Yahoo Answers celebrated its sixth birthday earlier this week, notching another year comfortably atop the Q&A space. It’s been a while since Yahoo has announced any Q&A-related milestones, but the last one was a biggie: In May 2010, Yahoo Answers received its billionth answer.
Yahoo Answers’ spot as king of Q&A is unlikely to change anytime soon, but there’s a sense that Quora — which is about a year-and-a-half old — has the most momentum among Q&A sites. And new traffic stats that Experian Hitwise compiled this week for Marketing Land confirm Quora’s momentum.
Consider this: U.S. traffic to Quora has grown 882% over the past 12 months.
Here’s how it looks in chart form.
Although Quora launched in June 2010, it wasn’t until Christmas 2010 that the site began to take off. In fact, growth was so rapid that the site buckled under its exponential growth. In early 2011, a Quora engineer shared a chart showing how Quora saw 5-10 times more activity than normal in late December and then again right after the new year. Quora accounts doubled in this short period of time.
Yahoo Answers, meanwhile, has been cruising along as the number one Q&A site on the web. But, according to Hitwise traffic numbers, it’s showing signs of slowing down. Hitwise says U.S. traffic to Yahoo Answers dropped 23% between July and November (2011) and about 13% since November 2010.
But, Yahoo Answers isn’t about to abdicate its throne in the Q&A space. Hitwise says it’s still getting about 220 times more traffic than Quora at this point. Here are the raw numbers that Hitwise shared with us, along with a comparison chart that shows how dramatic the gap is between the two.
There are, of course, many other Q&A sites in the space along with Yahoo Answers and Quora. WikiAnswers, Answers.com, Ask MetaFilter, Answerbag, ChaCha and StackExchange are just a few. (There’s also Ask.com, which currently exists somewhere between a search engine and an answers community, but generally isn’t classified as a pure Q&A site.)
But, of all the Q&A sites, only Quora picked up a mainstream accolade this summer when TIME magazine named it one of the 50 Best Websites of 2011. And it seems a safe bet that none of the Q&A sites — except Quora — can claim traffic growth of almost 900% over the past year. There’s a long way to go before Quora is at the top of the Q&A pile, but it’s certainly going in the right direction.