Editor, SearchEngineLand.com (Info, Great Columns & Daily Recap Of Search News!)
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Search Engine Land
Google Answers: Question Everything But Google
Welcome to the Hotel Google Answers.
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely place
Plenty of questions at the Hotel Google Answers
Any type of question
Any type of question...
Relax said the editors
We are programmed to respond
You can ask any question here
Except about Google...
Sorry, it the song just kept running through my head when I was writing up about how you can ask whatever you want on Google Answers as long as it's not about Google itself (or apparently SEO).
Google Answers: Ask Whatever You Like, Except About Google has the details. I think that policy should change? What does everyone else think?
French SEO blogger and consultant
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Lille, France
Join Date: Jun 2006
I can see that they do not want to get inundated with webmaster requests, and they also do not want any answer on their site to be seen as being officially approved by the suits, however to allow discussion of rivals but not of themselves is just plain wrong.
A political spin is being added...
If you fully understood how Google Answers works, and is different from Yahoo Answers, this policy would be understood. Here is how Google Answers works:
1) Individuals from all over the world are chosen to be official researchers. They do not work for Google and are not employed by Google. Instead, they are the equivalent of webmasters who use Google Adsense. They get paid by Google for their services, but are not unique and do not have any additional information about Google. They are simply experts in various fields who, collectively, could answer just about any general question posed on Google Answers.
2) The rules for a researcher are simple. They are to USE the Google search engine to research the question asked. Then, answer the question. AND explain what searches on Google led to the answer. In other words, the whole purpose of Google Answers researchers is to eventually help people to help themselves. Rather than Google Answers just becoming a repository of questions and answers, it is a repository of how to properly conduct searches on Google in order to find the answer for yourself.
3) When someone posts a question, they set a price they are willing to pay. When a Google Answers researcher satisfactorily answers the question, the researcher is paid a majority of that price. A small fee is deducted for the service itself. The end result is, people are paying other people to do their Google searches for them. It's a very legitimate business, since a lot of people are mostly clueless about the right words or phrases to enter into a search box to give them what they are truly looking for.
4) So, now to the point. If Google allowed people to ask questions about Google itself, you might get questions like, "How can I sign up for Gmail?" A researcher could then respond, "You can visit www.gmail.com and click the link to enter your cell phone number. An invitation code will be sent to your cell phone via text message." The problem is, over time, people could be confused into thinking that Google Answers is actually a place to ask GOOGLE how to use their services. And if people have to PAY for these answers, it would APPEAR as though Google was charging money for general support for their own free services. So, Google is absolutely justified in protecting themselves AND unsuspecting users by disallowing their researchers (and Google) from profiting from those who are really just looking for general support from Google.
5) Aside from the fact that it would eventually make Google look bad, as mentioned in #4, there is another problem. If someone asks, "How can I sign up for Writely?" A researcher could then respond, "You can check on eBay. There are invitations for Writely being sold for a dollar each." The problem is, this answer is against Google's general philosophy. Google doesn't like the idea of people "selling invites" because it makes an otherwise "free service" profitable. It is along the same lines as open source or freeware authors allowing people to freely distribute their software or source code, but DISALLOWING people from charging money for it. The problem is, if a unsuspecting user visits a Google website (Google Answers) and sees this seemingly official answer, it will appear as though Google is fully authorizing this type of activity. Rather than having to police every single question themselves, trying to be sure that no question may be misleading to users or may misrepresent Google as a company, it makes complete sense to simply disallow paid questions about Google. After all, they would much rather users get answer about Google FOR FREE through their own support pages. And, if the answer to the user's question cannot be found, they can always ask Google directly through the various means of contacting support.
Why this same policy doesn't likely apply to Yahoo Answers (though it might,) is likely because there aren't financial transactions being made on Yahoo Answers (that I am aware of, at least.) It is points based. Secondly, it is community driven. Anyone and everyone can answer questions, not just specifically selected researchers. One may very well get all the answers they need through Yahoo Answers. If not, however, or there is an absolute need for a quality answer, and you are willing to pay money for the answer, then Google Answers is a safer bet.
DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Google Answers researcher, though I would like to become one. So, just in case you think I am just trying to defend Google Answers because I am a paid researcher, I will reiterate that I am not a Google Answers researcher. I am just familiar with the service and how it differs from Yahoo Answers and why it is very important for Google to have the policy that they do. It's not only to protect their image, but to protect their users.
Join Date: May 2006
Like I said MANY TIMES while the News Editor on the SEW Blog and also on ResourceShelf, one of the great untapped question answering resources comes from just about every public library and many other types of libraries. All free. Not only can they give you answers but they can also point you to online databases (free) and yes, books, that you can access for free from home or office. These days the four walls of the library building are in many ways NOT a LIMIT to its services.
In many cases these services are available 24x7x365! The Library of Congress also has a professional (and free) Q&A service ( http://www.loc.gov/rr/askalib/ ) . In some states (Colorado they are statewide) in Australia ( http://www.asknow.gov.au/) , it's a national service .
You can interact with an info pro in one of several ways depending on the service.
Again, access to all of this is free.
Finally, don't forget some of the expert driven Q&A databases. Many of them are compiled on this page.
See These SEW Blog posts for more info and examples:
The Virtual Reference Service
Other Q&A Services, Most Available For Free!
Full Text Databases That are Just a Click or Two Away [And FREE]
Last edited by gary price : 06-22-2006 at 09:41 PM.
Join Date: Jun 2007
Re: Google Answers: Question Everything But Google
Danny you so freaken funny!
I tried to post you at Yahoo answers but they closed the thread.
I figured to talk about Google at Yahoo would really drive Google mad..too bad!
Google is the imaginary Three Tibetan Monkeys: Speak no evil, do no Evil, and see no evil.
Hey I do not even remember when I became a member of this forum...
It is like de javu...must be destiny..
Igor The Troll
Last edited by JohnW : 08-04-2007 at 12:47 PM. Reason: removed sig
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