Just a day after Google announces they changed their Algorithm, Jason Calacanis and Mahalo sends word to their staff that 10% will be laid off. Since there are only 20 people working at Mahalo (according to Wikipedia), that means only 2 are being let go. Unless that is 10% of the content providing staff, then those numbers are greater.
I remember when Mahalo started. Jason was on a uStream connection talking about this great new site that lets people create pages and monitor content. A pay content farm. I signed up for the site, seeing if it would fit what I was doing. Alas, I couldn’t find a niche and so I decided to favor Digg over Mahalo.
A content farm is a site that regurgitates information. Let’s say you wanted to know how to tie your shoe. These sites would give you instructions, with ads blaring all around you. The information is something a 3rd grader could write, except for the fact it had to be rich in keywords. That way, they profit and give the writer of the article about 10%.
Therefore, if I write an article on my site about how to tie a shoe – maybe talk about a new easier way to do it, I could get overshadowed by a content farm. Nobody sees my site and I lose on any revenue from ads.
Over the weekend, Google changed the algorithm a bit to knock down link farm sites. Web pages like Mahalo, ezinearticles.com, business.com, examiner.com (etc) got hit hard. The top content farm hit hardest was a site called wisegeek.com. Sistrix.com put out a report of the top 25 content sites affected. Mahalo lost about 70% of their keywords on Google and the remaining keywords were downgraded severely.
Some sites got caught up in the new algorithm. CultofMac was one of them. Google is working with these sites that don’t really fit the profile to get them back up to par.
As for sites like Mahalo, it’s more about making a $ on what others can minimally create. Of course, this will cause these sites to retool the business to turn a profit in a different way. We’ll see what Calacanis does to counter the move. Maybe put some original thought into the site?
In the end, the hope is to find those top websites that were buried by other sites trying to make a profit off minimal work. That is really what it boils down to.