Amazon Responds to Yahoo Answers with Askville

Amazon appears to have just relaunched Askville, a competitor of sorts to Yahoo Answers. (Askville supposedly launched last year, so this should be labeled as a relaunch.) Amazon made an announcement on Thursday that they were “launching” again. So what is Askville?

Askville is a place where you can ask any question on any topic and get real answers from real people. It’s a fun place to meet others with similar interests to you and a place where you can share what you know. You can learn something new every day or help and meet others using your knowledge. It’s new, and best of all, it’s free!

I took a look at Askville this morning and so far, I like what I see. As far as the level of conversation goes, the questions asked and answers received were pretty high quality. I searched for “digital camera below $250,” since that was the question I posed to my readers yesterday. And guess what? I got pretty much the same recommendations.

A simple explanation for better answers might be the lure of the lucre.

Amazon said users who share their knowledge by answering questions will receive Quest Gold, which will be redeemable for USD50 or USD100 Gift Cards for a limited time, while supplies last.

What I like about Askville is that it doesn’t deviate too much from Amazon’s main business: selling things to people. While you don’t need to be logged into the service to read “answers,” you do need to sign in in order to participate in community features such as voting an “answer” up, just like you would on Digg.

The only large web company that has had been successful with its “Answers” offering is Yahoo. It would be interesting to see if Amazon will succeed where others, including Google, have failed. AOL recently acquired Yedda, an Israeli startup, in order to start giving “Answers.”