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There’s been a flurry of activity and attention around the rapidly growing question and answer site, Quora, and this week it hit the mainstream media.

For anyone who’s missed the news, here’s a brief introduction, and some of the opportunities and risks that we have identified:

What is it?

In their own words, “Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.” It is a combination of conversation, information and question forum: think Yahoo answers meets Twitter, with a Wikipedia like information page at the end.

How does it work?

Quora users follow topics, people and questions. They are able to add answers and edit existing answers, as well as rate those that have been provided by others. Accuracy is ensured by the biography that is provided by the users and the expertise that they bring to the topic, as well as the self-regulating nature of the site: inaccurate information can be commented on or rated by other users.

What does it mean to brands?

Quora aims to create “question pages” which bring together all the most relevant information relating to a particular questions.  These pages will provide content about the brand, derived from answers given by the Quora community.

This provides a number of risks and opportunities for brands, including:

  • Insight into questions/needs relating to the brand /product
  • Opportunity to engage in conversations relating to the product
  • Opportunity to identify brand advocates, experts and influencers.
  • Community-generated content and conversation about product/brand

Initial research suggests that Google is pulling in information from Quora. This could impact brand’s position in search ratings, as well as sales deriving from recommendation or consumer opinion.

The popularity of Q and A forums on the internet suggests that Quora will be one to watch in 2011. Signing up is through Facebook or Twitter profiles, and we’d recommend that you have a look.

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