Google Changes Result in Mahalo Staff Cuts

By Cindy Waxer March 02, 2011

It should come as no surprise that Jason Calacanis recently tweeted: “Hey @charliesheen, I'm having a rough week... any chance I can swing by for breakfast at your place?”

After all, Calacanis, the founder of Mahalo, a search engine, directory and content farm, is laying off 10 percent of its staff and freezing freelance content production in the wake of Google’s recent algorithm changes. In an e-mail to employees, Calacanis wrote:

"The Google changes have led to a significant dip in our traffic and revenue. It’s hard not to be disappointed since we’ve been spending millions of dollars on producing highly professional content." explains Calacanis. Due to the dip in traffic, Mahalo will lay off 10 percent of its staff and temporarily halt its freelance content production.”

After recently adjusting its search algorithm to suppress content farms, Mahalo’s SEO-oriented content has been significantly impacted. That’s no surprise. According to Google’s official blog:

“Many of the changes we make are so subtle that very few people notice them. But in the last day or so we launched a pretty big algorithmic improvement to our ranking -- a change that noticeably impacts 11.8 percent of our queries -- and we wanted to let people know what’s going on. This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites -- sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites -- sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites. It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down. Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does.”

Nevertheless, Mahalo’s video production arm will remain intact. In an e-mail to employees, Calacanis wrote: "Interestingly, while the search side of Google has impacted us negatively, Google’s video unit (YouTube) continues to be our strong partner, encouraging us to ramp up our video production and publish more of our expert video lessons with them."




Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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