Previous  |  Next


Nov 29

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Google Answers Shuts Down; Yahoo! Answers Up and Running

Last night Google announced that they are shutting down their Answers service. They don't explain why in their post, but I think that the Hitwise graph below says it all.


Yahoo! Answers, which relies on the community to answer user's questions for free, has taken off. Google Answers, which relies on vetted researchers to answer user's questions for money, has been stagnant and recently drooping in market-share. Microsoft's QnA Live has a similar model to Yahoo!, but ceded the first-mover advantage and has not caught on as quickly. I think Google realized that their model was not scaleable and that it was going to be a distractor for their engineers in the future -- better to kill it now and make room for another, better service.

What all of these companies are looking at is the success of Korea's Naver. Naver was an also-ran search engine in Korea that rose to the top after the launch of their Knowledge Search (a service which relies on the community to answer user's questions for free). Yahoo! Answers seems to have the community magic needed to make this work in the US and, like Naver, integrates the community knowledge throughout their site.

An interesting player in this space is Amazon. They have stealthily introduced two seemingly separate players in this space, Askville and NowNow (Radar post). Both aim to answer users' questions. Askville relies on the community and is free. NowNow uses Amazon's Mechanical Turk as a back-end for a small fee. One of the problems with relying on community is that some questions go unanswered; NowNow is the only system truly set-up to at least address every question.

Danny Sullivan has a great perspective on this event.

tags:   | comments: 10   | Sphere It


0 TrackBacks

TrackBack URL for this entry:

anjan bacchu   [11.29.06 02:03 PM]

hi there,

I was an existing user of google answers and I liked the service.

It would have been nice to have an equivalent payware site -- nownow is still in beta and is not taking new questions.

Does anyone here know of qualified researchers of the same quality as google answers ?

thank you,



anjan bacchu   [11.29.06 02:55 PM]

hi there,

even askville needs an invitation to join. Geez, what's with amazon ?

does anyone here have an invite for me (for amazon askville OR nownow) ? AT NOSPAM

thank you,



Greg Biggers   [11.29.06 04:29 PM]

Does anyone out there use experts-exchange anymore?

Satish   [11.29.06 04:41 PM]

I think there is some trouble in the business model of Pay for Answers scheme.
Google Answers is not the first one to die off..
Remember (By Sabeer Bhatia, creator of Hotmail) ??? It was shut-down too; The idea is a good one; but people have lots of other options to look for answers IRC, Forum etc.

brady   [11.29.06 05:20 PM]

it's true. google itself may have been the biggest blocker for google answers.

J Evans   [11.29.06 06:36 PM]

In response to Google's announcement that they are shutting down the Google Answers service, researchers have banded together to petition Google to keep GA alive. Please sign.
Keep Google Answers Alive

To: Google

The Google Answers service has helped many people during its four and a half years of existence, and it continues to do so. Researchers and unpaid commenters formed a community which should not be discarded lightly. Many repeat users were able to easily find answers to difficult questions thanks to the service. Furthermore, Google Answers proved that a living could be made working on the Internet alone, as many researchers worked on the site as their sole source of income.

We, the undersigned, believe that Google should continue to provide this valuable community service to the Internet.


The Undersigned

Search Engines Web   [11.29.06 09:34 PM]

We now know which or these services offered by The 'Big Three' ( GYM ) were the most popular....

But one big mystery still persists; Which service overall, produced the most thorough and most accurate answers?

TomH   [11.30.06 10:49 AM]

Our site ( is vertically oriented around consumer electronics; we let users ask questions and provide answers, also. The difference is that the people answering questions really know what they are talking about ... and the specific nature of the site makes for high quality questions, which is almost as important as good answers.

Bill Pardue   [12.11.06 08:48 AM]

Please keep in mind that librarians have been answering questions online for a few years now. Not only do we handle e-mail questions, but many libraries now take IM-based questions or use special chat-based "Virtual Reference" products that don't require a user to have an IM account. In some cases, libraries participate in consortia that allow 24/7 access. See this recentl blog item from the Chicago Trib:

That entry just covers Illinois, but many states have 24/7 consortia, and even more local libraries have their own service. Bernie Sloan at the University of Illinois compiled this list:

It's a touch out of date, but it's still worth a look. If your state or local system isn't listed there, check with them to see if they're participating!

--Bill Pardue

Arlington Heights Memorial Library (Illinois)

JC   [01.13.07 04:54 PM]

Yahoo! Answers now is like a game for many people. I'm a admin at OnHelp - - which is a realtime snapshot of Yahoo! Answers submissions, answers, votes, and comments using Yahoo! Answers api. Users can play Yahoo! Answers with it.

Post A Comment:

 (please be patient, comments may take awhile to post)

Remember Me?

Subscribe to this Site

Radar RSS feed