Reid Hoffman reminded me the other day that I needed to take a look at the LinkedIn Answers service, the peer-to-peer Q&A service for business. It obviously emulates much of the Yahoo! Answers product, particularly the user experience, so I thought I’d do a little test.
It surprised me in a way that I didn’t expect…
I wondered what would happen if I posted the same question in both LinkedIn Answers and Yahoo! Answers. Of course, I posted a work-related question. This would make the test as nearly apples-to-apples as it could be.
I’ve been wanting to know more about the API market, size, share, segmentation, and all that good market data that defines an industry. The web services market is pretty loosely defined still, and I want to know where the best research is. So here’s what I asked on both sites:
“Where is the best market research on APIs and web services?”
– 2 answers within a day
– Both pointed to John Musser’s ProgrammableWeb
– The 3rd post came in 5 days later listing a few relevant blogs in addition to ProgrammableWeb
– 2 answers in less than an hour
– The 1st answers also pointed to ProgrammableWeb
– The 2nd listed 3 more sites that were sort of relevant
I kind of expected this behavior, but I certainly didn’t expect that I would get the same answer in the end. Yes, ProgrammableWeb is very good. It’s a highly relevant answer to my question, though not exactly the answer I was hoping for.
In some ways, I expected LinkedIn to give me better answers given both the focus and also how broad the Yahoo! Answers demographic must be, but this shows how participatory media can reach incredibly deep into the micro niche even when it’s a mass consumer service.
So, who won this test? I’m inclined to believe that speed matters more, particularly if the answers turn out to be the same. What do you think?