It looks as though Mahalo is opening up a bit more and taking advantage of all of the knowledge and writing talent that is out there. A recent change now allows all registered users to contribute to the site by creating and editing pages. Previously, only chosen, paid editors were given the right to do this. In the year or so since they’ve launched, they have managed to write over 50,000 different pages but now this change will allow for many, many more pages to be written. In other words, Mahalo is definitely taking advantage of the public to help their site grow. For that reason, it reminds us of Wikipedia, but there are some differences which Jason Calacanis points out.
Calacanis who is quite well-known around the web, particularly for co-founding Weblogs, Inc., and founded Mahalo says:
Now, it’s not going to be as freewheeling as Wikipedia day one. We’ve got three major differences:
1. You have to register and be logged in to edit a Guide Note. This is a major throttle on people contributing since the signup process takes a couple of minutes and an email address.
2. Our staff is going to check every edit made and confirm it is correct. We have three full-time folks on this right now and our expectation is we will only get 10-50 editors per day.
3. You can edit your own pages, or a page about your company. Our thinking is since we’re checking all the facts that’s an OK thing to do. (Wikipedia does not let you edit your own page).
It’ll definitely take some time and effort for their staff to check every edit that has been made, but this will generally keep the information on Mahalo accurate, something that Wikipedia has had a hard time with. The only problem we could see Mahalo having is something that one commenter mentioned as “revision control” on hot topics. “Edit Wars” could easily break out in which case Calacanis says, “if there is an edit war we will come in and manage it by requiring folks to use their real names, debate the issue in public, and with some editorial intelligence applied. Similar to the Wikipedia style, but with real names and more brains.”
The only criticism we have is that Mahalo is “for-profit” while Wikipedia is non-profit. Those who are passionate about making knowledge available to the public may be more willing to provide it to Wikipedia instead. Regardless, this is an interesting route for Mahalo to take, and one that could help them grow tremendously.