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Thursday, December 8, 2005

Yahoo Answers

Remember Google Answers, the hidden gem of Google where around 500 researchers worldwide answer people’s questions to make some spare-change? Well, now Yahoo releases Yahoo Answers.

The underlying expert answers approach is similar to what Google (and others) have done before. As opposed to Google Answers, however, Yahoo Answers Researchers won’t be paid for successful answers. The only thing Yahoo promises is a more altruistic reward to “make someone’s day.” (This might make it a fun experience for some, but on the other hand, at Google Answers you can make someone happy and still get paid.) However, there’s another side to the story, which may prove to be of equal importance; at Yahoo Answers, visitors also don’t have to pay for questions. In any case, I’m test-driving the system by asking “Will people get paid to answer here?

At the moment, some of the questions seem funny but not really too interesting. The question “Is the world round?” was successfully answered with “Yes,” in turn receiving 5 stars for a “good reply” from the person who asked the question. Surely, people are just playing around with the service today. Gary Price in the Search Engine Watch blog wonders if there will be a strong community evolving around Yahoo Answers. “I think it will be very illuminating to take a look at Yahoo Answers in a few months to see how the community has developed and also functioning on policing itself to remove spam, bad info, etc.”


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