Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

InboxQ Inverts Twitter Q&A Product to Help People Find Experts

InboxQ will today launch a Q&A site that directs users to experts who might be able to answer their questions, and then gets out of the way.

The company, which was previously called Answerly and which has made various online Q&A products over the last two years, has now moved its focus to figuring out who expert tweeters are and helping other Twitter users find them.

InboxQ co-founder CEO Joe Fahrner called the new InboxQ Profile tool the inverse of his company’s previous product, which helped companies find tweeted questions about their products.

It does seem logical that people with questions are easier to come by than people who want to install a browser extension to go answer other people’s tweeted questions.

Some 100,000 questions are asked per day on Twitter, with the majority of them going unanswered, according to InboxQ. (Maybe some of them are rhetorical?) With the new tool, users can find others who are qualified to answer their questions and compose @mentions to ask them directly on Twitter.

The top categories of questions asked on Twitter are product advice, tech support and local recommendations, according to Fahrner. His team of five has worked to identify one million subject experts — see for instance the InboxQ listings for Amazon AWS and Bikram yoga.

A start-up called PeerPong recently tried to do something very similar, but ended up shutting down and being talent-acquired by Formspring. Fahrner contended that PeerPong was too much of a black box — it took user questions into its system and then tweeted them via company accounts to identified experts. By contrast, InboxQ connects the questioner and answerer, and then let’s things happen from there.

San Francisco-based InboxQ was a Y Combinator start-up, and raised angel funding a year ago from investors including SoftTech VC, Lowercase Capital and Trinity Ventures.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik