Social Media Marketing

Does Quora have the right answers?

Quora has been labelled as the definitive ‘question and answer site’. High praise given to a site that was only launched in 2010. Quora, founded by ex Facebook empolyees (Adam D’Angelo & Charlie Cheever), is a site where anyone can ask their questions and have them answered by the Quora community. The queries can be as random or as specific as you like.

Just like Wikipedia, Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers, created, edited and organised by all its users. Quora allows the members of its community to edit information and suggestions are welcomed as long as the answers are made more descriptive and more accurate. The best get voted to the top.

Adam D'Angelo & Charlie Cheever

Adam D'Angelo & Charlie Cheever

If you still can’t picture how this works, think Yahoo Answers or Linkedin Answers with a far smoother user experience and firmer answering guidelines. Quora is a simple idea which has learned from Twitter, Facebook, Digg and Google.  For example, you can ask questions, answer questions, follow people you like, follow topics you’re interested in, vote up or down answer quality, add news feeds, tag people you would like to answer your question like a particular CEO. Quora has also developed a very sophisticated search engine which uses its own algorithm to rank the answers, just like Google’s PageRank.

Personally I think Quora offers a great user experience (admittedly a little too geeky perhaps) and I love the level of detail provided in the answers. However I’m not yet convinced about its long term value. Fighting SPAM and relentless self promotion will be a tricky challenge for Quora. Linkedin Answers already has a very mature knowledgebase and most of the questions raised to date in Quora seem to come from the tech community who are it’s biggest advocates.

Quara will need to expand beyond this community to gain any real traction; otherwise it could just fade away like the much hyped Google Wave. But then again, over 500,000 people, including Ashton Kutcher. Maybe there is something to it after all.

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