Jon’s In Waikiki (AKA The Waikiki Marketer)

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Hawaiian Language Might Take Over The Web

June 6th, 2007 · No Comments

Few need to be told about the Wikipedia – it’s a internet phenomenon that has helped make Web 2.0/User-created-content the latest revolution. Bigger than hip-hop! Hawaii residents were proud to see a Hawaiian word on something so important, even if the word didn’t represent the vital quality that made it so unique. ‘Wiki’ means ‘hurry’ used here mostly in pairs, ie ‘Wiki Wiki’. When you hear that, you know you need to get a move on. I used to hear it from my teachers when test time was almost up.

Today, our local newspaper carried a story on another Web tool in the works with a Hawaiian name. A new specialized search engine is in the works, entitled ‘Mahalo’. If you’ve visited Hawaii, you probably already know that it is the Hawaiian word for ‘Thank You’.

The idea behind the search engine is that it will specialize in large scale or popular enquiries such as lodging in top tourist destinations or consumer electronics (ie plasma televisions, gaming, etc). The aim is to give you more wheat than chaff. For you youngsters, that means more Tony Hawk, less Hudson Hawk.

It is human-generated, harkening back to the ODP. The bad thing about that comparison is that ODP was meant to do the same thing – have humans who can recognize real quality create the listings – basically imploded. Many editors took over sections related to their day-job industries. By night they kept their competitors out from making it into the index. You can take the story from there, I’m sure.

However, Mahalo does have in its favor a paid staff, rather than volunteers. That should keep things a little more honest. Currently they have pages for 4,000 of the most popular search queries and will keep working to increase that count, of course.

Where’s the money going to come in from? You guessed it – search advertising. If they can supply what they promise to, this could be an excellent ad outlet for businesses. Google is still the big man in this town, and will continue to be for some time. But, the return on investment with Mahalo just might make it a better buy. We’;; see. In the meantime, Mahalo for reading.

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