Mahalo Launches Loyalty Program Reminiscent of 1999


Last week, Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis announced the search/discovery startup was cutting 10% of its staff (or 6 people) as the economic downturn continues to cause nervousness in Silicon Valley.

It looks as if Mahalo is searching around for revenue channels to accompany the $20 million raised in venture capital funding.

While playing with the new Mahalo interface I noticed that there is now a Mahalo loyalty program that seems to be based on visits alone…

Mahalo Loyalty Program.jpg

The text on that page reads:

“We track the number of pages people view and reward our most loyal visitors with prizes. We don’t track the specific pages people view.

The number of pages you’ve viewed is right below the search box in the upper right corner of the Mahalo homepage.

If you’d like to opt out of this program, click here.”

While this seems like a novel idea in the Valley, affiliate-minded companies such as UPromise, eBates, Cashbaq, Fatwallet, Microsoft’s JellyFish, iGive, ValueClick’s MeziMedia, etc have been in the loyalty space for years and have come close to perfecting (or at least experimenting enough to find a profitable margin) the loyalty paradigm.

Rather than basing the Mahalo Loyalty program solely on such an easily manipulated metric as visits or pageviews, Calacanis and Co would be wise to look at what these affiliates have done and how the combination of pageviews plus action committed produces a much better result than just pageviews.

Even Microsoft seems to be “getting it” with their Cashback platform (which is actually doing well according to the analytical sites). Of course, Microsoft and the loyalty affiliates rely upon a conversion of a purchase or subscription for success, but Mahalo could very well find paydirt by leveraging a loyalty program composed of its massive amount of content with a developing loyal user base and affiliate programs.

We’ll see how they develop things.

Mahalo Loyalty Program – Mahalo