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Top 10 Questions about Facebook Answers : Page 2

If Facebook Answers succeeds by gaining user traction and becoming available through search engines like Google, it would have huge ripple effects on the Web.


6) Facebook Answers: Will it Succeed?

It's a good time to speculate on whether Facebook Answers will fail or succeed. No one knows what the future will hold. My feeling is that Facebook answers will have to be a very benign part of the site. Facebook already has too many bells and whistles for most people's tastes. The huge user base switch from MySpace to Facebook was largely due to Facebook's pleasant and easy-to-use interface. Now Facebook has a complex feature set that changes often without much explanation to users. The design is becoming too crowded and too busy. Hopefully Facebook Answers does not make the site more cumbersome. So far the Answers feature has made the status-update feature (a very popular feature) more complex and less intuitive to use.

7) Facebook Forcing People to Use the Question Feature

Facebook will never admit it, but it is taking a controlling approach to pushing out the Answers feature. In simple UX theory, if you want a site visitor do to something, place the option to use that feature in a spot where their eyes are looking. Now, every time I try to update my status, I have to take an extra step to update the status because I have to choose whether it is an answer or not. Facebook knowingly placed the option to use the Answers feature where people look when they want to update their status.

To me, that is a bit heavy-handed and is the kind of approach which turned many people away from Google Buzz. Buzz has failed to get wide traction for many reasons, but one common complaint at the time it was launched was that people didn't like how it just appeared in important parts of their familiar pages and was too intrusive. The same could be the argued about Facebook Answers.

8) Facebook Answers Killing Google?

It seems that Facebook is steaming full speed towards opening up its content to search engines. It is becoming a matter of when, rather than if, Facebook will be more public moving forward. That will mean that when a person searches Google, they may be shown a Facebook Answer result, and when someone clicks that result and goes to Facebook, Google has lost that customer in terms of AdWords or Adsense which drive its business. In this manner, Facebook can steal Google's revenue, and increase the profitability of Facebook advertising platform.

9) Privacy Issues

Some answers will be more competitive than others because of the privacy issues. Medical information answers will probably have to be more carefully curated than general knowledge topics. That is because of existing privacy issues associated with medical information. Plus, people will probably be reluctant to answer questions dealing with digestion or sexual issues for example, because all their friends will be able to see them answering such questions and that can be awkward.

10) Death to Small Companies?

If Facebook Answers succeeds by gaining user traction and becoming available through search engines like Google, it will spell doom for many small businesses and blogs that scratch and claw to sustain their place in the top-10 search engine results for a few particular terms. Once the Facebook behemoth comes in and pushes some of the smaller companies out of the top 10, it will decrease traffic to those sites, negatively affecting revenue and profits. Watch for an anti-Facebook Answers movement by webmasters and small business owners.

Alex Genadinik is a software engineer, SEO expert, and serial entrepreneur. He is currently working on a social site for hikers.
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