Quora Embraces Self-Promotion

On Friday, Q&A site Quora eliminated its policy banning self-promotion. My reading of the policy is that it is more of a clarification than a veritable about-face.

Quora’s goals have always been to foster an environment of learning. As they wrote in their post, “Quora’s key principle regarding content is that users should make the site a great resource for people who want to learn. The quality of the answer is what we care about. Evaluating the intention of an answer does not support this policy.”

As always, Quora users will need to disclose disclose relevant affiliations, which should be part of any interactions through social channels. Authenticity and transparency are the currency of social conversations.

This policy is good news for marketing and PR people. As social media opens up new channels for offering thought leadership, the opportunity for executives, academics, entrepreneurs and thinkers to reach engaged audiences is immense.

Clients are always asking us about the “next Twitter” or the “next Facebook.” Increasingly, Quora is coming up in those conversations, so I tried to discover just how many people are using Quora. In December 2010, TechCrunch reported that Quora doesn’t know how many people are on it. TechCrunch linked to a page on Quora that deals with just that question. While there is some disagreement in the discussion, it appears that somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 people were registered users as of December 2010.

Anecdotally, the pace at which I am seeing Quora-related Tweets and email notifications has slowed dramatically since the New Year. This certainly is not the authoritative answer on Quora’s relevance. However, I do believe that it is still relatively new and while it is interesting to marketers as a forum, it has yet to become a requisite piece of their social media mix. Perhaps this policy change will help propel its adoption. We’ll keep watching!