“Ask a question, get real answers from real people,” Amazon touts at its new Askville, “a better place for you to ask, answer, meet, and play!”
Beta launched last month, Amazon’s Askville is a new competitive entrant to Yahoo Answers, which celebrated its one year anniversary last month (see “Yahoo Answers, still”). Google recently closed down its Google Answers service (see “Yahoo Answers, not Google”).
Yahoo CEO Terry Semel underscored Yahoo Answers traction in his Q3 conference:
Answers surpassed 60 million unique users, monthly users, and 120 million answers worldwide just 10 months after it launched, and is now available in 18 countries and nine languages.
Amazon describes Askville as a “place where you can share and discuss knowledge with other people by asking and answering questions on any topic”:
It’s a fun place to meet others with similar interests to you and a place where you can share what you know. You can learn something new everyday or help and meet others using your knowledge.
Amazon has integrated a rating and rewards system using “Experience Points” to gauge “knowledge” and “Quest Coins” virtual currency to “compensate” participation. An affiliate site, Questville.com, is slated to launch later in the year as a vehicle for redeeming “Quest Coins.”
“Experience Points” and “Quest Coins” will not be easily gained. Askville FAQ presents pages of explanations, rules and regulations for the schemes and puts forth vague rating criteria, excerpt below.
One of the activities Amazon is rewarding is the use of widgets in answer development:
We have provided some useful tools/widgets for you to use to help build great answers. These widgets allow you to embed useful content from other websites as part of your answer.
Video Widget; youtube.com, google video, and bolt.com.
Amazon Products; add any product that is on Amazon.com.
Google Maps; allows user to display a map of a location as part of their answer.
Among the Askville questions currently showcased:
"How do I find something on Amazon that ships FROM Amazon, at Super Saver free rate, and costs under $2.00?"