Jason Calacanis: Google's Matt Cutts Killed Mahalo & Wants Revenge

Jul 3, 2014 • 8:07 am | comments (35) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Other Google Topics

Jason Calacanis & Matt Cutts

Jason Calacanis, a well known angel investor, who helped launch many brands, products and software ideas - is still incredibly mad at Google and directly, Matt Cutts over the Panda algorithm and how it destroyed his other start up, Mahalo.

Jason posted an almost threatening post on Product Hut saying, "Matt Cutts killing the business really pissed me off." He added, "he just smiled and told me "you don't have a penalty" with a shit-eating grin." Then he goes into wanting revenge saying, "I've still got that Google kicking our ass fire in my belly. I want to come back from them jumping me in the parking lot and have my revenge."

Here is Jason's full post:

Mahalo was an awesome effort by a killer team. We hit $10m a year in advertising (all networks), 15m uniques and we were in the top 150 sites in the USA. Matt Cutts killing the business really pissed me off as well. he just smiled and told me "you don't have a penalty" with a shit-eating grin.... they targeted us for destruction and i had to layoff 80 americans working from home full-time. Salt of the earth people.... people making $500-700 a week... while the people at Google are spending $200 a week on gourmet food.

I've still got that Google kicking our ass fire in my belly. I want to come back from them jumping me in the parking lot and have my revenge.

Yes, Jason blames Matt for laying off 80 American workers while Googlers sit and eat gourmet food every day. And so much so, he wants "revenge" against them one day.

Seems like scary stuff to me.

Matt Cutts found out about this post last night, based on a Twitter post I noticed.

Forum discussion Twitter & Product Hut.

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Spambob Durant Pants

07/03/2014 01:06 pm

Matt Cutts paints himself as a target, im glad im not related to someone who constantly pokes at a hornets nest!

Better him than me

07/03/2014 01:17 pm

I mean Cutts & his team has cost a lot of people their jobs. I am sure they have ruined peoples lives. Eventually someone will get mad enough to beat the hell out of Cutts & his shit eating grin. Bottom line Google should have never allow the spam to work to begin with & then allow it to go on for so long. A lot people had businesses that were successful for years & the Google pulled the rug out from underneath them


07/03/2014 01:19 pm

Matt Cutts is an egomaniac who wields his power through constant Algo changes -- which at this point are killing Google's search quality. He controls search, which is 90% of Google's revenue and thereby has become the de-facto CEO of a 400 Billion dollar company. Larry Page needs to be mindful of what this man is doing to his company . With each change Google's search results become less and less focused. Panda 4 is so bad I hear more and more people who know nothing of SEO talking about how they were forced to use Bing due to Google's poor search quality.


07/03/2014 01:46 pm

Jason Calacanis should be blaming himself for investing in a company that relied on free search engine traffic. Seems like madness to me.

Are you retarded?

07/03/2014 02:05 pm

There is no such thing as free traffic! i am sick & tired of people calling it free traffic. Building a website cost money! Creating quality content cost money! Putting your website to be in the position for Google to rank that website cost money!

yo yo dine

07/03/2014 02:09 pm

It's true that normal organic SEO also cost money but I think James has pointed a good point also. He is saying right. Nowadays no entrepreneur should build their business only upon search engine traffic. It's too risky.

F1 Steve

07/03/2014 02:32 pm

James you sir are an simpleton! Google makes money by wrapping ads around organic listings not the other way around! Publishers are entitled to free traffic and google is entitled to sell ads based on indexing the publishers work! Go be a corporate tool somewhere else and say hi to you personal link network building buddy Durante for me when u get there!!

big joe

07/03/2014 02:54 pm

I usually don't take Google's side but Mahalo is a useless website, filled with spammy SEO-oriented content, doesn't offer anything unique, and looks like a worse version of eHow which is bad enough by itself. Start-up my ass. So Google were doing us a favor, cleaning up this site in favor of expert sites actually explaining topics they are good at... in this particular case. When it comes to commerce sites, it is complete rubbish that Google heavily favors big brands over small brands, and they should steer out of the Panda/Penguin clean-up (and give manual penalties to fraud sites, sites with bad UI and so forth). My 2cc


07/03/2014 02:57 pm

Calcanis is a blowhard. And yes, Mahalo was a spam engine. What I really dislike is the fact that Google has such a dominant position and allows them to make these heavy handed moves. Cutts vs Calcanis is like having to kiss your sister, there's never a winner.


07/03/2014 02:59 pm

Well, you actually make some fair points, shame you have to be so obnoxious about making them.

F1 Steve

07/03/2014 03:04 pm

Unfortunately F1 Steve is very obnoxious... but respect for acknowledging the points!

Łukasz Rogala

07/03/2014 03:11 pm

Well I'm not sure if that Mahalo thing was in some cases good or not. Just another page which wants to be like Wikipedia. ;) People need to be more creative I think. :) Also - in the Penguin&Panda era rely only on organic traffic is kinda bull*hit. ;)


07/03/2014 03:28 pm

Whoa! Please obey the 11th commandment, thou shall not out another SEO.

Casper K

07/03/2014 03:31 pm

Right on Steve!


07/03/2014 04:36 pm

agree with him. google want only $$$ by spammy way (ads above fold, to cheat user to click on adwords but not organic serp, killing other businesses, providing very low quality search results, where only wikipedia & youtube & other google sites, etc).


07/03/2014 04:38 pm

google also not offer any unique, mostly ads, youtube & wikipedia. Where is panda for google??????

Yo Mamma

07/03/2014 04:59 pm

You got me all exited when I read "Google's Matt Cutts Killed"

Yo Mamma

07/03/2014 05:01 pm

Yeah, you tell Durant about realying on "free search engine traffic". I wonder if he removed those follow links from his small interlinking network?

Yo Mamma

07/03/2014 05:02 pm

To call you anything but a simpleton or village idiot would be a lie an injustice only greenpeace could tolerate


07/03/2014 05:07 pm

that site tanked 3-11-11, it still ranks for over 14k search terms. I think it's a search engine site. Well no shit google would destroy it. Nuff said


07/03/2014 07:23 pm

Dude, Mahalo was always crap and everyone except your advertisers knew it. Suite101 with a cooler name. Matt and Google didn't kill it, their algorithm evolved just like a vaccine and got rid that shit.

Mark Warner

07/03/2014 09:33 pm

While that was a flaw in the business model, I'm not bothered by someone going after that kind of success. I've done it myself and am starting to do it again. It's more just bothering to think of when you consider that he decided to employ that many other people while knowing that their fate was only one algorithm change away... and the fact that his website had some obvious issues from a content perspective that any $100/hour consultant could have warned him about. I would have also expected a well-seasoned angel investor to be doing EV calculations that include the probability of this happening, I would expect him to have a plan in place for when it does happen, and the farthest thing from his mind should have been threatening revenge and ranting while meanwhile - 80 of his people have no jobs. I expect he'll come back and be very successful once again, I've never met the guy or heard of him, but if he took the project up to 10M in sales I'm sure he's got it in him to do great work.


07/03/2014 10:37 pm

"Yes, Jason blames Matt for laying off 80 American workers while Googlers sit and eat gourmet food every day." 80 workers is nothing. If you count the small businesses destroyed by Google with Panda and Penguin, so that they could give preferential treatment to their own brands and investments in search, I'd venture to say the number of jobs lost could be counted in the hundreds of thousands (if not higher). James is indeed right about the transfer of wealth occurring online. Google is using their dominance in search to fund their expansion into many different industries and small businesses have been rolled over by the Google steamroller in forward and reverse a number of times. I think James' frustration is misplaced. He should be mad as hell at the do nothing FTC that is allowing Google to overtake the internet. I'd settle for closing the FTC, laying off all of those employees like many small businesses had to do, and creating a new agency that will correct the FTC's wrongs. If the FTC is not going to ensure a fair marketplace online, which is a trillion dollar + a year market, get rid of those useless fools so our tax dollars can be used on something more productive.

miss the good ole days

07/03/2014 11:48 pm

The articles that get the most comments on SEO Round table these days, all have the same theme. Google is no longer our friend:-(

Barry Schwartz

07/03/2014 11:57 pm

I still cover a lot of different topics, I don’t control what people comment on.

miss the good ole days

07/04/2014 12:19 am

You do a great job Barry. I think this is a problem Google has created themselves.


07/04/2014 11:49 am

Well ... google is not trying to rank - they have enough direct traffic :) Panda is not killing any sites - it's killing thier rankings.


07/04/2014 11:52 am

I am no Google fan boy or Matt Cutts fan boy - but blaming him and his team for this is just stupid. Yes, there might be some collateral damage with some of the filter - but overall serps are improving (although those are still far for beeing ok / good). If Google won't push those filter you will not use Google search anymore since it will be like yahoo in 1998 - full of junk.... And regarding mahalo - let's be honest .. the site dosen't deserve to rank well. It actually should have a manual action in place for the junk you can find within :) Let's create another war so people can enroll and get payed ? Just creating some stupid stuff to create job it's no real help for anybody...

Craig Broadbent

07/04/2014 12:49 pm

remember how much calacanis used to attack the seo industry back in 06/07? then his business fails because the entire model was based around the crap seo he said he was against. poetic justice.

Casey Markee, MBA

07/04/2014 07:49 pm

I think the comment that "Mahalo was an awesome effort by a killer team" is laughable. I remember the site quite well. They had "how-to" articles on everything from "how to boil an egg" to "how to play Grand Theft Auto" and the articles were a JOKE. In most cases, the phrase was repeated like 8 times on the page and there was no other information other than ads. This kind of chicken shit low user-experience content was EXACTLY what Panda was designed to combat and it did that in spades against Mahalo. Further, most people fail to remember that Mahalo was THE most blocked site by Chrome users at that time...it wasn't even close. Hell, it was even blocked more than PORN sites and term life insurance queries both of which had a hey day during that period. Jason is a bright guy and I was there for his response to Matt and Matt's rebuttal at Pubcon last year and it was clear Matt took the "high road" in his response and made it clear that the issue with Mahalo was an algorithmic one, it wasn't personal. Jason absolutely believes it was personal and yet no evidence supports that. The audience really wanted Matt to decapitate Jason and Matt just didn't take the bait. The whole Mahalo thing can be summed up in two words: sour grapes! [my two cents]

Casey Markee, MBA

07/04/2014 07:50 pm

Ditto. You do a fantastic job Barry. You can't please everyone.

S Mandal

07/05/2014 11:38 am

Google is too much worry about spam and they are defining spam in their own way. If the things continue same way, I am sure in near future Google will regret to have Matt Cutts and his team; these guys are busy in destroying the Google’s sophisticated engineering. Whereas other sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest are growing by their innovation.

Andrij Harasewych

07/08/2014 12:38 pm

Damn straight.

Peter Kirwan

07/19/2014 03:31 pm

That headline is crying out to be written


07/19/2014 03:32 pm

Also Amen Brother.

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