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Is That It for Quora?

In January, Quora rocketed into the spotlight.

Suddenly, the idea of an online Q&A service with some social media sprinkled into the mix was sexy and cool. It helped that Quora was started by two ex-Facebook employees. It was also January when the tech world was relatively quiet and looking for something new and interesting.

While a Q&A service is nothing new (Yahoo! Answers, anyone?), Quora captured the imagination of many people, probably because shiny and new is always a good thing, and Quora just happened to be the flavor of the day. Of course, it happens to be located in Silicon Valley with friends in the right places.

These days, however, the chatter about Quora has faded away. Few of the people who were excited about Quora now mention it, and it has seemed to have disappeared from the tech and Techmeme landscape. It’s not say suggest Quora isn’t interesting, it’s just that it’s not that interesting.

For the tech world, interesting lasts about a week before people tire of it, and start looking for the next thing – sort of like children at Christmas when the novelty of new and shiny lasts a short time.

Take a look at the SXSW conference in which GroupMe, a group-messaging service, triumphed over Foursquare as the hot new social media service – according to TechCrunch. For all we know, GroupMe will soon be tossed on the trash heap along with all the other cool start-ups.

What’s hot today is not hot tomorrow. It’s the nature of the beast. So it’s been nice knowing you, Quora. I hope you enjoyed your 15 minutes of fame.

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  • http://www.gallery.ca Colin Chen

    Hi Mark, thank you for your post. I’m new to this aspect of the industry(mainly been a developer) so it’s troubling to think that our thought leaders are so easily swayed with the “shiny”, “new” and “flavor of the day.” It may be the nature of the beast but I’d like your take on *why* that is? Mainstream music shoves the “shiny”, “new” “flavour of the day” down our throats but at least they can make a quick buck out of it. Is there an aspect of ego here because Quora was yet another platform where people could gain the ever-precious, yet overrated, influence? Meanwhile, technology with true potential but lacking in glitter like, say, html5, gets pushed aside…

  • Kevin

    I believe part of Quora’s demise (for me, anyways) was the way in which it treated new users. While I appreciate the need for some guidelines and standardization to keep a Q&A site relevant and accurate, I don’t think you need to force users to jump through remedial hoops and teach them basic English principles.

    I also had about 20 people following me before I had done anything more than sign up. This resulted in 20 spam emails telling me about these followers, but not -why- they followed me, or why I should follow them.

    I’m now left wondering: is it too late to save the platform? Are the founders aware of the issues and working on it, or are they already planning their exit strategies and moving on?

    • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

      Kevin,

      One of the biggest issues I had with Quora was how it was/is impossible to ask a question. I’ve been a professional writer for 20 years so I know how to frame a question yet Quora keeps suggesting my grammar isn’t correct. :(

      Thanks for the comment! Mark

  • http://www.bnpositive.com/blog Bnpositive

    I agree with the your post and the comments already shared. I remember asking my first (and I believe my only) question on Quora. At first I thought the site was broken because I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Then I realized the suggestions and requirements for the grammatically correct question formation. At that, I honestly then went to look for an answer somewhere else: Yahoo Answers, ChaCha, Twitter or just a simple Google search. All of which were easier to manage and use than Quora. I’m guessing the recent discussions of similar sites being devalued by Google search puts a little extra tarnish and dust on that shiney new exterior.

  • http://www.semilshah.com Semil Shah

    Hi Mark, from my vantage point as a heavy Quora user, it is certainly far from perfect, but it is being set up as a truly foundational company and I believe it will live a very long, vibrant life. Qoora’s culture itself is a bit insular and that, some believe, will help it navigate choppy waters as it evolves. The way in which users also absorb information is so new and touching on such a cord with some, that it may never have to “scale” users as many like to predict — instead, it can focus on scaling good content. Just because the perceived hype may have died down, expect that hype to shoot back up when (1) they announce their Series B funding this year, (2) when they release their iOS mobile apps, and (3) when they start recruiting employees #20-40, many of which will be Web 2.0 superstars.

    • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

      Semil,

      Thanks for the insight. Good to hear from someone who extensively uses it. It will be interesting to see how #1 on your list emerges!

      Mark

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