Carl Sagan once said “We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.”

One way to do just this is through Yahoo Answers, which recently hit a huge milestone when it posted the 10 millionth answer on its site.


I’ve been very impressed so far with Yahoo’s willingness to embrace Web 2.0, and Yahoo Answers is just another in a series of innovative services that the Web giant has built, including Yahoo360 (blogging platform) and MyWeb (social bookmarks).

Answers is a fun site to explore. Anyone can post or reply to a question and the site grows with the accumulated knowledge. Users are awarded points by the question’s ‘asker’, based on the relative merit of their answers and a Leaderboard tracks the top repliers. If you’re interested in a particular subject, Answers is divided into topic categories and makes for fascinating insight into the collective wisdom of the crowd.

Here is just a sampling of questions I pulled from the Renting & Real Estate section:

and my favorite:

Answers has been on a tear since it launched in December of last year. Industry watcher, Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineWatch recently said it may well even be on its way to “becoming a social interacting phenomenon like YouTube or Myspace

Questions by notable individuals such as Stephen Hawking and U2 front man Bono have no doubt played a role in generating some of this traffic and lending credibility to the site as well.

So why does this matter, you ask, beyond simple entertainment?

Well, do a search on Yahoo! these days and you’ll see Answers’ answers are being rolled into its search results. For example, see the hits returned for the search “best time to buy a house” (specifically the #2 result).

Providing useful information and becoming a respected ‘Answer-er’, is just one more way to establish yourself as an industry thought leader and earn some cred on the ‘Net. I suspect too that in time, Answers’ Leaderboard will be broken out by topic area – making it something like, only much more democratic. Individual experts will be determined by and held accountable to the masses.

Of course, there’s always the satisfaction of helping someone with their question too.

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