Question and answer services are pretty popular on the web. Yahoo Answers, MetaFilter, formspring are all in this space. Social networks have also been integrating Q&A feature for users to find answers to all their questions. Quora, a startup launched this summer by former Facebook employees, raised $11 million in venture capital earlier this year. A close competitor Formspring reportedly closed a round of $10 million this month on top of an angel round of $2.5 million. The Q&A space has suddenly become a hot trend.
Yahoo Answers, which was established way back in 2005 is far and away the largest of these sites, with about 200 million users visiting the site and generating about 25 million questions and answers each month.
Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. Almost any public space on Quora can be edited by anyone who knows how to improve it. This includes the text of questions and the details around them, what topics are attached to which questions, and the summaries of answers. People can write their own answers to questions any time they think a question page could become a better resource with more information added to it. People can follow topics so that the system can show them questions they are interested in and know about.
“We felt like there were all these thoughts and experiences and knowledge that people have built up over their lives that don’t have a great place to go on the Web right now,” said Quora co-founder Charlie Cheever. “We’re trying to make Quora that place.” Quora is not alone, there are other great services out there who are all competing for your attention, but Quora hopes to increase the diversity of topics to reach more mainstream users, as well as experimenting with ways to ensure that quality remains high.