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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Ex-Google Answers Researchers Launch Q&A Site

This just in: is a new website by a number of researchers who used to work for the (now cancelled) Google Answers program. This is cool, and I wish my former colleagues all the best! (Disclosure: I watched the site come to life from afar, though I wasn’t actively involved in it.) I’m also happy to have another way now to pose urgent questions, and I’m curious how well the system will work out in the future. Certainly the biggest obstacle will be marketing the service right to find lots of people asking questions (especially people with little time... because with competing services like Yahoo Answers, while you don’t invest money, you usually have to invest more time).

To try this out, I’ve asked a first question: how does Uclue compare to Ex-Google Answers? The process of signing up was easy. Paying is easy as well: you’ll pay your chosen amount upfront with PayPal, and if no one answers your question you’ll receive a refund later on (from your payment, 75% will be paid out to the researcher, with Uclue receiving the rest). Overall, the site is really easy to use, though the design – the logo, some of the colors – can still be optimized.

[Thanks David!]

Update: David at Uclue answered my question regarding the differences of their new service to the old Google Answers. From his answer:

Listing fee: GA [Google Answers] charged 50 cents to post a question. There is no listing fee at uclue.

Price range: uclue accepts questions ranging from $5 to $250, compared with GA’s $2-200 range.

Payment: Payment at uclue is in advance, and can be made via Paypal or with a credit card (as long as that feature is enabled...depends a bit on the customer’s country). GA was credit card only, and payment was processed when the answer was posted (NOTE – the ’payment in advance’ feature is the result of our current software configuration, and may be changed down the road).

Scope: uclue won’t venture into anything that is patently illegal, and we won’t write student essays or do their tests for them. Other than that, though, pretty much every topic is fair game. We’ll even answer questions about uclue itself (as this current answer demonstrates). GA had some built-in limits in this respect.

Languages: GA was EO – English only! uclue can field questions in three languages, English, German and Spanish, and might add more down the road.

Hot Bot: There is no autobot roaming the uclue site and automatically locking questions that contain certain terms.

Ratings: Customer ratings can be revised at uclue, a feature that was not available at GA.

Identities: I think you’ll find uclue much more casual when it comes to the true identities and/or whereabouts of individual researchers.

I’ve also asked another question on how one can become a Uclue researcher (at this time, you need to have been a Google Answers Researcher to join up), and additionally wanted to know which former GA researchers already work at Uclue now. Uclue provided this list:

  • angy
  • answerfinder
  • bobbie7
  • byrd
  • clouseau
  • cynthia
  • davidsarokin (pafalafa-ga)
  • denco
  • easterangel
  • eiffel
  • guillermo
  • hummer
  • jdboyne (jdb-ga)
  • journalist
  • umiat
  • livioflores
  • nancy
  • palitoy
  • peter (hedgie-ga)
  • pinkfreud
  • politamar (politicalguru-ga)
  • rainbow
  • richard
  • scriptor
  • sierra (czh-ga)
  • sublime1
  • till
  • tlspiegel
  • juggler



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