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Quora - Is the Knowledge Crowdsourcing Website the Next Big Thing?

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Quora is a social networking website with a difference. It is a combination of Wikipedia and Facebook. The website allows people to post questions on any topic and get answers from the experts in that field. Till recently it was mostly used by people in the IT field, especially those in Silicon Valley. So it became more of a networking forum and a way to increase one's own visibility among potential venture capitalists for startups. For some users, the site is a way to highlight their resume by giving out detailed answers to show their skills.

In fact, most of the questions seem to revolve around startups, which is among the most popular categories on the site. This is one of the site's main drawbacks. It has a very narrow focus and hardly covers matters that are not connected to Silicon Valley in some way. Quora's challenge is to expand on to other fields without alienating its original user base and to keep the quality of its answers high. Right now, several Silicon Valley executives answer the questions, disclosing their full name and a short job profile. This has resulted in the site having a high creditability among its followers.

The question and answer site has questions such as ''In the Dark Knight, why did Batman and Gordon decide to blame Batman for Two-Face's rampage, rather than blame the Joker?'' as well as the more serious ones such as ''What is Sequoia Capital's success rate?''. The site allows users to rank up or down the answers. Some users who were using Quora as if it were a Twitter clone found their answers voted down and eventually being expelled from the site. This crowd filtering on Quora's behalf ensures that the answers that are seen on the site are relevant.



Quora was founded in June 2009 and made available to the public since June 2010. Its founders are Adam D'Angelo and Charlie Cheever. Adam has severed as Chief Technology Officer for Facebook for two years and Charlie is also a former Facebook employee. Both the founders are active on Quora. Quora has certainly caught the imagination of Silicon Valley venture capitalists. In February 2011, there was talk that the company had turned down offers up to the tune of $300 million. 2010 was considered the Year of Facebook. Will 2011 become the Year of Quora?
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