Posted January 18, 2011 8:10 pm by with 14 comments

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For the past month, I’ve seen article after article about how the new Q&A site Quora might be the next social media darling. The site began in “invite only” mode, which certainly helped elevate the buzz. Then Ashton Kutcher started answering questions there, so that was an indication of . . . something.

Now open to the public, the site does appear to have some heavy hitters in the community, particularly those in the journalism and tech areas. I saw the founder of Lifehack, the CEO of Mashable, a former AOL Chief Marketing Officer and the CEO of Netflix. Quite the cocktail party.

The questions on Quora are more intelligent than the ones you find on those other Q&A sites. For example: How did Mint acquire 1.5m+ users without a high viral coefficient, scalable SEO strategy, or paid customer acquisition channel?

Seriously, I was wondering the same thing, so thank heavens for Quora or that would have kept me up all night.

As with all Q&A sites, you can use Quora to promote your business. Simply find a question that’s in your field and answer it. Unlike, Quora puts your name and affiliation front and center which makes you more visible and it helps users judge the validity of the information. The site is much cleaner than, a bit too clean, and it leans more toward social connections, downplaying the rise and fall of popular updates such as you see on Digg.

The downside is that Quora isn’t intuitive. The site doesn’t open to the most recent questions. Instead, it delivers the recent updates from your categories which I don’t remember picking. It must have figured my interests based on my Facebook profile and it’s not wrong, but I prefer to browse a wider range of questions and that’s impossible. The site also appears to be self-monitored wiki style because you can make changes to the way things are organized. Not sure about that, either.

Quora feels very techy, which is probably why tech blogs seem to love it. But despite the fact that it’s gaining in popularity it still seems like a site that is destined to become a large spam repository. As for it being the next great marketing tool, I don’t see it. Do you?

  • I find it ironic that you’ve used the character Fry from Futurama in this post as that’s the intelligence level of the content on the site seems to be is heading.

    • fuubar

      Ass. What’s the matter, did someone take away your iPhone?

      • Josh

        I was referring to Quora, not Marketing Pilgrim. Been a very happy subscriber to this site for a while.

        • Cynthia

          Thanks for the clarification, but we never doubted you! And yes, that’s the worry, but right now it seems to have a higher average IQ than most sites of this type.

  • PC

    I don’t see it, either. But i also don’t get Facebook and it’s big enough to join NATO. I love Twitter.

    • Love reading answers from the likes of Steve Case, etc., re business on Quora. It appears to be evolving as another tool for the arsenal. I’m with PC above re Facebook… meh. But I, too, love Twitter.

  • Personally I find Quora very interesting. It’s great to be able to share industry knowledge and get recognized for it. Also, when posting a question you can guarantee that you will get a genuine response back. I’m not so sure how big it’s going to get but as long as people find it relevant, they are going to continue using it.

    • Cynthia Boris

      I find it interesting, but I don’t find it user friendly or marketing friendly and yet, I’ve seen dozens of articles pushing how great it is for marketing.

  • Hmmm…for me, the jury is still out on this new player.

    One thing tho that I can report, is that it appears that anyone who is a member can put an embargo on any answer that they want too….

    ie a competitor might notice your post and then just click to make it “collapse” and not be available….either that’s a bonus or not…depends I suppose on how you might value free speech, eh!



    • Cynthia Boris

      Very interesting. Poking around, I saw that you had the ability to move things and recategorize them. I thought I was misunderstanding how it works, but it sounds like it is open for those kinds of tactics.

  • Bo

    A next gen big hit? I am not so sure. I think it will turn out to be just another over used marketing dump.

    As for the picture, I love it. Although when I first read the title in the feed i though of ‘Quorra’ from Tron: Legacy.

  • Agreed regarding user experience. The real strength of Quora is the ability to follow finite keywords that you decide on. That’s a powerful feature that will eventually allow people to become very specific resources on topics of interest.

    • Cynthia Boris

      Ah, see, that’s where I had a hard time with it. The keyword concept just kept sending me off in the wrong direction.

  • A Davis