Wikipedia is a powerhouse because
- they have so much content
- they don't run ads on their site
- they turn users into evangelists by making it easy to contribute
- they have so many inbound links
- where possible they replace their outbound links with links to more internal Wikipedia pages (I just saw a page on performance based SEO pricing models, which seems outside the scope of the goals of an encyclopedia)
- when they do link out they use nofollow
Nofollow is the flip side of paid links - you pay content creators for a while (with links), and then stop paying them while keeping their content.
In an attempt to follow Wikipedia's strategy (but with monetization) Mahalo...
- is creating a bunch of easy to read how to articles (though I am not sure I would trust a guide covering how to invest online from a person who is willing to spend a couple days writing it, for less than $100)
- now allows people to recommend links without logging in
- allows anyone to create new pages
In the past couple years Google has killed many paid link sources, and stripped PageRank from most general directories and most article directories. Given how much harder it is got to get clean links, some SEOs will be tempted to add content to Mahalo hoping for the outbound reference link, but in a year Mahalo will likely claim they need use nofollow to stop spam, so the opportunity is probably fleeting.
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