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Jason Calacanis Admits I’m Right

Jason Calacanis Admits I’m Right

by Ben Cook on July 3, 2010

Jason Calacanis was nice enough to have me on his This Week in Startups show this week, and believe it or not, he admitted I was right “about 50%” of the time (in soccer that’s a win right?)! Also, I’ve also been given the title of “VP of SEO” for Mahalo so I’m sure that will look good on my resume. 🙂

No offense to miixxy (the “jayter” to lead off the show) but I’m starting the video at about the 30 minute mark because my segment is over half an hour long and frankly, I kind of doubt you want to watch over an hour of Calacanis and my ugly mug.

Chime in below and let me know how you think I did and whether Jason or myself changed your mind. Enjoy!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle L Devon (Michy) July 4, 2010 at 8:25 am

He lied about the contributor agreement & TOS:

1) It was absolutely not for MA. I never signed a contributor agreement. The contributor agreement didn’t even exist until June of this year, and many people are refusing to sign it. The TOS was for the entire site – it changed ON THE DAY that they announced revenue share would be taken away.

Over 80-90 people cashed out every month, not 50-60 like he claimed. The average cash out for June based on the sampling of 83 people I found active on the site in June, several of which did not cash out at all (63 out of 83 people cashed out in June for the first cash out) and the average cash out was $1200, and rising each month.

He lied when he said nobody had made $10,000 per year. One of his members cashed out $8751 last month all by itself—in one month–and that some contributor cashed out $6578 (May), $4475 (April) and $4416 (March). That on person in just four months cashed out over $24,000. Again, that’s just in three month’s time, not even a year like Jason is saying no one has done.

BUT she was far from the only one.

• Another member cashed out $11,826.34 in the past four months (March, April, May, June). Another member cashed out $8908.00 over the past four months.
• Another, an ex staff member who had to turn freelance when they terminated his job, he cashed out $14082.97 in the past four months.
• One women cashed out $5759.61 for just May and June- her first cash out was in June, so in just two months, she made more than half of that 10k Jason said didn’t happen.
• Another women did $13820 in four months’ time.

That’s five people just off the top of the list I’ve compiled that have made more than 10k in a year, because they have earned more than that much or close to that much in just the past few months.

In fact, the AVERAGE payout in June, when I take the sample of 84 writers I have screen captures of their payment requests on, out of the 63 who cashed out on those 84, the average payout was $1200, NOT below $500 like Jason is lying about here.

I have screen captures to back all this up. It’s not proprietary or stolen information – go to any members’ page and you can click on the payment tab and see it for yourself. I will share the spreadsheet via email with anyone who wants to see all the numbers.

I’ll come back when I’m finished with your segment of the video.


Michelle L Devon (Michy) July 4, 2010 at 8:51 am

The rest of my thoughts on the video. I really need to finish writing my blog posts, but I try not to put too much time in Calcanis. He’s negativity personified, narcissism defined.

But here’s the rest of my thoughts on the video:

Creative commons and take it somewhere else, ONLY If we gave him a backlink to Mahalo. The original TOS said not only that we owned the content, but also that we could remove the pages from the site–when I know someone who did this, they got banned immediately and he kept their money.

He said nobody has asked to take his content elsewhere, but several have, and they were banned. I have names. They also didn’t get paid what they had accrued.

He said 200-300 people applied in three days – I call bullshit on that. He said they picked 60 of them, but that’s a lie. They only picked fewer than 30.

Unfortunately for the freelance writers, you did not ask about the theft of the money, the unwillingness to pay people the money they have in their accounts if it was below $150, the banning of people who did not break any TOS, but got kicked off the site anyway.

The majority of your discussion was about the crap SEO scraping and spam stuff – which I suppose it important, but it doesn’t pertain to what 4000 writers just experienced, and it doesn’t help those who were counting on income that was stolen from them when they refused to pay it out if they hadn’t reached $150 year – or when they banned people and kept their money.

Jason needs to understand when he talks about ‘success’ that different people measure it differently. I don’t consider him successful. He’s rich, but he’s not successful. Money can be lost.

At this point, it seems pretty clear to me that the only way anyone is going to get through to him is to put their own money behind a lawsuit and let the courts spank him. My attorney agrees.

Thanks for the sounding board.


Cayt July 5, 2010 at 10:34 am

I also did not sign a contract when I began writing at Mahalo. There is no contributor contract as far as I know and I certainly never saw or agree to sign one. All I did to write for Mahalo was write an initial article, get approved, and begin writing for tips.

Also, it is true that people had asked Jason to have their work removed. I asked the day after the announcement, when the site was down and during the ToS change. I never heard back but I did email him and another staffer to request that my work be removed. I emailed again after watching this show live and was told that they would not remove my work as they had paid for it. They said that I had read the ToS wrong and that they own my work, though I see no distinction whatsoever in the old ToS between types of content or ownership. I pointed out that the ToS did not say this and that Jason specifically said that he thought removing someone’s work upon request was reasonable but I have not heard back yet, I assume because of the holiday weekend. In any case, it appears that they are not acknowledging the old ToS nor will they allow people to remove their past work.


Samuel Lee July 6, 2010 at 5:30 pm

What contract? I don’t remember any contract. I do remember signing up in fall, and got back into Mahalo earlier this year. I remember I could start writing and make pages right away. I remember my first question I answered on Q&A was how do computers know the time of the day.

So, Jason mentioned in the video that the members signed an agreement once they are registered??


chris July 11, 2010 at 7:28 pm

We never did get a definitive answer about the “TOS hack” did we…


Ben Cook July 11, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Chris, what do you mean “TOS hack”?


Yura September 29, 2010 at 2:06 am

With Aaron Wall being the president of SEO, right? Or he is the first VP of SEO? 😉

I’d think twice before mentioning Calacanis in my resume, even if he said you were right 🙂


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