Today I logged-in to Quora and saw that I am the #1 most viewed writer for App Store Optimization. Of course, this was fantastic for my ego. I have since instructed everyone I know to not make eye contact when they talk to me.
In all seriousness, this brings up a bigger point about product. In order for Quora to be great, they need a steady flow of credible people answering questions. That’s hard to accomplish. After all, what’s in it for people who answer?
What motivates your users?
Mahalo, a question and answer site, launched almost 10 years ago. They offered an incentive to get people to ask and answer the questions. Although the incentive helped Mahalo grow an audience of 14.1 million unique monthly users, it ultimately failed. Why?
According to Hooked, the failure of this incentive was due to a mis-understanding of what motivated users. Although we love money, we do not use Q&A sites to make money. What do we use them for? Quora, which launched in 2010, seems to understand.
Quora demonstrated that social rewards and the variable reinforcement of recognition from peers proved to be much more frequent and salient motivators. Quora instituted an upvoting system that reports user satisfaction with answers and provides a steady stream of social feedback. Quora’s social rewards have proven more attractive than Mahalo’s monetary rewards.
The leaderboard is working for me. It motivates me to come back to Quora. The real genius is that it is only for the past 30 days. This means I need to continue answering more recent questions when older answers are no longer as viewed.
We had a leaderboard for Cyllus back in the day. That product isn’t around anymore, but it’s we had an intuitive understanding for what would motivate people to not only use the product, but use it regularly.