EDIT: The page was restored some time after this entry was posted (and I asked Jason what happened to the page). Mahalo staff have said it was never removed (see comments). I have included a screenshot that this was the case earlier. The post is available at this time, at least. You can view it here.
Earlier this evening, Jason Calacanis posted a question to Mahalo Answers asking for users opinions on the allegations against the site, and offering a cash incentive to provide it. Talk about an unfair platform… Still, I welcomed the opportunity to clarify my position.
Many of the repsonses were by staff and freelancers, and predictably tried to cloud the issue, and spin the allegation that Mahalo is running a rigged system.
After writing a lengthy reply, outlining specifically what my issues were, more freelancers replied attempting to misdirect the other users relating to how Mahalo generates it’s M$.
The points I made were many, and I am not able to duplicate them, as I assumed since Jason had moved the issue to an open forum, he was welcoming public debate on the matter. Apparently not.
In a surprisingly turn of events, after I posted the following response, the page was quickly 404d, and all content lost:
“In fact, it is not true I have given out only $3. I have actually spent $20. For some reason the stats are skewed. You can confirm this by looking at my “tips given” tab. I have my suspicions for why the “tips given” are being reported incorrectly on profiles, as well. Certainly makes it harder to see from the staffs profiles that the same M$ are more or less going round and round, isn’t it?
No conspiracy per se. Just smart, if somewhat deceptive business practice. When cost is only incurred upon cash out, Mahalo has every motivation to take steps to limit the amount cashed out. This is a policy as evidenced by the $40 limit. I contend, based on monitoring staff activity, that it goes beyond that. Mahalo can increase the perception of transparency quite easily. Stop charging users for putting M$ in, and charge them only when those M$ come out. That’s the racket Mahalo is running, and trying to convince us that it is on equal footing.”
In addition to the above, I countered staff arguments that the system was running fairly, and took Jason up on his challenge to provide a “solution”. The soultion, per my post, was for Mahalo to either buy the M$ it uses, like everyone else, rather than only incur a cost when a user cashes them out, or to allow users the same option. I stated that if Mahalo was so certain it’s users would be enriched by this platform, than it should allow users to only pay for their M$ when a user removes them from the system, just as Mahalo is doing. I also stated the reason Mahalo will not do this is because they know only a mere fraction of those M$ will ever be “cashed out”.
In addition, I restated my claim that Mahalo staff are gaming the system by shuffling around the $M from one to another, and referenced the evidence previously provided of this.
I guess Jason decided a public debate was not in his interest, afterall… The page was removed and there has been no further repsonse from Mahalo on the issue.