Thursday, December 08, 2005

Riddle me this...

Yahoo launches Answers. (gotta give props to Jason_Steinhorn for the update). Another take on user generated content (competing with Fremont and Base) which is actually pretty damn cool. I don't see any folksonomy here, but Yahoo Answers integrates some of Digg's features, with users voting for answers which surface to the top. It's a reverse take on Google Base's approach, and honestly I think it's a better strategy. eBay learned a while ago that ultimately demand drives supply. Bring the buyers and the sellers will come. The reverse doesn't work as well when there's alternative channels for supply available.

Google Base's initial take is trying to drive supply before linking in demand. The system works great if there's massive usage. Listings on Base, however, have hovered in the 12-17MM range the past several weeks. In addition, without the social networking angle, there's no driving reason to return to the site if supply is limited. Yahoo Answers' integration of social networking, participation points and usage levels help drive increased response rates. Ultimately all those answers deliver what Base is targeting, a rich database of searchable user-generated content. All that said, the lack of folksonomy is an issue. Probably something that was cut out in the rush to launch...


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