Quora Review: Too Confusing To Survive?

The question-and-answer space seems to be gathering some momentum despite Google's recent address about "content farms" and the latest popular Q&A site within the search industry is Quora.

With $86 million in venture capital raised in March last year and a surge of interest, one would think the site had a good chance of success. But I've spent some time there and if Quora is to gain followers they need to make the site less confusing.

With Yahoo Answers and Facebook Questions, apart from the numerous other sites in the space, Quora needs to be more user friendly if it intends to get any significant market share. Right now it has a large number of the online marketing industry using it, but it is more of a trendy following than a true involvement.

You can login with Facebook and Twitter -- and connect to any followers who are already there, but the rest can be hard to understand.

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The site works in a social manner with follow and following similar to Twitter, plus the ability to select categories and specific topics to follow. However, the interface is confusing and not likely to get ordinary web users to use it. You get notifications when you first log in, but they show a limited number and you need to clear them for others to appear in the box on the front of your entry page.

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If the intention of the site is to be a niched Q&A for savvy marketers where they can ask questions about their space and beyond then maybe it will work. But the bigger question is: why someone would invest $86 million?

Started by former Facebook employees Charlie Cheever and Adam D'Angelo, the company has potential -- smarter minds than mine are investing -- but before they can move out of beta they need to improve the interface and how you can search for answers.

Sometimes it isn't always about the questions.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.