Saturday, January 28, 2006

Yahoo Answers

I just signed up to Yahoo Answers Beta and posted the following question:
Did Yahoo Answers Beta take the idea "to get answers from real people" from Wondir
(http://www. wondir. com/)?
Then I collected some excerpts with QTsearch in order to understand what Yahoo Answers is all about; and then I checked whether other people commented about the relationship between Yahoo Answers and Wondir .

What is Yahoo Answers all about?

The Birth of Yahoo Answers
http://blog. searchenginewatch. com/blog/051207-220118
Now out in beta is Yahoo Answers, Yahoo's new social networking/online community/question answering service. The service allows any registered Yahoo user to ask just about any question and hopefully get an answer from another member of the question answering community. Access to Yahoo Answers is free.
Yahoo Answers appears to be definite extension of what Yahoo's Senior Vice President, Search and Marketplace, Jeff Weiner, calls FUSE (Find, Use, Share, Expand) and Yahoo's numerous efforts into online community building with services like Web 2. 0.
At the moment Yahoo Answers offers 23 top-level categories like:
Yahoo Answers uses a point and level system to reward participants:
Looking at the Yahoo Answers point system, it appears to me that there is an incentive to answer as many questions as possible as quickly as possible without worrying about accuracy. I think that's going to need some tuning.
Both a simple search box and some advanced features are available for asked and answered questions. Yahoo Answers will be promoted on Yahoo Web Results pages. For example, a user might see a link to seek an answer to their info need on Yahoo Answers.

Yahoo! Search blog: Asking the Internet
http://www. ysearchblog. com/archives/000221. html
Sean O'Hagan made an interesting proposal. To spice up Yahoo Answers a little, more specific categories might be of great advantage for users to join and help each other!
I believe Yahoo! will prove itself in the coming times with Yahoo Answers

ResearchBuzz: Yahoo Launches Yahoo Answers
http://www. researchbuzz. org/2006/01/yahoo_launches_yahoo_answers. shtml
I drilled down the category listing to Science & Math / Zoology. Yahoo Answers divides the questions into unanswered (the most recently-asked questions are listed first) and answered.

Smart Mobs: Yahoo Answers:
http://www. smartmobs. com/archive/2006/01/11/yahoo_answers. html
Luke Biewald sent me some commentary on the new Yahoo Answers service launched in December:
You have to see these to believe them. So what is the problem with Yahoo Answers? The implementation seems to be working very hard to reduce questions like this. While they have built in a point system, it doesn't seem to have an effect in bubbling up good questions or answers.
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Yahoo Answers:
Just caught this on Smart Mobs, an answer from Luke Biewald (really a Yahoo employee?) about the Yahoo Answers service:"This idea is really obvious, but has the potential to be as transformative as the Wikipedia.

What do people say about Yahoo answers and Wondir?

IP Democracy
http://www. ipdemocracy. com/archives/2005/12/08/index. php

Turns out Revolution Health Group is controlled by Steve Case, whose assortment of recent investments are reviewed in this IPD post. When Revolution’s acquisition of Wondir was announced a few months ago, it was presented as one of multiple investments closely tied the healthcare industry. But the launch of Yahoo Answers (and Price’s post), serves as a reminder that Wondir has broader capabilities and potential applications. It makes one wonder if Case has bigger plans for Wondir.
Yahoo! Answers Relies on the Kindness—and Knowledgeability—of. . . : http://www. infotoday. com/newsbreaks/nb051219-1. shtml

Other companies in the answer business have also moved in this direction. Answers. com recently acquired a search engine technology company called Brainboost that uses natural language processing to outline and analyze search results for context. In May, I reported on another collaborative answer service called Wondir, developed by information industry stalwart Matt Koll (“Wondir Launches Volunteer Virtual Reference Service,” http://www. infotoday. com/newsbreaks/nb050502-1. shtml
).
Mayer indicated that Yahoo! had spoken with Koll and looked at Wondir but ultimately decided that the number of users Yahoo!Answers would draw from the mammoth Yahoo! userbase would make it more successful than Wondir.

Hello World: Yahoo Answers
http://yanivg. blogspot. com/2005/12/yahoo-answers. html
Yahoo Answers is not the first attempt at this. In fact, Susan Mernit referred to it as a YAAN - Yet Another Answer Network, comparing it to Wondir and to others. While it's true that Yahoo Answers is not much different then Wondir, which has been around for quite some time, the user experience in the Yahoo implementation is considerably more slick, and is likely to get better and better. Not to mention the fact that, not really surprisingly, Yahoo Answer got on its first day traffic similar to what Wondir is seeing after ~3 years of operation.
Like Wondir, Yahoo Answers suffers from the "initial impression" effect (we call this "The Harry Potter Effect" - whenever a new Harry Potter book is released, Wondir is swamped with Potter-related questions. . . ) - when a user enters the system and is exposed to the "most recent" questions list, the content of these questions determines the flavor of the service in the eyes of the user. And given the random nature of this most recent list, and the topics which people are most interested at, that initial impression may cause users who are valuable knowledge sources to click-back-away. Again, if leveraging the long tail of knowledge is a goal of the service, thought should be given to this topic as well.

TechCrunch " Yahoo Answers Launches
http://www. techcrunch. com/2005/12/08/yahoo-answers-launches
My understanding is that the service will be somewhat similar to Yahoo Answers, Wondir, Google Answers and Oyogi, with some key differences that the founders hope will result in significantly more user participation, and better answers.

1 comment:

kokki said...

As for as I see it, all the four almost have the same features, except for a few changes in the UI and minor changes here and there.