Amazon Askville: Real questions, Real Answers, Real book sales

ImageWhen Amazon sent us an email inviting to beta test their start-up site Askville, we were intrigued. The tag line on the Askville site is “Ask a question, get real answers from real people”.

Askville is not Yahoo Answers, or what was Google Answers. These are people asking every day questions “What accessories do I need for camping?”, “When people say Roger Wilco, what does the Wilco mean?” (it means Will comply!). It is a site you would go to if you had a random question to ask, and were willing to rely on the wisdom of the crowds. At this point, questions on Amazon’s Askville are getting around 5 answers each.

ImageTo ask a question, you need to login in with your Amazon account info. Then there is an additional level of verification where a code gets sent to your phone. You have to use the code to access the system.

Questions stay open for 7 days. Users who answer, advance to the higher levels, based upon their expertise. The best answer to every question gets a red ribbon. Those who answer get paid via Quest Coins, whose value is yet to be determined on a currency exchange. The site promises that ultimately it will be possible to exchange Quest coins on the Questville.com website, for goodies.

For Amazon, Askville is not just a do-good site. At the end of each set of answers to the myriad of questions is, as you might guess, a list of recommended books to read, which, surprise surprise, can be found on Amazon!

The marketing play is very clever. This is similar to context sensitive Ad Sense ads from Google, except the product and the ads are both Amazon’s. And the content is all user generated.

Hats off to you Amazon! You found yet another way to remind us to read!

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