Often times, the Internet is used for answering questions. A user goes to their search engine of choice, types in a question, and receives links that may direct them to the answer. Using this method doesn’t always work though, and so where is someone to go when they need an answer to a question? It doesn’t always take a professional expert to get an answer that you’re looking for, and so turning to a dedicated “answers” site is a often times a good solution. There are several answers sites out there, and most of them work by users submitting their questions and other users answering them. Today we’re taking a look at five different places you can go to find answers to your questions.
Yahoo Answers (link)
The first answer site that came to mind is Yahoo, because it’s actually my answer site of choice. I’ve never been one to ask or answer a question there, but I do browse through the topics that have been submitted and the answers that users have offered. You’d be amazed by how much you can learn. They originally started in 2005 and now they currently have over 500 million different answers available on the site. There’s a wealth of information that can be learned there!
Before writing this, I hadn’t heard of Askville which was started by Amazon.com and opened to the public in late 2006. Just like Yahoo, it’s a place where the public can go to ask questions, answer, or discover. To help out with credibility, users can either gain or lose “experience points.” People are able to rate the answers that have been given, and eventually one answer is officially rated as “the best” based upon a five-star system.
Google Answers (link)
If Yahoo has an answers service, of course Google has to have one, right? Actually, Google came out with theirs first and Yahoo followed, but Yahoo’s has been much more successful. Google answers originally launched in 2002, but by November of 2006, Google had decided to permanently shut it down. It was quite a bit different from Yahoo in that whoever was asking the question would pay someone to get the answer or perform a search. The person asking the question would offer a price to get the job done and Google Answers Researchers found answers. While new questions can’t be submitted, they still make the archive of questions that had been asked and answered available to the public. Rumor has it that Google is even planning on bringing it back, but perhaps with a different business model.
While I wouldn’t say Answers.com is the easiest site to navigate, they do have millions of topics available. Yahoo is the most popular answer service out there, but Answers.com comes in a close second. What’s nice with Answers.com is that if you go to ask a question, you will be directed to WikiAnswers (owned by Answers.com). If the question you submit has been asked before, you will be directed to the page that has a list of questions that have been asked previously that are related and you can see if there’s one that answers your question. Overall, Answers.com tends to be for the more practical questions.
WikiAnswers is owned by Answers.com and provides a place where you can enter in your own question and have people respond. Those who respond aren’t experts, per say, they’re just people who want to contribute. As their logo says, it’s Q&A the Wiki way! Did you know that WikiAnswers used to be FAQ Farm until it was acquired in 2006? The mission of the site is “to enable anyone, anywhere, to ask a question on any topic in their own words and get a cooperatively written human answer.”