The demise of Google Answers was officially announced here but visit Danny Sullivan for some traffic statistics and analysis. Like Danny, I’ve been dubious of these Web “question and answer” services, but Yahoo has clearly found the right approach – free and social:
But in June, I had to admit that my being dubious in terms of Yahoo Answers was off the mark. The service kept notching up tons of traffic, and Yahoo continues to put its weight behind it, to the point of even more integration last week of Yahoo Answers material into regular results.
Look Out Wikipedia, Here Comes Yahoo Answers! from me is my long look at the service and some of the factors in its success. Unlike Google Answers, it doesn’t charge. And unlike Google Answers, there are a lot of “answers” that are more discussions happening rather than searches being fulfilled.
Even if there’s a lot of chatting going on, I think there’s no denying that Yahoo Answers turned into the social success that Yahoo hoped its 360 service or My Web would be. There’s a entire active community taking part in Yahoo Answers, and some of those are going to translate into Yahoo searchers.
That action’s not lost on Microsoft, which kicked off its Windows Live QnA service in August. I haven’t seen a ton of buzz like with Yahoo coming out of it, so maybe lighting only strikes once, in this case.
I mentioned the August Windows Live QnA launch here. In terms of traffic, the QnA team clearly has their work cut out for them since according to the latest Hitwise numbers shown by Sullivan, QnA has less than half the traffic of Google Answers which has only about 4% the traffic of Yahoo Answers. As for Google, maybe they’re learning when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.