Is Quora the new Google?

If everything goes well,
Quora might be what shows on Google when you enter a question in the search box. And on Bing. And on Yahoo.

Important note: Google has been working on their solution of semantic search, the Knowledge Graph, for years. Others, like Bing, are working on semantic search, too. Quora has the potential to fit right in. In the web world of tomorrow (and yesterday, actually) what we need are answers, not search results. If Quora SEOs the heck out of this website, that might just be their largest benefit. And yes, that might also make it a Wikipedia alternative. But to get to that point, it will have to diversify its portfolio of topics and answers far more than it has to date.

So no, there is no David vs. Goliath question here, and Quora is not the new Google. There is more of a David-in-symbiosis-with-Goliath-thing starting to emerge…

See the answer on Quora:

Is Quora the new Google?

Why create an application inside Facebook?

There are multiple benefits. I'll give you two very good reasons for building an app for your site:

– You can integrate your website/web experience into the Facebook chrome, enabling your users to use your service without leaving the Facebook environment at all, which some might prefer.
– You can enable your users to directly interact with other unknown Facebook users, if your service is for example a game, without having to apply your own technology.
– You get ranked among the other apps, which will give you the possibility of reaching a higher visibility for your service.

Benefits that come with the Facebook API as well as Apps:
– You can let your customers 'x' something on your website/in your web service, for example you can let them 'wow' a piece of clothing in your online shop, resulting in posts like 'Miranda wows the D&G summer dress on Shoplife'. This gives you much greater flexibility in expressing brand experiences and helps you drive the effects of your marketing efforts further.

– You can integrate automatic sharing into your website/service, meaning that users automatically share their activities on your site to their timeline, like reading an article or listening to a song or buying a book. Take a look at Spotify and the Huffington post for two excellent examples on how to use this function. This, among others, means that friends of your customers will automatically discover your site and its content. The effects on the virality of your content can be enormous.

There is a great ZDNet news article detailing some of the best practices for social news sites (scroll to the bottom of the article for convenience). Some of them are applicable for other purposes, too:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebo…

*Please excuse iPhone formatting. 

See the answer on Quora:

Why create an application inside Facebook?

What would be a good marketing strategy for Quora?

Disclaimer: As usual, I will overstep the boundaries of marketing and get into product development/product management ideas. It is my nature as a Creative Strategist.

I’d say, at this point (at which I see the company at the cusp of a huge step in growth, securing the position at the top of Q&A/deep knowledge services):

Branding:
–  a great tagline, serious but ready for popular culture (see my recent post on that),
– lots of testimonials by well-known and really smart gals and guys to fortify the brand’s share of mind and market ownership (not just from the tech industry, but also from the corners of knowledge that Quora still has a lot of growth potential in) (testimonials work without directly using blunt advertising, trust and/or ask me)

Performance Marketing:
– SEO, concentrating on becoming the first and most prominent source of answers (watch out, Quora, Google is just behing you hitting the throttle right now),
– Social Media Marketing: wiring Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, blogging platforms and even Klout into/even deeper into the platform, encouraging users to auto-share their contributions to their timelines and profiles (with incentives),
– refininement of the Credits system (by crowd sharing, of course, but also by using – surprise – behavioral economics)
– refinement of the notification system in the same way (except from using behavioral economics)

PR:
– turning to blogs as multiplicators by supporting bloggers PR-wise
– supporting official institutions (governmental and ngo) in adding their Q&As to Quora, offering exclusive claim of and non-exclusive support and control over vanity URLs à la quora.com/doh (department of health) or quora.com/greenpeace
– same for companies, although here, a strong emphasis here should be put on maintaining information neutrality (e.g. no control for companies over the contributions of users, as opposed to Facebook)

This list is by no means complete and will be added to over time.

*Please excuse iPhone formatting.

See the answer on Quora:

What would be a good marketing strategy for Quora?

Will Facebook’s Job Board compete with or threaten LinkedIn?

Yes, it will.

EDIT: After reading Anon User's answer I have included a statement about sharing private data in relation to business purposes.

Let's see what makes LinkedIN:
– job listings
– profiles
– a big user base
– updates/a news feed

LinkedIN is a specialized social network, rather than a job board – no one would argue with that fact. Facebook is a universal social network platform, offering first and third party services.

Look at the services Facebook duplicated/acquired, like photo sharing, and you know where I am going: If a business model that runs on social platform technology is successful enough, Facebook will try to eat that cake. Since it cannot acquire LinkedIN, it duplicates its service. Because there are already successful services in the career business running as an app on Facebook, the step seems only more logical.

The publication of personal data is has already transformed our private lives. It's a fact that today more people than ever share more private data than ever with their relatives and friends online. The second transition is also in full fledge: We (meaning the people in general) have already begun to share more and more of our private data with strangers, colleagues, friends of friends and other distant people. Many people even go so far as to friend all of their colleagues and publicize their whole Timeline. Since releasing private data is becoming more and more common, it is only a question of time until this development will reach the business lives of most people. It might take longer for some business areas than others, but it has already started, is spreading fast and will continue to spread.

Recent development shows that Facebook is not just competing with job board internet services. Wired correspondent makes a pretty good point in his June 2012 Article "The Facebook Juggernaut" (http://wrdm.ag/K5WrOV) that Facebook is again becoming more and more of a a closed platform like the early AOL and the like. With more and more links being rewired to Facebook apps rather than the respective websites, Facebook is making it harder and more and more unnevessary for its users to leave the platform, thus forcing/driving 'engagement'.

The pressure to deliver higher each and every quarter that Facebook's shareholders apply is unstoppable. It has to grow to survive.

See the answer on Quora:

Will Facebook's Job Board compete with or threaten LinkedIn?

Does Facebook Slow Down its Growth on Purpose?

This is the finishing line. With only a couple of weeks to go until its massive IPO, all eyes are on Facebook. A potential valuation of $100 Billion within their reach, the stakes are high. Yesterday, in what will be its final financial statement before its IPO, the bad news broke: Facebook’s revenue and profit have declined from the past quarter, whith the former down 6% and the latter down a staggering 32%.

Why, you could ask, does something like that happen to a company as successful as Facebook? Actually, with their eyes on the prize, they could have easily avoided these numbers. I think their growth has been slowed down on purpose. Let me tell you the two reasons why:

Facebook needs to prepare itself for the hard times ahead of it

After its IPO, Facebook will have to focus on revenue and profits more than ever before. In fact, it will have to focus on revenue and profits even more than on innovation. When it shifts from being a privately owned to being a publicly traded company, it will be highly dependant on its valuation, which is driven by revenue and profits. As Felix Salmon described in his brilliant Wired article “For High Tech Companies, Going Public Sucks”, an IPO brings more than fresh cash into your company. It also makes your company subject to being traded via classic stock trading, options trading and even high frequency trading. Most of the people trading stock (actually, there are already more machines than people) look at the numbers, that’s all. Investments reduce profits, as we have seen with Facebook. Shrinking profits can reduce your stock market valuation. And when you are a publicly traded company, that is the one thing you want to prevent.

In the past couple of months, Facebook has, among others, bought 650 patents from Microsoft for $550 million and spent a whopping $1 Billion on the purchase of Instagram, the famous photo sharing community. The patents will help Facebook arm itself against patent related legal attacks by other companies, an issue commonly referred to as ‘The Patent Wars’ in the tech sector. In fact, Facebook is in the midst of a patent dispute with Yahoo at the moment, and has already bought 750 patents from IBM last month. The alleged reasons for the purchase of Instagram, although Facebook never officialy commented on the issue, span from acquiring the user base to securing more quality user generated content (UGC) to buying one of the best teams in the industry. After all, Facebook’s spendings were an investment into its future, long term growth. Something not too popular among most stock traders and trading machines nowadays. Investing in its long term growth is a very good reason for the acquisitiongs, though. But there is another reason why Facebook might have wanted its growth to slow down ahead of its IPO.

Facebook needs to keep expectations low

What is the second worst thing for a publicly traded company? High expectations. If publicly traded company misses to fulfill the growth expectations of their shareholders, that often causes severe damage to their valuation. Since the stockholders expect companies to exceeed or at least meet their expectations, stock companies are always interested in keeping those expectations low. For Facebook, the company that exceeded every single professionally stated expectation of user base growth since its founding (except for Mark Zuckerberg’s own ‘1 Billion users’ goal, but that will only be a matter of time), the little hickups in its user base growth which recently occurred are no longer sufficient to lower stockholder expectations. Facebook is ubiquitous, everybody knows that, and – at least for now – is neither able to collapse nor could it be taken down by other players in the market. The only sustainable way of lowering the growth expectations of stockholders is to increase its spendings, which is what Facebook effectively did.

Facebook’s IPO is an unprecedented event. Nobody can forecast its outcome. All we can see from here is that Facebook has been very smart in securing its future growth and base for innovation after day X.