Yahoo! Answers the ‘YouTube’ of Q&A

How’s that for a confusing headline? Hitwise’s LeeAnn Prescott did a traffic analysis of the various “Q&A” engines and found that Yahoo! Answers had a whopping 96% market share:

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This was prompted by a Search Engine Land post pointing to an informal MIT analysis competitively scoring these various sites:

  1. Yahoo Answers (11 points)
  2. Live QnA (7 points)
  3. Askville (6 points)
  4. AnswerBag (4 points)
  5. Wondir (4 points)
  6. Yedda Answers (4 points)

I want to say a couple of things. First, this “answers” open-ended Q&A functionality will become much more widespread on sites that have community and user-generated content, which is to say most sites these days. Second, Yahoo!’s content and user critical mass in the segment have made it the clear winner — the “YouTube of Q&A” if you will.

While Answers hasn’t paid the search-market-share dividends Yahoo! hoped it would, perhaps it will over the longer term.

While most online segments have anywhere from five to 10 or more major competitors, clear winners (at least for the time being) are emerging in selected areas. In general search it’s Google. In video it’s YouTube (CNET cites YouTube’s dominance in the decision of Guba CEO Thomas McInerney to step down). In maps it’s MapQuest (longevity, brand and trust are the story here.) And now in “answers” it’s, well, Answers.

Other segments such as real estate, jobs, cars, shopping, classifieds, local, etc. don’t have such dominant destinations — at least not yet.

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