Mahalo Answers is a knowledge exchange where users can post questions which are answered by other users The parent site of Mahalo Answers is Mahalo.com, a human-edited search engine. The site is free to use but requires registration to ask or answer questions. Users have the ability to offer a tip for an answer to their question, thus providing incentive for a better answer. Tips are paid in Mahalo dollars, which can be purchased on the site at a cost of $1 per Mahalo dollar. The site earns income by redeeming these dollars to people who have been tipped at a rate of $.75 per Mahalo dollar. Asking a question is a simple process. The user is prompted for the question, then optionally asked for a more detailed explanation of the question. Next the user is prompted to choose a category for the question from a well organized list of hundreds of categories. Then the user can optionally select to receive an email anytime someone posts an answer to their question. If a tip was offered, the user must decide which user gave the best answer to their question and award the tip to that person. For answering questions that did not offer a tip, points are awarded to the user with the best answer. As users gain points by answering questions, they advance through several different belt levels (like black belt and purple belt in karate).Show more screenshots »
Mahalo Answers was launched from the main Mahalo site in December 2008. Mahalo.com was founded in May 2007 by entrepreneur and blogger Jason Calacanis, founder of The Blog Network, Inc., a network of over 70 bloggers. The Mahalo.com site has millions of monthly unique visitors. The Answers section has a rapidly growing userbase, with some experts actually using the site to earn an income. Mahalo Answers is not accepting new questions since June 2011.
The main difference between Mahalo Answers and similar sites such as Ask.com and Answers.com is that Mahalo Answers does not use a forum-style model for asking and answering questions. The Mahalo site uses a Web 2.0 model to display questions and answers. In addition, Mahalo Answers and the main Mahalo search engine are directly linked to exchange information. Also, neither Ask.com nor Answers.com nor - the biggest competitor - Yahoo Answers has the capability to offer tips for answers to questions.
The Mahalo Answers site has an overall Web 2.0 look and feel, but some of the pages are a bit busy. Advertisements are displayed on the site, but are largely unobtrusive. Use of the site is obvious and intuitive, however, and navigation is easy. The site’s layout makes it easy to ask or answer a question from most anywhere on the site. The site is quick and responsive, although some page loads take a few seconds to complete.
The registration process for Mahalo Answers simply asks for email address, username and password. Confirmation of the email address is required. Registered users have a profile page on the site where they can optionally share more information about themselves. A new user automatically receives 50 points, and users must purchase Mahalo dollars if they wish to offer tips.
The site uses PayPal payment processing for purchasing Mahalo dollars. Payment can be made from the user’s PayPal card, or with Mastercard, Visa, American Express or Discover credit and debit cards. The credit card payment form asks for full billing information, including email address and phone number.
Mahalo Answers is recommended to anyone needing an answer to a question on any topic. Users commonly ask for technical help, advice on which products are best to buy, and for definitions and explanation of terms. The site is also useful for anyone who wishes to provide help to others and possibly to earn an income from answering questions. The site does allow for questions to be asked privately from a user’s profile page, which provides a vehicle for subject matter experts to advertise their willingness to answer questions in exchange for a tip.
Overall, Mahalo Answers fills the need for a general-purpose knowledge base with answers to questions on most any topic. The userbase has grown steadily since the site was launched, and at least one answer can usually be had to most any question in a matter of a few minutes. As the userbase grows, response times should get shorter, making the site an even better place for finding answers.