Mahalo is a search engine that focuses on user link submissions and an editorial process to theoretically produce better search results than algorithm-only engines like Google. It first launched in May 2007.
The company already pays users for quality submissions. Today, they are adding user profiles and other social networking features to further incentivize users to submit quality content.
Editors decide if links submitted for a particular search term should be inlcuded in search results. If a submission is accepted, the user gets credit and a higher score. If it’s banned, the user’s score takes a hit. All of the results are shown on a user profile (click image above to see larger version), so heavy users will be inclined to add new links carefully and increase their score. The service has around 26,000 pages of search results, and each one represents 10-30 different search queries. If a search returns no Mahalo pages, results from other search engines are shown. 1,000 or so new pages are created each week on the site, says CEO Jason Calacanis.
Mahalo has direct competition coming from Wikia. Based on early screen shots that show user profiles, Wikia seems to be taking a nearly identical approach to maximizing user participation.
Mahalo is doing very well based on early Comscore statistics, which report 2 million monthly page views and 874,000 unique visitors. More importantly, the trend is clearly towards fast growth. Compete statistics agree.
Mahalo has raised around $20 million on two rounds of financing. Another rumor says their last round was valued at over $100 million.