN. The majority of folks do not want tag clouds, clustered search, bookmarking features, or the wisdom of the crowds–the research we’ve done is 100% conclusive on this. It’s not open for debate… what the vast majority of people want from search is to type a word into a box and get an organized list of high quality links. That’s it. It’s that simple, and that’s what we’re doing. What the .001% think is irrelevant with regard to building a service at scale for the masses.

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