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Use Yahoo Answers for fielding simple questions

October 19, 2006 by  

Your a marketer, you need some quick opinions and you have no budget for formal market research. What can you do?

Yahoo! Answers is an easy solution to add to your personal marketing arsenal.

It is a community of registered Yahoo! users that participate in answering questions asked by other Yahoo! users.

Benefits:

    Yahoo Answers Screenshot

  • Fielding a question is quick and easy to do.
  • You have a wide range of categories and sub-categories to submit your question to. (i.e. Beauty & Style, Business & Finance, Entertainment & Music, Health, Society & Culture, Technology , plus many more.)
  • You get relatively instant feedback.
  • It’s free.

Limitations:

  • You have limited ability to target demographically or geographically. Although Yahoo! collects self-reported information (i.e. gender, age, location) from its registered users, we users can’t take advantage of that to target our question(s). Basically, you can select a category of interest and add some descriptive text (e.g. “Teens only please”).
  • The answers you get are in no way statistically significant. But at least you get verbatim opinions, which do have value and provide unanticipated insight. Also, some people post answers solely because it helps them gain more personal points, not because they want to be helpful or enjoy expressing their opinion.
  • You’ll get the majority of responses in the first 12-24 hours, then little else. Since so many people are submitting questions, yours will be push down fairly quickly.
  • Most responders do follow your instructions, but be prepared for some nasty responses. There are a small group of people who are beligerant, but you have the ability to report them to the Yahoo! Answers administrators.

Of course, nothing is completely “free.” You have to invest a bit of time…

  • You need to create a Yahoo! acount
  • You have to participate by answering other questions to earn points. Those points allow you to post your own questions and have advanced functionality.

In summary, if you need to get some quick opinions from the community, or validate an assumption, try posting your question on Yahoo! Answers.

I hope you find this useful.
-Roland

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