Everyone is starting to do it. Q&A for specific verticals is becoming de rigeur. Check out the New York Times: Q&A is now a supplement to their gadget blog. Of course it is, because it is the best way to involve your readers in something other than a free-for-all.
The NYT Q&A is an example of an advice column. You ask the expert, in this case J.D. Biersdorfer, your technical questions and he answers them. It’s just a special case of the century old agony column, such as Miss Manners or Dear Abby.
But Q&A can apply equally well the kinds of things we now use forums for. Forums are perhaps the best source of advice on the web. They are difficult to find (google doesn’t favor them), difficult to navigate (search results don’t bring you to the actual answer), and full of extraneous commentary that is hard to distinguish from the questions and the answers. The comments are fine and useful, but they have always need to be defined as commentary.
If you want the benefits of a forum without the mayhem and a better advertising platform to boot… send us an email. We’re still in limited beta but looking for interested partners.