“A lot of the search engines’ index is junk, and although they have a lot of clever people, they can’t prune it manually. And they have a lot of powerful technology too, but they just can’t stop it.
“We’re looking at the prospect of the end of the growth of search.”
Answers service AQA is two years old this summer, and finds itself in the happy position of not only being profitable, but something of a social phenomenon in its home country.
A book based on the service, The End Of The Question Mark is due to be published in October, drawing the questions Britons ask, and the answers AQA gives them. Not bad for a company that still has only nine full time employees.
What AQA allows you to do is text in a question and receive an answer for a quid. This might strike US readers as expensive: it’s nearly two dollars (or four days of the San Francisco Chronicle) for a few lines of text at today’s exchange rate. But Britons love texting, and arguing, and AQA’s combination of canny marketing and the quirky charm of AQA’s answers have proved to be a hit.
But where AQA particularly interests us is how its success poses a challenge to a lot of the Californian-inspired orthodoxy about search engines, and Silicon Valley’s latest hype of fetishising “amateur” content.
These are strange times indeed when an AOL web executive must defend his decision to pay former volunteers real money for their labours. Actually pay them – so they can help feed their families? The horror of it!
Founder Colly Myers had plenty to say on this, in typically no-nonsense style, when we caught up with him recently.
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