I had not heard any news about Amazon’s Askville question and answer service since it’s launch on December 8, 2006. However, just yesterday I received an email from Amazon inviting me to try out there new service.
So I went and took a brief look at the service. It does seem to get some real traffic. Most of the questions present on their Featured Answers page had an average of 5 answers. Note that on Yahoo! Answers the average question (not just the featured questions) gets 7. But that’s a tough mountain to climb anyway, due to the phenomenal success of Yahoo! Answers.
Some interesting things stood out – First, you don’t get to see other users answers until “all users are done answering”. Interesting. Prevents some of the answer cheating you see on other sites which are more open. The other interesting thing is that Amazon is guaranteeing that every question will get answered, and will even pay people to answer the questions if the natural audience of the site doesn’t get it done.
They are chasing Yahoo! Answers though, and that audience is so much larger, it’s hard to see how anyone else can get a real solid foothold.