Mahalo Gets a News Ticker, Wants to Liveblog the World

Those who know Jason Calacanis would certainly be aware of Mahalo, his human-powered search engine. For quite sometime now, Mahalo has been struggling to make it big in the search engine market. What if you are proposing a new way of searchign the web and up against industry giants such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft? For Calacanis’ Mahalo one way to do that is probably by including News ticker on its home page.

Directly or indirectly, Mahalo’s news ticker is gunning for usage share in the search engine market, no matter how Calacanis want it to be perceived. Specifically, he just wants to the Mahalo site as sticky as possible to users. He aims to make those who might have accidentally landed on the Mahalo site stay as long as the site can make them to stay. And this is hoping that those news tickers could make them stay. Later on, as users get to stay on the site, they would also click on more relevant links which would later on contain advertising, and ultimately users click on to those ads and bring in some revenues for Calacanis and Mahalo.

About the Mahalo news ticker, you might think that there’s nothing new to it as other sites do it way before Mahalo decided to implement the feature. Well, actually there’s something unique with the Mahalo news ticker. The news items are hand-picked by human editors and are not the product of some RSS/site aggregation tool. And what does that mean exactly? More relevant news, highly-filtered new items which are the definitely the hottest issues in town.

The Mahalo news ticker would have 20 updates on an hourly basis and this will be manned by eight people with four to all of them online at the same time – round the clock. Hence it’s basically liveblogging the world in real-time.

Sounds like a huge feat? Well, we gotta give it to Calacanis for embarking on this unchartered avenue yet. Who knows, Mahalo might just get what it really wants – high volume of quality site traffic.

Rafe Needleman of Webware thinks that this is a smart move for Mahalo, as it might just make Mahalo users, accidental or not, to stick on to the site for a longer period of time. And I couldn’t agree more to him. After all, isn’t this the perennial problem of most web portal and web companies that own search engines? – to make users stay in the network for as long as they should be.