Mark Briggs (@markbriggs) sent me a post from PaidContent today about Yahoo Answers rolling out “Neighborhoods” – basically their Q&A service broken into neighborhoods. Yahoo Answers is a phenomenally successful site from a traffic standpoint being one of the most popular on the web.
But as I’ve said before, national Q&A is of limited value since people want local answers from local people – and I assume the” neighborhood” makes advertising opportunities all the better. After all people are in a neighborhoods asking questions – what better audience could you have?
I still think Yahoo is falling short of the mark because they are not representing actual communities. Communities convene around existing websites where they get their local news or shop or follow their hobbies or do their work. The Q&A should be based around that community. It’s not just locale that matters, it’s common interests and common values.
They also fall short because they continue to try and take people away from their local sites. They are essentially building a Walmart in your neighborhood. It made sense with something like Craigslist or Job Listings because fragmentation of this information was detrimental. You want to know all the jobs in your areas, not just those at a given site. But when it comes to Q&A the closer you get to the people in your community the better the answers. Consolidating them just adds noise. It’s not just WHAT someone says, it’s WHO is saying it.
Q&A should be on local shops. They are the local grocery store and hobby shop where you meet people and ask them what they think. They are the hobby conventions and the work groups you see at conferences.