What would the ideal replacement for GA look like?
Pretty much exactly like GA - with two important exceptions.
There would need to be very efficient contact between the customer
and researcher to avoid endless strings of clarifications that often
ended in the researcher putting in unpaid hours of research for a
customer who never returned, or who didn't like the final answer
because they didn't ask the question properly.
I would also change the service from an "answer" site to a "research"
site. With such a service, researchers would actually get paid for the
hours they put in searching for background information on a topic, as
opposed to searching for twenty hours on a multi-part question, and
then having to forgo payment because they found only nine parts of the
answer, and not ten!
Aside from these changes, I must say that Google Answers was an
excellent, much-needed service that was thriving up until the end. On
the final day of GA, new customers were still coming through the door
and several new questions were being posted each hour.
I am very sad to see GA go. However, I encourage our loyal customers
to watch for us in the future. We might be out of commission
temporarily, but many of us love research too much to stay hidden for
Here's to 2007!