Anybody understand how Quora makes money?

I was drawn to it because it, like the Straight Dope, professes to have experts in various areas available to answer one’s questions, but many if not most of the threads there seem to be written by schoolchildren looking for homework answers (which I get) and people asking questions to which they already know the answers but which somehow (?) they get paid for asking? Or is it that they get paid for answering? Or for the number of people who click on the question? I don’t understand the business model. (And as a bonus, I don’t understand how it went as wrong as it seems to have gone. It’s a fairly junky site, filled with ill-phrased questions, trolls, very inarticulate people–I’m sure that wasn’t in their original plan.) How does it work? How is it supposed to work?

The threads I’ve seen have had decent answers by knowledgeable people, along with some responses by idiots but not trolls. However the ones Quora sends me are several years old with the latest response being at least a year old, which makes it kind of uninteresting. Yeah, I could go to the site in my copious free time, but why not send active threads?
As to business model, I have no clue.

Back before newsprint became effectively extinct, newspaper columns that operated on a similar format - housekeeping tips, advice on reader questions etc - often spat out a compendium book at intervals, like ‘The Daily Rag’s Top Housekeeping Tips’ or [an actual thing] the New Scientist’s compendia of answers to readers’ tricky science-based questions. The one I have is called Does anything eat wasps?

Apart from maybe making a few bucks it also captured a lot of ephemeral info in a more permanent and useful form

I don’t see any examples of that translating to the internet, so there must be some other payoff.

Quora shows ads and sponsored messages - I just created an account with a disposable email address so I could visit their home page and the second thing on the screen is an ad (or ‘sponsored artcle’) for Forge of Empires.

Also, when you log in to Quora, you’re asked to ‘follow’ certain topics that you’re interested in. This, and the choice of articles you might read on there, are probably being used to profile you for ad targeting.

I imagine they might have seen a slight uptick in business with the demise of Yahoo Answers. Gotta go to Quora now if you want to know how babby is formed.

I wonder if there’s some under the table style agreement, professional media making fun of Yahoo Answers was basically 10% of the internet’s content for YEARS.

I think that just emerged from the consistent idiocy of the answers there.
Always seemed more like Yahoo [Anything But The Right] Answers to me.

Quora answers get republished by sites like Forbes and Slate. I don’t know if they are paying either Quora or the specific people who answered the question, though.

As it happens, on Thursday the CEO wrote that “Historically, advertising provided all of Quora’s revenue” and that Quora was "on track to be cash flow positive from ads alone”.

Indicating that, at present, it is not cash flow positive :slight_smile:

The rest of the story is that they are adding a subscription service:
New Quora Subscription Products - The Quora Blog

Quora is not, AFAIK a publicly listed company, so you can take the statement as hopeful rather than definitive.

I’m reviving this topic because I think I have the answer, and their strategy. (It’s not that old.)
One of my responses got an oodle of up votes, over 10 K. They aske me if I wanted to monetize my answers. No, and I didn’t look that closely about how it worked, but it seemed to involve a pay version and doing lots of responses.
I’m sure advertising is the answer, and eyeballs. Because of that, Quora seems to have based its business model on trolling. The topics I used to look at has known trolls posting absurd questions and never, ever, participating. They’d be banned in about five seconds in any serious forum.
Not only that, Quora has a bot which generates its own questions. Some of them are kind of trollworthy, some are just stupid, but of course there is no discussion.
I’ve quit it as not worth my time and totally futile.

Randall Munroe (XKCD) has published two books answering questions sent into his webcomic’s comment section. I bought the first one and need to remember to get the second.

Voyager, upthread in '21 you used the term “thread” to describe Quora’s format. But I’ve never seen an actual thread there, per se, as in one you might see at a discussion board such as this one, where people respond directly to other’s posts on down the line. I don’t see any way to have an actual discussion of that sort on Quora, but perhaps I am missing something. Instead it seems designed to have people talk past each other, with one question resulting in a ton of disconnected responses.

What happens is that someone responds to a question and this starts a new independent page. On that page there can be multiple replies to what they somewhat misleadingly call the OP, some of which are actually to the question, and there can be multiple replies to each of them. Unlike YouTube comments the reply threads are kept together. You can only quote by cutting and pasting, and most people don’t.
So I think it is fair to call them threads, though the Dope is much more conducive to it. (But it’s better than YouTube.)
I answer some questions in some of the less controversial areas, and there is a lot less trolling there.
Also Quora auto-modding is really dreadful, especially compared to the Dope.