Putting Mahalo to the Test

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At the start of June, Jason Calcanis launched his newest project, Mahalo. The algorithm-free, human-guided search engine certainly represents a break from what we’ve come to expect in the industry. And, with four months under its belt, I figured it was time to put Mahalo to the test.

I know I’m a week late, but I also know that Radiohead’s new album is available for download. And, figuring that I can’t beat the price, I’d like to download it. Sadly, though, I can’t remember the album title.

So, a simple search at Mahalo.com – “radiohead”:


And it seems that the engine is reading my mind. The band name, big, blue, and bold, and, directly below it, a link to New Radiohead Album. Just what I’m looking for! So I click the link.

And, there it is, in the right corner, all the information I need, in a shaded “Guide Note” box. The record’s called In Rainbows, and I can’t wait to get my virtual hands on it. How do I now recall that it’s called In Rainbows? The simple guide note, of course, right at the top of my “New Radiohead Album” search:


You’ll notice, though, that Mahalo’s a little misleading here. Mahalo tells me that In Rainbows will be released beginning October 10. Thankfully, I know that happened a week ago, and this bit of mistaken tense doesn’t deter me.

Figuring that I just want the album already, I click on the title within the Guide Note. Sadly, still no download…just a new tracklisting:

This is good information, I guess, but ultimately gets me no closer to the record.

So, I shift my eyes back left. Suggestions to click on links for Radiohead – but that’s where I started – or In Rainbows Review – but I don’t want those. I just want the album already.

My eyes scroll down. Seven “recent” headlines, the earliest coming September 30. Nothing I’m looking for here.

So I look down further and, finally, I find a link to InRainbows.com and, finally, what I’m looking for.

The verdict on Mahalo: Pretty unsatisfying. In my mind, a quick-developing, semi-breaking entertainment story is where an engine such as Mahalo should thrive. But the engine essentially misled me through the process. In fact, had I just clicked on the band’s official site, right atop The Mahalo Top 7, I would have gotten the album. Instead, though, I followed the engine’s seemingly convenient lead, and was left in a lurch.

Mahalo for nothing, Jason.

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