Under pressure to grow, Quora moves into the publishing blogs

Jan 24 2013, 09:24 IST
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SummaryOnce-red hot question-and-answer startup Quora.com will launch a blogging platform.

but dismissed the notion that the 50-person, Mountain View, California-based startup was under any pressure.

"We know we're going to need to make money and we do have some intriguing ideas around that," Bodnick said. He added that the ideas were "advertising-oriented" but did not elaborate.

"We're really just getting bigger right now and not focused on monetizing," he said. "We're fine. Our investors are super supportive of the approach we're taking."

Although it has been widely praised for the quality of its user contributions - former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has volunteered thoughts on the Japanese economic malaise, for instance - there is a sense that part of what has hampered Quora's geeky reputation has hampered its mainstream adoption.

"We have a marketing challenge because our content is actually pretty diverse," Bodnick said.

The company thinks there is no reason why it cannot be a thoughtful forum for discussing both the subtler points of software programming and, say, the comparative qualities of NBA big men or pop divas.

Compared to the site's early days, when it attracted mostly Silicon Valley digerati who discussed the Valley's work culture or startup financing, less than 10 percent of the site's answers today are written by users from California, Bodnick said, adding that film and food are also some of the most popular among the site's 300,000 discussion topics.

To showcase its variety, Quora recently published a hardcover collection of its best writing from the past two years. The volume included candid responses to questions ranging from "How do actors' spouses feel about love scenes in film and TV?" to "What does the first day of 5+ year prison sentence feel like?" to "If I want to look smart, what do I need to know about the Higgs Boson discovery?"

Bodnick argued that Quora should be enticing to would-be bloggers because it could direct a large number of readers to a single, well-written post almost instantly.

"After two years, we can now deliver audiences at scale," Bodnick said.

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