Mahalo, Jason Calacanis's new search-engine venture, uses Google's AdSense system to target ads to its content. But in placing the ads, Calacanis got a bit too chummy for Google's comfort. Mahalo's website cheerily informs users that the ads that appear are placed by "Our Friends at Google." Oh, really? We asked Google if the search engine was really best-friends-forever with Calacanis, or what. Here's what we heard back from Jason's supposed friends.
"Technically, this is not kosher," says Google rep Brandon McCormick. The language, which could incite enthusiastic Mahalo users to click on the ads out of sheer overexuberant bonhomie, is "borderline" at best. "Publishers are not allowed to draw undue attention to ads on their site," says McCormick, adding that Google has sent Mahalo's webmaster a reminder of the policy. So much for your friends, Jason.