Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Answer Marketplaces ( Answered,   4 Comments )
Subject: Answer Marketplaces
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: inqmind-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 30 Nov 2006 13:20 PST
Expires: 30 Dec 2006 13:20 PST
Question ID: 787209
Why has Yahoo! Answers "bested" Google Answers? In theory, shouldn't
vetted experts and fee-based search win?

Google Answers pulled the plug yesterday. As a former staffer at
LiveAdvice I know first-hand that getting users to pay for answers is
an uphill battle. I haven't followed this space in some time, but am
curious to why Yahoo! seems to be growing while other rivals are
getting out of the biz (Ask Jeeves killed Answerpoint, etc.) Thoughts
about the Answer Marketplace space?
Subject: Re: Answer Marketplaces
Answered By: keystroke-ga on 08 Dec 2006 22:39 PST
Hello inqmind,

Thank you for your question.

I agree with my fellow Researchers that YA has not bested Google
Answers.  The problem, rather, lies in the fact that Yahoo has
promoted their site while Google has chosen not to promote Google
Answers in any way, and Yahoo Answers is open to anyone of any
intelligence level to participate, which makes the masses happy.

No one who asked questions at GA is going to be going to YA to ask
those same types of questions.

This is like comparing lizards and dinosaurs-- they're both reptiles,
but they're not similar in the most substantial ways.  And pretty much
the only similarity is that they both have "Answers" in the name.

The "Web 2.0" fad that is currently all the rage is seen quite well in
Yahoo! Answers.  People ask questions to anyone who can afford a free
account with Yahoo, and these esteemed researchers who have gotten
those coveted free accounts can give any advice/comments/criticism
that they want to the asker.  They compete for points.  You earn
points for "answering" a question, so even those who don't know what
they're talking about in reference to a question want to answer to
gain points and bragging rights.  Even when a correct answer has been
given, people will plow in and give the same answer, hoping to be
chosen as "best answer" and given 10 points.

As far as I can tell, points never fed a family or even bought a
latte, so answerers have no reason to spend time on an answer, think,
or bring any thoughtfulness or substance to the Yahoo! table.  They
are rewarded for providing the most answers in the shortest time
period.  Once, I happened upon a Yahoo! Answers thread regarding
felons finding jobs after getting out of prison.  It was a sincere
question by a frustrated person just trying to find a way to make a
living in a world that only wants to hire felons at McDonald's.  Many
of the respondents gave answers to the tune of, "Why SHOULD you have a
job?  You're a felon! You should have thought of that before you did
the crime and now you have to do the time!"  The masses were speaking,
and the masses liked to look down on this poor fellow or gal for
finishing a prison sentence and then actually trying to make something
of his or her life.  These uneducated masses liked to look down on
someone like this and feel superior with their truly inane comments
because at least they could feel better than a FELON, for gosh sakes.

Here is my analysis of some actual Yahoo! Answers threads and the
problems inherent in them.

Truly stupid questions:

"Is their exist any alternative to Google?";_ylt=AlK7.nG4nnsXcQegXcKQVIoezKIX?qid=20060921210213AAVy92E

The question:
"I am using Google form long times , & now getting boare with it every
time I search somthing on it I feel that google is hiding somthing
from me."

Yes, this is a person who somehow made it to Yahoo Answers but still
can't think of an alternative search engine to Google.  As you can
see, there is no minimum intelligence level to be a part of Yahoo!

Spam answers:

"Has anyone made a lot of money from a home based internet business?
And if so how much and which one?";_ylt=Au.fTuSle.YT1cj681gv1dTzy6IX?qid=20061208191957AAa4DzZ

This question garnered eight responses so far.   Out of that, two are
actually helpful.  The other six are from people who just want to get
referrals for their spam survey sites.  One person mentions that he
has made so much money, only working one hour a day for 10 days and
making $40!  Hmm, that is a grand $4 an hour, which is less than
minimum wage in the US and almost half the minimum wage that is being
proposed to pass at the federal level.  How helpful.

In sum, here is an amusing video that aptly describes the difference
between the two services:

And, if you don't believe that that would really happen in an actual
Yahoo! Answers question, I give you the proof that it would:

"Who is the most famous communist?";_ylt=AmQ9sSUvwPTnkLu6jdXJMfUjzKIX?qid=20061201135558AAToAGO

And in that thread, you can see four people saying Karl Marx.  Yes,
that's right, after someone had already said Karl Marx, three other
people came in and said it for points.  This behavior repeats itself
all over the site.  It is for fun, not insightful information.

Search strategy:
Personal knowledge

If you need any additional clarification, let me know and I'll be glad
to assist you further.

Subject: Re: Answer Marketplaces
From: pinkfreud-ga on 30 Nov 2006 21:26 PST
Yahoo promoted the bejabbers out of their answers service. Google
chose to hide theirs under a barrel and then hide the barrel.
Subject: Re: Answer Marketplaces
From: sublime1-ga on 30 Nov 2006 23:36 PST

Free, fast and multiple answers from a well-publicized service
tends to produce a thin stew from which a user may be able to
extract a nugget of nutrition. The interface appeals to the
younger social atmosphere shown to be successful on MySpace.
This accounts for the success of YA.

As pinkfreud noted, had Google simply provided adequate
maintenance of the status quo, GA would have continued
to thrive. Had they proactively promoted and nurtured it,
it could have soared on wings of glory, in my opinion.

Of course, I'm speaking from a space of total ignorance
as to site hit statistics and ad and other revenues.
However, with a budget like Google's, even if it was
losing revenue, it was providing a unique and valuable
service, and could easily have continued to expand in
doing so, and the positive impact on the community of
users far outweighed any financial detriment, in my view.

To contrast the success of YA vs GA shows ignorance of their
completely different natures. It's really comparing apples to
oranges, since GA offered (uniquely) detailed research for 
detailed questions which would be ignored for their complexity
on YA, or receive sadly inadequate answers.

The success of one had nothing to do with the failure of the
other. They shouldn't even be discussed in the same article.

Subject: Re: Answer Marketplaces
From: efn-ga on 02 Dec 2006 09:32 PST
Just to second sublime1's comment, this simile occurred to me:  saying
that Yahoo Answers defeated Google Answers is like saying that General
Motors is in trouble due to competition from skateboard manufacturers.
Subject: Re: Answer Marketplaces
From: hammer-ga on 05 Dec 2006 09:01 PST
I'll jump on the simile wagon!

Saying Yahoo Answers bested Google Answers is like saying that the
fine dining restaurant closed because the teen nightclub started
putting out bowls of free pretzels.

Just because they both have "Answers" in the name does not really
indicate a comparable product. Yahoo Answers has a very different
focus and target user than Google Answers.

- Hammer

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy