Stop Ruining The Internet, Mahalo. That’s My Job.
Having recently conquered the storyline of Grand Theft Auto IV for Xbox 360, Nickycakes was interested in learning some of what he had missed in his days, nay, weeks of reclusive gameplay obsession. No problem, a quick search of google will surely return some highly relevant results to clue any user in on the game behind the game. Expecting a page from IGN or a similar gaming site with tons of cheat codes, maps, easter eggs, etc, to be returned as the first result, the Cakes searched google for “gta 4 secrets”. Much to his surprise, the first result was a Mahalo page called “Grand Theft Auto Secrets.”
“Why is this surprising?” you may be asking yourself. Well, Mahalo is supposed to be a search engine. In fact, on the site it says “Mahalo is the world’s first human-powered search engine.” And since when are search engine results indexed in OTHER search engines? When you search yahoo for “motorcycles” would you expect the top result to be the google search result page for “motorcycles”? No. Wikipedia, maybe, but another search engine, surely not.
Ok, well apparently that’s old news, so Nickycakes brushed it aside and decided to see what was on the Mahalo page. Why even bother with this? Why not just skip to the next result in google? Well, a few reasons, actually. Mahalo is the brainchild of Jason Calacanis (no idea of that is the correct spelling, and who really cares anyhow). This Calacanis dude goes to SEO conferences and gives keynotes about why SEOs are spammers. He gets invited to speak at Affiliate Marketing conferences and tells everyone they’re polluting the internet. So his Mahalo pages must be just packed full of useful information, because such a flamboyant crusader for the anti-spam cause would never allow his own masterpiece to look like a crappy MFA site which would be improved by a $2 article about GTA4 cheats outsourced to some barely literate Digital Point member.
The first thing you notice upon entering the page is the content. Err, sorry, lack thereof. Under the giant “Grant Theft Auto 4 Secrets” heading (that phrase is repeated 8 times with different levels of Heading tags for ultimate captain-planet-like seo spam effect) you will find a small link farm of gta 4 cheats sites which range in quality from mediocre to way-less-than-mediocre.
Underneath this stunning content you will find a giant adsense block, with colors perfectly matching every other link on the page. Coincidentally (or probably not so coincidentally) the majority of the text links on the site match the font and font size of the adsense ads. Almost as if the page were made…..for………adsense…
Below these ads, you’ll find a copied block of links to sites about GTA 4 in general (which are repeated on almost every GTA page on Mahalo, and are also completely useless). Below that are 27 links to other GTA related pages on Mahalo, providing more interlinking and internal link juice than a Chinese/Russian xrumer’d viagra store.
After searching, you actually can find some unique content on this page. Squished into the right hand navigation bar is a tiny heading called Secrets. Under this heading are 2 GTA4 “secrets” written out in 2 sentences. These “secrets” are probably the least “secret” “secrets” of any game in history. They were actually published on websites months before the game was even released. Good job guys, way to do your part in cleaning up the internet.
Naturally (and this is more a dig at google than mahalo) you would expect a site ranking #1 for such a popular search term to have a metric fuckton of backlinks from high authority sites. But a quick search of yahoo site explorer shows that the entirety of the backlinking is from other Mahalo pages, and links from Jason Calacanis’ blog. They clearly deserve the top spot.
What a bunch of amateurs.