Review of Quora Social Network
I posted a little more than 60 answers on Quora during the past few weeks and started several blogs, including one about Quora Tips that would have been very successful had I not decided to simply delete my account. I was hoping that Quora was more ethical than some of the other social networks I tried. What I discovered instead was that it was another Zurker with a different type of deceptive proposition.
Zurker’s allure, according to the media information that the social network wannabe posted on its site, was that members would earn part of the company in the form of Bitcoins for recommending their friends and contributing to Zurker in other ways, with the company's owner, Nick Oba, retaining the vast majority of the pie, of course. What Mr. Oba didn't post on his site's promotional material, however, was that the moment that you don't toe the line or expose his dirty secret of using multiple anonymous accounts to beguile people into engaging with one another on his site, he would seek retribution against you so that you stay quiet about it.
Quora’s deceptive proposition, on the other hand, was credits that their members get when other people up-vote their answers, follow their questions, and other such incentives. By the time I asked them to delete my account, I had close to 50 followers and perhaps a couple hundred comments on various posts. I worked a great number of hours in order to earn these results honestly. And I'm well-versed in social media, having been the official top contributor in Facebook's Help Forum for several years. To make a long story short, the results were just terrible. To improve those results in order to try to lure me in, Quora used a simple deceptive marketing ploy: When you ask a question, they propose that one of their experts answer the question. And when you accept the offer, the expert places a canned answer that's used specifically to attract up-votes from the expert's own followers. Those up-votes are then credited to the account of the party who credited the expert's account up front in order to answer the question. To my surprise, I had 4,000 credits dumped into my account, except that I found out that the alleged expert account was a fake.
Knowing how hackers and undesirables operate in social media, I saw the telltale signs in the answer itself: full of half truths and gross misrepresentations. From there, all I had to do was compare the total number of answers that the soi-disant expert posted with the number of answers that were still live. A strong difference would mean that the party was deleting many of his canned answers and recycling them. That's exactly what I found. That led me to check other accounts under the same name, and I immediately discovered multiple accounts under the same name with slightly different profile photos of the same person. After I pointed them out, the idiot immediately tried to cover his tracks by changing the profile photo he had on the other fakes, but unfortunately for him I had already captured the photos on the fake profiles via screenshots, thereby catching him red-handed.
Setting the above deception aside, Quora’s web interface is as minimalist as can be, which pleases the old Facebook addicts who have left the social media giant because of its come-lately crackdown on deceptive practices such as those mentioned above. I found Quora's drafting capabilities to be much weaker than those that were available on Zurker's web interface. Even though Zurker was just a one-programmer shop when I checked it out a couple of months ago, the latter’s web interface was much more sophisticated than Quora’s.
I had no interest in Bitcoins, which were the main attraction at Zurker. But since I’m writing a book about Facebook, I wanted to check the latter’s competition in a fair and equitable way. I found the same deceptive practice of using fake accounts to help promote engagement between users on both Quora and Zurker. As soon as I saw that, I immediately requested to have my account deleted. I received an answer to my email that Quora deleted my account as I had requested within 24 hours. Thus, that part wasn't so bad.
Because of their deceptive practices and tolerance of fake accounts to create buzz, I wouldn’t use either Quora or Zurker even if they were to pay me in real money. Having to deal with hustlers who combined forces with the sites' marketers themselves who use as many fake profiles as necessary quickly made me realize that both Zurker and Quora members are just spinning their wheels, and that those sites weren't for me.
Members of such sites are spinning their wheels in my opinion because although Facebook used those very same tactics as it was on its way to becoming what it is today, the general social media enthusiast is much more savvy and perceptive about these things today. And these sites can no longer fool the average social media user as Facebook once did. That in combination with the fact that Facebook is a lot more secure and stable today doesn't bode well for sites such as Quora and Zurker.
Furthermore, Facebook provides the ability to create smaller communities via the Group application that offer a lot more possibilities than both Quora or Zurker, and the masses are starting to be aware of that. For example, I manage a close group on Facebook that’s called, “NewTrail Publications.” Users can set their own profile and feed as they wish. They can ask questions about various topics, and contributors can earn credits that can be used to promote their own articles and blogs via Facebook advertising.
In my closed group, writers are also coached on how to use Facebook groups to publish their own books, which other members of our association can also promote to earn advertising credits. Thus, there’s really nothing that either Quora or Zurker offers that cannot be done via Facebook groups. In addition, contributors’ content can be advertised to targeted audiences via power editor, which neither Quora nor Zurker can do. The bottom line is that it’s much easier to develop a following via Facebook advertising than it is via Quora or Zurker despite what these social network wannabes would like you to believe.
The same marketer who tried to lure me into Quora challenged me about what I just said above. And despite his various ploys and ruses, he had to concede that his own $8.00 ad on Facebook delivered better results than I had at Quora over working my fingers to the bones for several weeks there. He placed a simple generic ad on Facebook and got 40 new “Likes” for $8.00 whereas it took me hours and hours of work on Quora in order to get a comparable number of potential contacts. Despite being one of the greatest liar that I've ever met, he couldn't deny that.
I also pointed out to him that had he used the power editor to specifically contact “entrepreneurs” since his piece was about entrepreneurship, he would have had even better results. I even pointed out to him that I could contact one million people of my choosing on Facebook overnight for about $500.00, which would have likely produced several thousand “Likes” based on the number of viewers who would have seen the ad (about one million in comparison to about 10,000 on the $8.00 non-targeted ad). He had no argument against that, not even further lies.
Obviously, when you’re running a legitimate business, there’s simply no comparison between the aforementioned social media wannabes and Facebook. Even if the rate of gaining more followers would have increased as I posted more in the long run on the two competitive sites, there’s no way that I could have gotten results that would have been comparable to what I can get through Facebook without breaking a sweat. Thus, the time investment on both Quora and Zurker are simply not worth it in my candid opinion. And its by confirming that with actual testing that I decided that it wasn't worth it for me to keep a silly Quora account.
The real Facebook competitor to watch is Google+. I said that since Google started it in 2011 (see screenshot below). Although Google is getting closer to offering social media advertising in the same style as Facebook, that aspect of Google+ is not quite there yet. But, on the other hand, Google does not tolerate deceptive practices in the way that both Zurker and Quora allow on their sites. And that's why I think one is better off investing one's time on Google+ instead of either Zurker or Quora. But, of course, other people may disagree. And that's fine by me.