The Internet is getting polluted, according to Jason Calacanis, CEO of Mahalo and entrepreneur in action at Sequoia Capital. In his keynote speech at NMK Forum 07 in the United Kingdom Wednesday he talked about an “environmental crisis” of bad blogging, gaming the system, SEO gone mad and “pay per post”, according to Mike Butcher at tbites.com.
At the forum he introduced the human powered search engine Mahalo.com (launched two weeks ago) to the UK internet industry, and then he made a new announcement about Mahalo Greenhouse – where anyone can help build the world’s first search engines and users will get paid to deliver “clean, spam-free search results “.
After the speech Wil Harris of The Inquirer described Calacanis as the Internet’s Al Gore (although the role as eco-warrior is new to Calacanis:) “Just as Clinton’s right hand man and one-time anointed successor is telling anyone who will listen about the need for change and curation of the ecosystem, so the VP many tipped to follow Jonathan Miller to the top of AOL is shouting about pollution on the Internet and a website climate crisis,” he writes. According to Harris, both Calacanis and Gore are arguing for a change in direction, driven by a growing frustration with the status quo – and, of course, by healthy business pespects.
In the US bloggers and analyst – among them TechCrunch’s Duncan Riley and SearchEngineLand‘s Barry Schwartz – focused more on Calacanis announcement of Mahalo Greenhouse. It is a new program that allows users/members of the public to write their own clean and spam-free search results for the Mahalo people-powered search engine – and get paid for it (however modest $10 to $15 per search result).
At Calacanis.com you can read Jason Calacanis own thrilled description of Mahalo Greenhouse and get more details. One thing worth noting, if you want to make the web better by writing spam-free search results but don’t want to work for money, Mahalo offers to donate your fees to the Wikimedia Foundation: “So, you can make the world better 2x: first by making clean, spam- free search results and second by helping keep the Wikipedia running,” Calacanis cheers adding that Mahalo.com has earmarked up to $250 000 in donations to Wikipedia this year.
The Greenhouse will start taking applications Wednesday, adding people and their search results based on merits (such as belonging to a social network, having written blogs, having a desire to help others)
However at Scripting.com Dave Winer is not convinced about the Greenhouse-project. $15 seems like not very much money, he writes: “Do a little math to see how many pages you have to write to make a living. Suppose an employee costs $100K per year after benefits, that means they must do 6666 pages per year. If a book has 300 pages, then a Mahalo staffer would have to write 22 books a year to earn a fairly modest salary”.
As of now, there are no rules on how to work with an online-based company in the world of Web 2.0. At least Mahalo collaborates with its users. We agree that the “salary” is low, but if you choose to participate for other reasons – and on your free time – why not check out what its like to be inside a brand new and somewhat good-hearted project.
By Tina Magnergard Bjers and John Furrier