Interview with Yahoo! Answers Q&A Competitor Blurtit

In Social Networking, Web 2.0 by Inside The Webb47 Comments

Yahoo! Answers has to be the most well-known and popular Question & Community on the web. However there is always room for improvement on apps like these, and Blurtit takes the cake. Building more of a community around the idea of the “Ask Any Question” niche, Blurtit allows users to connect like never before, searching for the most popular questions and sharing knowledge between everyone.

Chris Lee is the co-founder of Blurtit, and he’s been nice enough to take some time and answer a few questions I’ve had about the application. It’s a revolutionary way to look at using the internet, and it’s a huge step towards universal knowledge and sharing thoughts. You can read more about Chris and his work at his blog, which features some very interested topics and ideas.

For those who haven’t visited the site, what’s the point behind Blurtit and what can users do?

Blurtit.com is a Q&A website for people to ask and answer questions on any topic. Blurtit also has a strong sense of community, visitors come just looking for the answer to a question but end up making connections with other members of the site, often because they have something in common or a mutual interest.

How many users are currently using the site today? Have you seen the amount of users increasing recently, gaining more traffic to the site, etc?

In the last 12 months visits to Blurtit have grown over 200% we currently receive around 400k visits per day.

I’m sure there must be some great questions on Blurtit. What are some of the best or weirdest questions you’ve seen?

I’m not sure how weird you would really like to go!

Here are a selection of “safe for work weird” questions we have seen recently:

  • What are the greatest Bacon-related things people have created?
  • How to survive a Zombie attack?
  • Will humans ever marry robots?
  • How is it possible to catch a fish with noodles?
  • How can you tell if a bearded dragon is male or female?
  • How long until numbness goes away after brain surgery?
  • So, say there is a serial killer that strictly only kills other serial killers. Do you think if this person was caught, the should have to pay some sort of consequence?
  • How do I steal a girlfriend from someone with minimal damage?
  • I suspect my girlfriend is a Zombie, how can I tell?
  • How can I break my leg?

We have a section on Blurtit for our very best questions and answers: http://www.blurtit.com/Best_of_Blurtit

Chris's Blurtit Profile

Blurtit not only has a great scheme behind it, but the design is also remarkable and easy to use. Did you come up with the design, or was it someone else working on the site?

The design has really evolved over many different iterations but the most recent version was created by Henry Jones.

Yahoo! Answers is a service very similar to Blurtit, and run by Yahoo! They gain a lot of traffic to their questions. How do you see Blurtit compared to Y! Answers?

Blurtit is different from Yahoo answers in many ways. The key differences being:

  • You can ask or answer questions on without registering.
  • Blurtit is in part Moderated by its members.
  • Blurtit has many of the features of a social network which has led a strong sense of community.

Have you tried monetizing Blurtit at all? I have seen a few AdSense blocks on the site, but can you see bringing in enough traffic to make a profit from the website?

Blurtit makes a healthy profit and has done for a number of years. Blurtit makes revenue from advertisements and advertising space the majority of which are only visible to non members.

Yahoo! Answers Screenshot

Do you have any new ideas or features you plan on releasing onto Blurtit soon?

We have lots of plans for Blurtit in progress – we are constantly developing new and updated features. We monitor what is happening on the site and amend features when we need to. We have many plans for this year so keep visiting the site!

The user profile and scoring system is also very intricate. How does the point system work on the site?

We recently did some work on simplifying the point system. I think its pretty easy to understand now, basically you receive 10 points for answering a question and 5 points for signing in each day. You can also receive points for a few other activities such as inviting a friend see http://www.blurtit.com/using_blurtit/points_and_levels for more details.

Each day we also reward the member who has answered the most questions overall and members who have been the most active in each category with bonus points.

Along with Blurtit, what other websites do you go to online to hang out and have fun?

Facebook Icon I use the usual social networking sites – Facebook, Twitter and I have a blog (chriswrites.com) which I post to regularly. I am also a regular reader of Techcrunch, New Scientist and Wired.

Have you learned anything interesting or useful to you by browsing Blurtit?

Certainly I have learned all kind of things ranging from the everyday useful like: What Is The Difference Between Biological And Non-biological Washing Powder to the downright bizarre: What Barophobia is

What is the most useful, greatest lesson or idea you’ve learned from launching and working on Blurtit?

That everything is subject to improvement. We receive a lot of ideas and feedback from our users and although we believe the service we offer is great, it is always a good way to pull us back to earth by reading suggestions and recommendations from our users on how to improve what we do.

Cheers!

Comments

  1. I tend to visit Y! Answers a lot for personal and business purposes. I’m also starting to see other sites come up with their own “answers type section” so hopefully blurtit can stand out from the pack.

  2. Pingback: Interview with Yahoo! Answers Q&A Competitor Blurtit | Inside the Webb | ChrisWrites dot com

  3. thats great Robert, we look forward to seeing your posts on Blurtit soon. I am sure you will find it a great experience.

  4. blurt doesnt have 1 percent of yahoo answer community, so there for caching up with yahoo answer is only dream that will never come true, any i tend to like site like askgetanswer.com because anyone guest or a memeber can ask but memeber can make one thier answers.

  5. Nice feature, but having used Blurtit a few times it seems a like a poor copy of Yahoo answers or other Q&A like sites in that most of the answers on the site are inaccurate and meaningless.

  6. Easy procedure without realization 【 safe gift 】 examination of shopping frame (card credit card). Interest rate none by unnecessary coming to a store for the whole country. To the people who think about the financing by the borrowing unification etc. of money. It is possible to cut of interest rate of 20%?29.2% if it is refunding from consumer credit

  7. I like Blurtit better than Yahoo answers , I have been on
    Yahoo answers and I just dont like the set up
    I think Blurtits got a good set up for people
    I wish Blurtit would give people the option of Blurtit Instant
    Messenger Instead of Shout Outs , I just feel shout outs
    Are not that private And can viewed by anyone on your
    Friends list like if I send someone a shout out and they
    Got a 100 friends , All their friends can see are conversations
    Not that anything wrong is being said
    Big Dude recently posted…What Is Egypts Annual Rainfall In InchesMy Profile

  8. I was with the Blurtit American domain for a time but found it to be rapidly degenerating into a mostly inane chatroom. The fallacies inherent in moderation are magnified on that site; largely because of non-specialization of the site content, the abillity to find site-endorse moderators of sufficient skill-set and writing-comprehension aptitude is severely limited – with the result that an inordinate number of best answers (often the only accurate answers) are rejected in favor of non-anwers or even inane answers; in fact one risks banishment by providing answers of high intellectual content and perceptivity, but which go against the grain of “majority” answers which are, in many instances, merely guessword, and as oftern as not incorrect; or which are written in standard English as opposed to casual speak English. The so called user moderation is also a major problem in that it, too, tends to favor easily-understood, or sought-after, incorrect answers over accurate answers. When a “complaint” about an Answer, or Question, is reported by a member at large, the judgment by Site- approved moderators is not atypically based not on the validity of the post but, rather, on what seems to be a perceived need to mollify and/or patronize the complainer. The site seems in constant need of new, unpaid volunteers to serve as site moderators, but with the result that more and more moderators with lesser and lesser skill are “employed.” This is due in part to the fact that frequency of posting and hours online is the sole determiner of moderator qualification, but not quality of (moderator candidate’s) posted Questions or Answers. A nexus between moderator selection and the points “reward”/enticement features further exposes the flawed nature of the Blurtit moderation approach. First one notices a very large gap between just few top scorers and all the rest posting on the site; as one submits posts, one notices large jumps in current ranking by the mere increment of a single post–the clear inference being, that a large majority of all postings are being contributed by only a handful of participants, the same which are consistently almost beating out one daily winner who far surpassed any other player; and one who also scores more points than is reasonably possible without some special advantage such as having assistance . . . in addition to posting significant numbers of short shrift, even inaccurate or misinformed, answers. (But, so much for the misuses of the scoring system as most “players” do not participate and many state that they do not find it credible). Now, it so happens that not only are there only a few high scorers giving answers of good to dubius quality, but that among these (if not all of these) are site contributors who are also moderators. So you have a situation in which moderators are trying both to answer as many questions as possible as rapidly as possible as well as to mediate complaints and perform Q & A screenings (in other words, to “dispose” of moderation items and or Question reply attempts) as quickly as possible. As a result of this, there is a growing level of dissatisfaction among enrollees on the site as people increasingly find their postings censored for no apparent valid reason; or find their logon credentials deleted arbitrarily.

    Another deficiency one encounters is editing features–and the ones available are quite rudimentary even when they work–which operate only sporadically or not at all. Some are there without any explanation or ostensible purpose. The spelling checker has a high rate of missed words, and includes a word offer feature which, on the rare occasion it does work, misconstrues words or fails to offer the most obvious word choices. In addition are the inordinately high rate of postings that are simply lost by the service: one posts, a blank page is returned; one must write over again or be content to have wasted ones time and effort. (It would seem there is no wonder the substantial rate of posters publicly saying, “Bye Bye,” on the site. Even after a significant interval since startup, the site seems quite a ways off from ironing out all the problems, including conceptual problems.

    A final problem (among others mentioned and unmentioned), is due to the mixing of child and adolescent with adult participation, the derogatory effects of which are many. For one, adults must contend with a site in which are posted a majority of kid talk posts ranging from teeny bopper idol to talk-nasty-for-the-sake-of-nasty content. Additionally, much of the child pap posted gets a pass from any moderation at all; and it is quite noticeable that many kid or adult kid posters attempt to see just how offensive or obnoxious a post can be and still not be “disapproved.” Or the kids will simply complain about valid or superlative answers that go over their heads or do not take the from of kid-to-kid chat. This writer has made suggestion to the site as to how that fundamental defect of the site and of site moderation could be addressed, but it is doubtful that Blurtit “management” will take heed.

    Finally, one of the most noticeably things of late with the site, is the rapidly diminising number of sensible (other than child chat) questions being posted. This would suggest that Blurtit’s rise has been mostly due to its novelty (and attraction to chat fun) features. So the question really is, whether the site will be able to correct the flaws as well as introduce new novely ideas fast enough to prevent what seems to be an inevitable loss of interest in the site.

  9. I went back and checked the “best of Blurtit” link provided by the interfiewee. One does not need to go past the item about defining recession to get an idea about the quality of of answers one is more likely than not to receive. Of the two answers exhibited as best (as judged by blurtit), both give clear evidence of respondents’ whose knowledge of the subject matter ranges from “popularly superficial” to essentially non-existent. A lot of word pointedly calculated to cover up lack of actual knowlledge or experience. Neither would score a grade higher than C- in most accredited introductory economics courses. “A recession has the same (incorrect) causes as a depression only not so much” Hah!

  10. I recently was suspended I feel unnecessarily. Someone asked the question what did people know about t he Catholic Church..I answered historically correct answers, I had no intention to cause any problems. I feel if people dont want straight direct answers they should not ask them especially when t he person answering them knows a lot about it. I fell Yahoo profile religions on Religion and Spirituality as do a lot of users. I want to be reinstated but cant get in touch with them I have been a long time user for the educational value..I see so many nasty questions that get turned in as abuse and yahoo puts them back out. One question had t o do with the size of a male in bible times..Surly your kidding. What education value is that.The let it slide even though it was reported. If You would look I have been a member along time..Who do I contact..They seem to be an invisible company

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