So what is the most popular website on the internet? Any guesses? If you thought Google, then you are correct. It is basically a search engine which offers answers to people’s queries. Internet, nowadays is used for bulk of things. But the thing that it is used for the most, is finding information.
This brings a business model to the table which revolves around solving queries of the consumers. Many websites have been following the much popular Q&A format for a good number of years now. The most common Q&A websites we know are Quora, Yahoo Answers, Stack Exchange, Stack Overflow, WebMD, and a lot more. While some of them cater to the generic questions like Quora, there are some that belong to a specific niche, like WebMD (medicine).
But the question is, how did all these websites came into existence? What was the need?
It all comes down to what we call “The Issue with Broadcasting for Help.” What happens is when a person seeks help from a lot of people, the concept of responsibility diffusion kicks in. This is a situation when everybody assumes that somebody would have helped, and in the end, nobody comes for help.
The Q&A websites rely on our instinct of proactively answering a query. This may sound quite trivial, but this is the primary instinct of humans that these websites leverage upon. Our primal instincts to communicate and to learn, drives us to these websites. And given the fact that most of these websites have good quality content, our urge to add more valuable information allow us to search for better answers and ways to convey them in comprehensible manner.
Take Quora for example. This website has surpassed all Q&A websites and has become a benchmark for all Q&A websites, but also how they are maintaining high quality content. Their basic parameter for content is BNBR (Be Nice, Be Respectful) and every Quora user has to abide by this rule.
Whether you talk about a wide spectrum Q&A website like Quora, or market specific Q&A websites such as WebMD (medical queries), Stack Overflow (Technical queries) or LawPivot (Legal query assistance for businesses and startups), the basic model is that the top section is reserved for questions, with subsequent sections for answers. Each answer can either be added as a comment or as a direct answer to the original poster.
There are primarily four ways in which Q&A websites generate revenue:
Take a good look around, and you’ll see a good number of people asking a question. Many e-businesses have started tweaking their FAQ pages around Q&A format, while Quora already started testing video answers so that same quality of information can be provided with better understandability and in less time. Most of these video answers are expected to be instruction manuals, user guides, tutorials and things like that. While Quora has witnessed slower revenue generation in comparison to other Q&A websites, what sets it apart is it sponsored questions ad format. This unobtrusive method of advertising doesn’t hinder the viewers’ learning experience. Video answers, on the other hand, are going to improve this experience manifold.
While “a picture is worth a thousand words” holds true on various instances, people have started relying on videos because, well, a video is more interactive and aids in better comprehension. All e-business enthusiasts who love to share knowledge and help people get their questions answered have finally realized how Q&A websites can help them expand their reach. It’s time we start putting our thoughts into actions, for knowledge is something that grows when shared.
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