A couple of weeks ago I spoke about the benefits of the new Yahoo Answers search facility as an internet marketing solution. YA search allows you to search via keywords related to your industry and get a daily notification email so you can be reactive. Yahoo Answers announced it had reached 200m users in 2009, and they probably thought they had the whole Q&A thing locked down, that was until Facebook unravelled their latest plans.

With 500m people already using Facebook, the new Facebook Questions facility could make Yahoo Answers look a little shy on followers. Then again, as internet marketing companies know all too well, quality beats quantity every time. It’s all good having 500m potential users, but just how many of those users will ditch a game of Poker or Farmville or even an IM to ask a question on Facebook?

When Facebook Questions is rolled out to users the question facility will be on the wall page as follows:

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As you can see, “your question will be visible to everyone”. This is a smart tactic to ensure people know the facility is there and that others are using it. Facebook automatically tags the question using words from your post. Your question is then freely available for the community to answer

Once the question has been posted you have three options that only show up after the initial question has been posted:

  • Add description
  • Add photo
  • Add poll options

This adds another internet marketing solution to the armoury of SEO soldiers. This facility will work nicely as a freebie alongside Facebook PPC. No doubt internet marketing companies will be focussing heavily on this feature over the coming months to monitor its performance against Yahoo Answers.

Obviously the social aspect of Facebook is where it has a distinct advantage over rivals. Okay, Yahoo does have a friends’ network but the familiar “x has just answered a question”, or, “x has just asked a question”, will promote interaction amongst friends and drive the popularity of the Facebook Questions facility.

The question herein lies, do we as the consumer want a one size fits all website, or do we like having different pockets for different activities. Personally I feel the latter suits my personality. Facebook for global friendship updates, questions at Yahoo, analytics at Google and videos at YouTube. What do you think?

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