Is the future of Facebook a Yelp/Yahoo Answers Hybrid?

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More and more people are using Facebook as a means of getting answers to their questions. Now, you may be asking, isn’t that what Google is for? Is this article just about people who can’t Google things for themselves?

The answer to both questions is no. Even though searches that yield forums, blogs, or more credible results are good options, they still aren’t the preferred source of information when a known, trusted party is desired for an answer.

Why use Facebook to Ask Questions?

In 2010, Yahoo Answers had 200 million users that were willing to answer practically any and all questions. However, more often than not, all of these answers come from complete strangers.

The point is, Facebook, as opposed to Yahoo Answers, allows users to get answers from people whose biases and expertise they are familiar with. Facebook users already ask questions from where the best place to go out to this weekend is, to what type of doggy toys to buy, to a host of other things that you never wanted to hear about.

So who asks for Advice on Facebook?

Although many people think of Facebook as a means of bragging about the cool things they do, analysis done by the Australian mobile provider Amaysim found that 95 percent of local Facebook users ask for advice on the social media network. According to the analysis, 41 percent of users asked for feedback on good restaurants and 32 percent inquired about the best holiday spots to visit.

Using the Facebook Questions Feature

Given this trend and the fact that Facebook has more than a whopping 900 million users, the social media network could prove a powerful competitor to Yelp or Yahoo Answers with a pseudo version of its own, which is something Google+ is already beginning to implement. However, the question still remains whether Facebook would ever go this route, even in a country like Australia where so many users are asking questions on the site.

Launched just last summer, Facebook Questions is the option provided for posting your questions to Facebook. Although relatively little used, the Facebook Questions option is located in a well know spot on the taskbar where you post your status update.

Facebook Question Feature

When posing a question, you can make it public or specify that it only be shown to only a specific list of friends, etc. You can even create poll options that allow people to select from a list of answers that you provide.

Facebook Question Feature with Poll Options

Unfortunately, the advantage that Yahoo Answers currently has over Facebook is anonymity. Until now, when your question goes public or to a group of friends, your name and profile picture go with it. Clearly, if Facebook ever wanted to be successful in dominating multiple markets like Google+ is trying to do, it will need to learn and apply from the successful companies leading those markets.


Jamie Bates
Online Marketing Director