Quora (//) is an American question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, and edited by Internet users, either factually, or in the form of opinions. Its owner, Quora Inc., is based in Mountain View, California. The company was founded in June 2009, and the website was made available to the public for the first time on June 21, 2010. Users can collaborate by editing questions and suggesting edits to answers that have been submitted by other users.
|Type of business||Private|
Type of site
|Question and answer|
|Headquarters||Mountain View, California, U.S.|
|Key people||Adam D'Angelo (CEO)|
Kelly Battles (CFO)
|Revenue||$20 million (2018)|
|Alexa rank||128 (August 2019[update])|
|Registration||Optional/required, can write and ask anonymously|
|Launched||June 21, 2010|
|Written in||Python, C++|
Founding and namingEdit
Quora was co-founded by former Facebook employees Adam D'Angelo and Charlie Cheever in June 2009. In an answer to the question "How did Adam D'Angelo and Charlie Cheever come up with the name Quora?" written on Quora in 2011, Charlie Cheever stated, "We spent a few hours brainstorming and writing down all the ideas that we could think of. After consulting with friends and eliminating ones we didn't love, we narrowed it down to 5 or 6 finalists, and eventually settled on Quora." Cheever went on to state, "The closest competition that [the name] Quora had was Quiver."
2010–2013: Early growthEdit
In March 2010, before the website became available to the public, Quora, Inc. was valued at $86 million. Quora first became available to the public on June 21, 2010. When the site first went online, it received widespread acclaim. The site at this point in its history was especially praised for its interface and for the quality of the answers written by its users, many of whom were recognized as experts in their respective fields. Quora's user base "exploded" almost instantly and, by late December 2010, the site was seeing spikes of visitors five to ten times its usual load—so much that the website initially had difficulties handling the increased traffic. When the website first came online and for many years afterward, Quora refused to show ads because, as the company stated in 2016, "...ads can often be negative for user experience. Nobody likes banner ads, ads from shady companies, or ads that are irrelevant to their needs."
In June 2011, Quora redesigned the navigation and usability of its website. Co-founder Adam D'Angelo compared the redesigned Quora to Wikipedia, and stated that the changes to the website were made on the basis of what had worked and what had not when the website had experienced unprecedented growth in December 2010. In September 2012, co-founder Charlie Cheever stepped down as co-operator of the company, taking an advisory role. Meanwhile, the other co-founder, Adam D'Angelo, continued to maintain a high degree of control over the company.
In January 2013, Quora launched a blogging platform allowing users to post non-answer content on their profiles. Quora launched a full-text search of questions and answers on its website on March 20, 2013, and extended the feature to mobile devices in late May 2013. It also announced in May 2013 that all its usage metrics had tripled relative to the same time in the prior year. In November 2013 Quora introduced a feature called Stats to allow all Quora users to see summary and detailed statistics regarding how many people had viewed, upvoted, and shared their questions and answers. TechCrunch reported that, although Quora had no immediate plans for monetization, they believed that search ads would likely be their eventual source of revenue.
2014–2017: Continued growth, first ads, and foreign-language versionsEdit
Over time, Quora evolved into what Theodore Schleier, writing for Vox, called, "a more organized Yahoo Answers, a classier Reddit, an opinionated Wikipedia." The website became popular in elite tech circles. In April 2014, Quora raised $80 million from Tiger Global at a reported $900 million valuation. Quora was also one of the members of the Summer 2014 Y Combinator batch. In March 2016, Quora acquired the online community website Parlio.
Despite this, Quora was still not showing any ads and so was not making any revenues on its own. In April 2016, the company finally relented to pressures for it to start making a profit and began a limited rollout of advertising on the site. The first ad placement that the company accepted was from Uber. Over the next few years, the site began gradually to show more ads, but still maintained efforts to limit the number of ads and to keep the ads it did show relevant to the users seeing them.
In October 2016, Quora launched a Spanish version of its website to the public; in early 2017, a beta version of Quora in French was announced. In May 2017, beta versions in German and Italian were introduced. In September 2017 a beta version in Japanese was launched. In April 2018, Beta versions in Hindi, Portuguese, and Indonesian were launched. in September 2018, Quora announced that additional versions in Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch were planned. In April 2017, Quora claimed to have 190 million monthly unique visitors, up from 100 million a year earlier. That same month, Quora was reported to have received Series D funding with a valuation of $1.8 billion.
2018–present: Further growth and Data BreachEdit
In September 2018, Quora reported that it was receiving 300 million unique visitors every month. Despite its large number of registered users, Quora did not possess the same level of mainstream cultural dominance as sites like Twitter, which, at the time, had roughly 326 million registered users. This may have been because a large number of registered users on the site did not use it regularly and many did not even know they had accounts, since they had either created them unknowingly through other social media sites linked to Quora or created them years previously and forgotten about them.
In December 2018, Quora announced that approximately 100 million user accounts were affected by a data breach. The hacked information included users' names, email addresses, encrypted passwords, data from social networks like Facebook and Twitter if people had chosen to link them to their Quora accounts, questions they had asked, and answers they had written. Adam D'Angelo stated, "The overwhelming majority of the content accessed was already public on Quora, but the compromise of account and other private information is serious."
By May 2019, Quora was valued at $2 billion as a company and it was finalizing a $60 million investment round, which was led by Valor Equity Partners, a private equity firm with ties to Tesla, Inc. and SpaceX. In spite of this, the site still showed very few ads compared to other sites of its kind and the company was still struggling to turn a substantial profit, having only made $20 million in revenue in 2018. Several investors passed on the opportunity to invest in Quora, citing the company's "poor track record of actually making money." Schleifer characterized the disparity between Quora's valuation as a company and its actual profits as a result of "the high valuation for virtually everything these days in the tech sector."
Real name policyEdit
Quora allows users to create user profiles with visible real names, photos, site use statistics, etc., which users can set to private. In August 2012 blogger Ivan Kirigin pointed out that acquaintances and followers could see his activity, including which questions he had looked at. In response, Quora stopped showing question views in feeds later that month. By default, Quora exposes its users' profiles, including their real names, to search engines. Users can disable this feature.
Quora has developed its own proprietary algorithm to rank answers, which works similarly to Google's PageRank. Quora uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud technology to host the servers that run its website.
Currently, Quora has different ways to recommend questions to users:
- Home feed question recommendations
- In this method, users have a timeline that is personalized to their preferences. Quora also provides "interesting" questions that are relevant to those preferences.
- Daily Digest
- In this method, Quora sends a daily email containing a set of questions with one answer that is deemed the best answer, given certain ranking criteria.
- Related Questions
- In this method, a set of questions that relates to the current question is displayed on the side. This display is not tailored to the specific user.
- Requested Answers
- This feature lets a user direct a question to other users whom they consider better suited to answer it.
Quora supports various features to moderate content posted by users. The majority of content moderation is done by the users, though staff can also intervene.
- Users can rank answers based on how relevant or helpful they found the answers to be. This feature is intended to help maintain the quality of content posted online. The more upvotes an answer receives, the higher it is ranked, and it shows up on top of the searches related to the question. If an answer is ranked poorly, it is "collapsed" and will not show up in people's feeds.
- Report Answer
- Users can report plagiarism, harassment, spam, and factually incorrect articles, etc. This is intended to keep sub-standard content under check.
- Suggest Edits
- Users propose changes to an answer. The proposed changes are made visible to the author of the answer, who can either approve (and publish) of reject them.
- Edit Question & Source
- Users can directly edit a question. These changes are reviewed by Quora Moderation, which can revert them if they are deemed unconstructive.
Top Writers ProgramEdit
In November 2012, Quora introduced the Top Writers Program as a way to recognize individuals who had made especially valuable content contributions to the site and encourage them to continue. About 150 writers each year are chosen out of 200 million monthly unique visitors. This has inspired both young and experienced writers. Top writers are invited to occasional events and receive gifts such as branded clothing items and books. The company believes that by cultivating a group of core users who are particularly invested in the site, the program creates a feedback loop of user engagement.
Quora World MeetupEdit
Quora World Meetup started in 2017 as a tradition for Quora readers and writers to come know each other, network, and have fun. Quora World Meetups are organised by group of Quora contributors with a designated lead and as a contribution from Quora they usually send branded swag and stickers to the attendees. According to Quora, they defined the World Meetups as "This is our way of celebrating the global growth of Quora, and all of the readers and writers who have made it possible." The last meetup had nearly 3,000 writers from over cities and the 2018 World Meetups will come up from June 20–25. All other information about the Meetups can be found on The Quora Blog.
In 2018, Quora introduced a program that offers incentives to users that ask questions. Members of the program, who are chosen by invitation only, are paid via Stripe or PayPal, based on user engagement and advertising revenue generated by the questions. This program has been roundly criticized by member users who feel that the financial incentive has led to the posting of questions of an inferior quality that have corrupted the original concept of the site.
In November 2018, Quora introduced a major feature to their platform called "Spaces". Spaces are comparable to subreddits on Reddit. A space is a Quora page which has its own administrators, moderators, contributors, and followers. Spaces are communities of like-minded people where users can discuss and share content related to the space topic or subject.
- Each space has its own administrators, who have absolute control of the space. Space moderators can add or delete and approve or decline contents and submissions added to the space. Contributors can add content (posts, links, questions, and answers).
- Once a space has acquired a certain number of followers (currently[when?] 2000), the space's administrator can add a custom URL, beginning with "q/".
Quora was reviewed extensively by the media in 2010. According to Robert Scoble, Quora succeeded in combining attributes of Twitter and Facebook. Later, in 2011, Scoble criticized Quora for being a "horrid service for blogging" and, although a decent question and answer website, not substantially better than competitors.
Since 2014, Quora has attracted continued controversy for using robots.txt to ask crawlers such as the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine to not index or archive the site. Their stated reason is that the Wayback APIs do not give users a way to censor answers that they may regret previously posting. Critics have raised concerns about the fate of Quora's data if the site ever goes offline and recommended Stack Overflow as an easily archived alternative.
Quora was highly criticized for removing question details in August 2017. According to some users, the removal of question details limited the ability to submit personal questions and other questions requiring question details. According to an official product update announcement, the removal of question details was made to emphasize canonical questions.
|June 2009||Product||Quora founded|
|March 2010||Funding||Quora raises $11 million in a series A, with Benchmark Capital as an investor|
|June 2010||Product||Quora announces that it will open up to the public|
|January 2011||Team||Marc Bodnick leaves Elevation Partners to join Quora|
|February 2011||Technology||Quora chooses C++ over C for its high-performance services|
|July 2011||Product||Quora introduces video to its Q&A pages|
|July 2011||Product||Quora introduces Credits for asking-to-answer questions|
|September 2011||Product||Quora introduces threaded comments and comment voting|
|May 2012||Funding||Quora raises $50 million in a series B, with Peter Thiel and Adam D'Angelo as investors|
|September 2012||Team||Co-founder Charlie Cheever leaves|
|November 2012||Product||Quora introduces Top Writers program|
|January 2013||Product||Quora introduces blogs|
|March 2013||Product||Quora introduces a policy eliminating image-only answers.|
|April 2014||Funding||Quora raises $80 million in a series C at a $900 million valuation, with Tiger Global Management and Y Combinator as investors|
|January 2016||Product||Quora announces bounty system, offering financial bounties for the best answer (selected by the question asker) on select questions.|
|March 2016||Product||Quora acquires Parlio, an online Q&A site started by Wael Ghonim.|
|April 2016||Product||Quora announces that it will start out testing advertisements, on a small number of question pages.|
|May 2016||Team||Marc Bodnick, Quora's public face and leader of its business and moderation team, announces that he is leaving the company.|
|August 2016||Product||Quora announces support for the Spanish language.|
|November 2016||Team||Kelly Battles announced as new chief financial officer (CFO).|
|February 2017||Product||Quora integrates Wikidata into its topic management.|
|April 2017||Funding||Quora raises $85 million in a series D at $1.8 billion valuation, with Collaborative Fund and Y Combinator as investors|
|July 2017||Product||Quora announces support for the German and Italian languages.|
|September 2017||Product||Quora announces support for the Japanese language.|
|April 2018||Product||Quora launches Video Answers.|
|April 2018||Product||Quora introduces Partner Program.|
|June 2018||Product||Quora announces support for the Hindi, Indonesian, and Portuguese languages.|
|August 2018||Product||Quora launches the ability for users to share links.|
|September 2018||User Base||Quora hits 300 million monthly users|
|December 2018||Security||Quora reported a data breach that affected 100 million of its users' data.|
|January 2019||Product||Quora announces support for the Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Marathi, Kannada, Bengali, and Tamil languages.|
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