Amazon Responds to Yahoo Answers with Askville


Amazon appears to have just relaunched Askville, a competitor of sorts to Yahoo Answers. (Askville supposedly launched last year, so this should be labeled as a relaunch.) Amazon made an announcement on Thursday that they were “launching” again. So what is Askville?

Askville is a place where you can ask any question on any topic and get real answers from real people. It’s a fun place to meet others with similar interests to you and a place where you can share what you know. You can learn something new every day or help and meet others using your knowledge. It’s new, and best of all, it’s free!

I took a look at Askville this morning and so far, I like what I see. As far as the level of conversation goes, the questions asked and answers received were pretty high quality. I searched for “digital camera below $250,” since that was the question I posed to my readers yesterday. And guess what? I got pretty much the same recommendations.

A simple explanation for better answers might be the lure of the lucre.

Amazon said users who share their knowledge by answering questions will receive Quest Gold, which will be redeemable for USD50 or USD100 Gift Cards for a limited time, while supplies last.

What I like about Askville is that it doesn’t deviate too much from Amazon’s main business: selling things to people. While you don’t need to be logged into the service to read “answers,” you do need to sign in in order to participate in community features such as voting an “answer” up, just like you would on Digg.

The only large web company that has had been successful with its “Answers” offering is Yahoo. It would be interesting to see if Amazon will succeed where others, including Google, have failed. AOL recently acquired Yedda, an Israeli startup, in order to start giving “Answers.”


Tom Clarke

Oof, it’s ugly though! I think Yahoo! Answers is a fantastic site. I’ll be very interested to see whether Amazon can get Askville off the ground this time. A complete redesign might help them achieve this.

Jeremy Goodrich

dicky…answerbag was bought by InfoSearch Media years ago (my former employer) and then sold to Demand Media last year for $5 million.

As they paid such a high price…I really, really doubt somebody will be attempting to re-purchase them for a 3rd time, not withstanding that the very business model of Demand Media is rolling up numerous content companies.

sodahead has …the social features

And what, pray tell, are those? I’ve seen sodahead as well, and it seems to be pretty generic. No photo sharing, no photo rating…ah, but they have a blog feature, and they have customizable profiles (something none of the other Q&A sites have).

Are blogs + customizable profile colors really needed…? Considering Facebook is growing the fastest in the social category, and their profile page is reasonably static (eg, without an application, you can’t change the colors).

If you tell 10 of your friends about FunAdvice, I promise I’ll add those two features (and others, if you want) to our engineering queue on FunAdvice :)


Askville is a great site on a bad platform. Who wants to social network on an ecommerce site. Social Answers is just getting hot as people are getting a little tired of the traditional social networks. Granted MySpace and Facebook are huge, and great at what they do, but people are and will be seeking more stimulating interaction. The sites I go to are Yahoo Answers (huge activity but a little childish), SodaHead (a new site that seems to have what other sites are missing which is the social features) and Answerbag (good questions but little social activity.) Someone should buy them all and make one big Q&A community.

Jeremy Goodrich

My personal guess is that QuantCast is off by the same US metrics with every company. So, I’m shocked that Answerbag, Wiki Answers and FunAdvice (my site) are all beating Amazon’s Q&A attempt so handily.

To be truthful, nearly every one of their features can be had on AnswerBag, FunAdvice, or to a lessor degree, Yahoo (since Yahoo Answers lacks the breadth of social features of Answerbag or us).

The only, only way that Askville could attempt to challenge the crazy growth of Wiki Answers (which is #2 in the category) is to deeply integrate their Q&A offering into Amazon, which they’re NOT about to do, because it would sink their ecommerce revenue. People looking for advice or answers are NOT about to make a purchase.

Last, I fully get why Yahoo,, and Microsoft jumped head long into the Q&A business. However, Amazon is ecommerce at it’s core. I don’t think, long term, people want to hang out at the online mall and chat with their friends. There is a reason that Facebook didn’t just announce they’re selling online.

My 2 cents…but, as I mentioned above, I’m biased ;) My own Q&A site gets more than a million visitors a month, and I’m putting my bet on that one.

Rocky Agrawal

It’ll be interesting to see how much this changes as the community grows larger. It seems that inevitably as the community grows, quality gets ridiculously bad. Although Yahoo! Answers is successful from a traffic standpoint, many of the questions (and answers) read like they were written by contestants from “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?”

You see this in the blogosphere, too. I don’t see nearly as much whining here when you write about Facebook as I do on a certain other tech blog. :)


If you visit with Safari they tell you it’s not supported and to download Firefox…not.
I have the Safari debug menu enabled so spoofed that I was Firefox and everything seems to work fine.
Not impressed Amazon! Open it up.

Comments are closed.