Update: Making Money Online With Mahalo

Yesterday, I have received an email from Jason Calacanis, Founder and CEO of Mahalo dot com. If you have been using Mahalo to make money as I have suggested on these two previous posts, Make Money Online With Mahalo and this one, then this announcement will be of great interest to you.

Essentially, Mahalo is going over a major change with its original model. Jason admitted that the current model is not working well and actually failed in practice (takes guts to say that). After many considerations, the Mahalo team decided that the change is warranted and effective July 1st, will be working differently from how it previously was.

Here is what Jason had to say:

“Our goal at Mahalo is to build a high-quality content and community destination – one that delivers information our consumers can trust.  To do this, we need talented, motivated writers.

For the past year, we have experimented with a writer-compensation method that shared revenue from our pages.  While the revenue sharing system seemed entrepreneurial and fair in theory, after careful examination including getting your feedback, we’ve concluded that it failed in practice.

We heard your feedback about huge variation in writer compensation that was not directly tied to quality, and about the confusing nature of Mahalo dollars.  In short, the system created a happy few and a frustrated many.

So, starting on July 1st, we are moving to a more traditional flat-rate payment system, with incentives based on quality and traffic.

Here’s how it will work:

1. On July 1st, Mahalo will stop revenue sharing on topic and “how to” pages, and shelve the concept of vertical and page management.  Revenue sharing on Mahalo Answers will continue.
2. All Vertical Managers will be offered Guide or Senior Guide roles based on their tenure and performance as Mahalo consultants to date. Guides will receive $1,000 a month for their content and Senior Guides will receive $1,300.
3. Page Managers and Go Team members will be given the ability to apply for one of 50 new Guide positions, paying $1,000 per month.
4. All Guides will be responsible for 25 new pages, 12 hours of updating (i.e. on the Go Team), and 10 questions or answers weekly. You will be able to do this work whenever you like so you can easily schedule it around your other writing obligations!
5. NEW FEATURE: We’re moving payments of Guides to – wait for it – weekly!  The week after you perform your work you will get your PayPal payment. This was one of the most requested features from our writers and we’re thrilled that our new flat-rate system will make this easy to implement.
6. NEW FEATURE: Mahalo Dollars will be removed from page management and creation. You will not have to worry about the conversion ratio anymore! Mahalo Dollars will be limited to Mahalo Answers where folks love them and the fun stuff they can buy with them. You’ve told us that real writers wanted to be paid in real dollars and we’ve listened. No more conversions!  Everyone will have 31 days to cash out their Mahalo Dollars (cash outs can occur anytime in July – no cash outs as of August 1st).
7. Mahalo Dollars will only be used in the Mahalo Store going forward. No more cashing out for real dollars (gift cards and donations will still be available).
8. NEW FEATURE: A group traffic incentive of $100 each will be shared between Guides for every month that Mahalo breaks the previous month’s traffic.
9. NEW FEATURE: A group revenue incentive of $100 each will be shared between Guides for every month that Mahalo breaks the previous month’s revenue numbers.
10. NEW FEATURE: A quality incentive will be given to a selection of pages and Guides each month based on our Community Team’s judgment.”

There you have it. That’s an awful lot of changes and I am sure many will reconsider if it is still worth the while being on Mahalo. In my case, I will probably let go of Mahalo as unfortunately, I do not believe that I will have the time required to be a guide (see item 4 above). For those who have the time, I think that it is worth the shot and you should hurry and apply for being a guide quickly, as I am sure that there will be a flock of interested users going after this opportunity. In any event, AdSense revenue share will still continue for questions and answers, and this one, I’ll probably continue.

To apply, find more about these changes and see the reaction from current Mahalo users about this announcement, you can visit the official thread here.

Next steps would be to set up the adzone, choose prices for durations, and how many ads would be shown, how many would rotate, how many would be able to be queued and then each member signs up to be the affiliate and collects their links to point to the purchase page


DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone.com. iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Digital Marketing Services in SP Brazil.

12 thoughts on “Update: Making Money Online With Mahalo

  • Thanks for the update I will give Mahalo another try!

    • Hi Dick. If you still are for it, you should hurry because they only have 60 spots and it is going fast.

  • Thanks for the update. Keep writing and informing. Btw, your site is looking supercool now. Must say..fantastic 🙂

    • Hello Bro. You are welcome for the update and thanks for noticing how my site is looking. I’m glad you liked it. Could not have it done without Hesham help. BTW, I am sending you an email today.

  • Hi DiTesco, I heard about the changes and I really think that the future of Mahalo is uncertain. I bet many people will feel the same as you and not be willing to make the time commitment necessary. In the long run, I hope this move will be a positive one for users, time will tell.

    • Hi Ileane. I agree with you. The changes that Mahalo had made has certainly a lot of question marks as far success is concerned. Pity though because the community over there had it going and now it might slow down a bit. Hopefully Jason is right, we’ll see.

  • Jason is one of my favorite people out in web land. I hope he can turn this thing into a profit.

    • Yeah! I do not know him personally but I was having fun at Mahalo and making some money actually. Not a whole lot, but a bit here and a bit there piles up. I do hope that this new system will bring him the success he is looking for. There are many writers over there who are not too happy about it. We’ll see

  • Hi Francisco, After looking into it further I think I am in the same boat you are, would love to be a “guide” for Mahalo but too much time would be required. My Payson Web social media consulting is going well here and I am very busy with my new shop too. BTW could I ask a favor and have you take a look at the latest post on my pet blog: http://www.my-baby-pet.com/pet-adoption/social-media-to-the-dog-rescue
    Would love to have your input on this idea of mine to raise money for our animal shelter using sponsored pets. Thanks, man!

    • Sure no problem. I’ll head over there now and check it out.

  • For a while I was pretty heavy into Mahalo and while I couldn’t see this coming, I could certainly feel the growing pains and you could see that they were grooming vertical managers to either become Mahalo employees or contractors. I can’t say that this email really surprised me.

    In my opinion Jason Calacanis is a genius, and this is at least the second time that he’s come forward in his newsletter and basically said “we screwed up/failed, we fixed it and we’re sorry”. That makes him the CEO I look up to, and it means that if this new direction Mahalo is taking fails too, he’ll be willing to admit it.

    I still use the Mahalo Questions a lot, mostly for asking questions now. I’ve asked a couple of large tip questions ($M10 +) including some private questions which required extensive work in the past. Now I get the feeling to get the same kind of work I’ll have to pay in $M and $USD (via paypal) to make it worth the answerer’s time (I’m sure this is against the Mahalo TOS). This is kind of turning the money-making idea on it’s head. I’m not using Mahalo to make money for me, I’m outsourcing tasks to Mahalo to help me in other areas.

    • Hi Dave. I agree with you about Jason and I did mention that “it takes guts to admit failure”. The problem here has to do with “trust” and many people who worked hard have seen their efforts go down the drain, and in my opinion is not fair. This is particularly true for overseas Mahaloians who will see their “money” disappear because the alternatives that have been given are not close to being interesting.

      Don’t get me wrong, I too think that he should have made this decision if in fact the model he was using did not work. The only thing that maybe should have been done was to “write off” the current rev share model in a slow pace and not so abruptly as it appears will happen. The Mahalo community has given their voice and I am not so sure how the new model will work out. I hope it does and I hope I can be part of it as well. We’ll see

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