Sunday, 9th January 2011
This week, I have been reading about 'one of the hottest sites on the Internet', one of the 'fastest growing properties of 2011' and a start-up that 'will grow to the stature of Twitter'. What is all the fuss about?
The buzz is about Quora (http://www.quora.com), a questions and answers site with a social twist that, although founded in 2009 has suddenly become popular amongst the technical whizz kids of Silicon Valley and influential business people. According to The Guardian (http://digbig.com/5bdect) the former CEO of AOL, Steve Case is amongst those you can pose questions to.
So, what is so different to Quora? After all, there are plenty of well-established Q & A and ‘How to’ sites – Yahoo Answers (http://answers.yahoo.com/), Wiki Answers (http://wiki.answers.com/), Ehow (http://www.ehow.com/) , Mahalo (http://www.mahalo.com/) and Formspring (http://www.formspring.me/) to name a few. Some, like Google Answers have been and gone.
The difference with Quota is the social element. As Patrick La Forge of Mashable (http://digbig.com/5bdecw) points out, with Quora instead of getting answers via an algorithm such as with Google, the responses are from knowledgeable people. And those providing the answers are not anonymous – they are expected to use real names, which add to the high quality of the results.
The site has had many positive reviews, with several users commenting on the simple, visually appealing design and its high quality content. Users may already find answers to their questions, but if not, others will contribute and attempt to answer them. Answers are prioritised according to how useful they are, with the best contributors attracting followers, much like Twitter does. It is also available via mobile app.
However, as Mashable points out, so far a large proportion of the questions are of a technical nature. Users wanting answers to questions covering other topics may be disappointed, which in turn will make user retention a problem. For that reason, it looks like Quora will mainly be of interest to those seeking in-depth answers and commentary –journalists and information professionals, for example.
So far, Quora has around 500,000 registered users and has not yet reached the scale that would leave itself open to spammers. It may be that Quora will be more useful if it stays small, but no doubt the company owners think differently.
To read an in-depth review and guide to the site, visit Phil Bradley’s blog at http://digbig.com/5bdecx
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