Calacanis and crew have launched yet another Mahalo born project called Mahalo Answers. Mahalo's vesion of Yahoo! Answers, Google Answers or ChaCha, lets you offer a tip to ask specific questions of other Mahalo users. Upon receiving a satisfactory answer (assuming you get one) users can give their promised tip, choose to give nothing at all, or give a little extra — depending on how happy you are with the answers.
For answer seekers, that either choose not to look on their own or absolutely can't find an answer themselves you can purchase "Mahalo Dollars" at a cost of $1 regular dollar per 1 Mahalo Dollar. Those that wish to provide answers, and some how see this as money making opportunity can answer as many questions as they want, however they will need to be considered the best answer as only one person receives the "tip". Upon reaching $30 you can then redeem your Mahalo bucks for real money, but watch out because Mahalo will skim 25% off the top. That's right you are hit with a 25% withdrawal surcharge to cash in your Mahalo Dollars.
As CNET News points out economically, [for Mahalo at least] this will be seen as a brilliant move--if it works. That's because, as Calacanis says, "Everyone is working on spec." When you ask a question, you put money into the system, and Mahalo is the bank. When you answer a question, you put knowledge into the system (which has value), and you might not get paid. Only one answer gets the bounty, and then Mahalo keeps 25 percent of it.
That is one hell of a money making scheme, Mahalo cuts a quarter out of every dollar for being the middle man. Sadly there are probably folks out there that will be duped into using the service. The funny thing is most of the answers probably won't be searched within Mahalo, but searched on Google and I'm sure more than a few will be asked and answered for free over at Yahoo! Answers, and then re-answered for pay at Mahalo.
As our friends over at ValleyWag pointed out the pay-to-search business is a lousy one. Google tried and failed, ChaCha had limited success, Yahoo! and Answers.com are a couple of the only ones that has really made a go of it, but they are both free services.