Dan Sweet

Quora vs. Namesake (Quora wins by TKO)

I’ve written glowingly about Quora before. I’ve since cut back on my Quora usage significantly. I think this is probably common and natural. I’d also “applied” for membership to Namesake.com months back, and just got invited to register today.

Quora won.

Originally the two sites had similarly strong buzz. Looking at the landscape today it looks like Namesake’s invite-only closed beta approach lost them the fight. No critical mass of users = no compelling content base = TKO. Still stumbling around, but it is obvious to everyone else you are done.

Quora is completely crushing Namesake based on my 15 min of browsing. Namesake seems like a ghost town compared to Quora. Activity levels and total membership both look low in comparison. With those initial impressions of the site, I’m not motivated to contribute. I work in finance, so lets take the Corporate Finance topic as an example. 7 people are following it and one conversation exists. The one conversation is basically this: “Demand Media’s IPO went well, don’t you think the market is overpriced?” First of all, it is the market. That is what it is worth. If you disagree, then go short it. This doesn’t sound like the place I am going to go for corporate finance advice. Additionally, if only 7 people are following the Corporate Finance topic, do I really want to start spouting my thoughts on corporate finance? I might get “endorsed” or become an “expert”, but that doesn’t jive with the real world. I know way more than 7 people at P&G that have much more sick finance skills than me. Pretending I’m a baller on the internet doesn’t seem like a value-added activity. At Quora, people throw out opinions that get vetted/validated by the crowd. You don’t need to claim any expertise to participate. Upvotes fly fast and furious to incent participation and the ranking of answers based on votes vs a chronological ordering seems to be a much more elegant and engaging solution.

It looks to me like Namesake lost this one. Worst of all, it looks like they did it to themselves with their choice of beta style. Alternatively, the alignment of their PR efforts and product readiness was just way off. That’s the only way I can explain this outcome.

Leave a Reply