Quora continues to make a content push that goes beyond its Q&A roots with Wednesday’s announcement of a new — and very basic — blog platform.
But, it’s not actually an entirely new feature; Quora Blogs are based on, and a replacement for, Quora Boards, a curation tool that launched in December 2011. Quora users that previously created Boards will now find that those have been renamed Blogs, and given the tools that are associated with the blog platform. Those tools, as I said above, are very basic; this isn’t a competitor for WordPress.com, Blogger or other hosted blog platforms.
Quora is pitching the blog platform as a way for writers to get visibility for their content within the site’s active question-and-answer system. Blog posts will be distributed through the site’s existing topic tagging system, just as questions already are.
If you are a good writer but don’t have thousands of Twitter followers or a big audience for your blog, Quora is an ideal place to write. Your blog will be discovered quickly without you having to do any work besides writing. Writing one great post on Quora will attract a big audience, no matter how many people already know or follow you.
From a marketing and branding perspective, though, blogging on a platform that you don’t own is almost universally a bad idea. Think of all the bands, artists and businesses that used to blog regularly on MySpace … where’s all that content now? Gone. Not doing them any good. When you blog on your own domain, it works for you for as long as you want it to.
The other issue that might come up with Quora’s blog platform is the same thing that Blogger, WordPress.com, Squidoo and any other publishing platform faces: spam. It appears on a quick look that links in Quora blog posts are no-followed, but that’s not likely to stop spammers from trying to benefit from Quora’s strength by starting low-quality blogs.
Quora’s Marc Bodnick told AllThingsD that Quora is cool with bloggers linking to their other work but will be “making sure that topics aren’t being spammed.” The Quora community and moderators do a good job, in my experience, keeping spam out of the Q&A content. They might be tested more now that Quora has a blog platform.
In related news, Quora also announced an update for its iPhone app that supports the new Blogs platform and will soon have rich-text writing capabilities.