It appears that Answers.com is done taking answers. The site’s vice president of business operations, Chris Hawkins, sent an email to “super-users” on Thursday advising them that their logins and user profiles are being deleted and that the website will no longer allow any more edits or user contributions. The site, which hosted user-submitted queries like “Is the Earth flat?” and “How do geckos breed?” so that others could respond, will live on as an archive, but question time is over.
The email attributed the abrupt change to “various factors including data privacy, costs of keeping the user profile system functional, efforts required to continuously patrol user-generated content.” All the content on Answers.com will still be accessible, according to the notice sent to the site’s contributors. As of Thursday night, there did not appear to be an announcement of change anywhere on the site. The company that owns Answers.com, Answers Corp., filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in March and planned to hand ownership over to its creditors, who are owed about $540 million, according to Reuters.
While the users of Answers.com are no doubt disappointed, this may come as good news for Quora, a similar site that also allows users to ask and answer questions. Like Quora, Answers.com would label users who were more active in answering questions and list their expertise; it did not, as Quora does, require users to sign in to see the answers.
I contacted Answers.com to ask for more details; I’ll update if I hear back.
Read the full text of the email to Answers.com contributors:
Dear Answers super-user,
Thank you for your years of passion, support, and contributions that have made Answers.com a great resource for knowledge-lovers everywhere. Since its launch, Answers.com has provided a space for users around the globe to discover, create and share exceptional content. Your volunteered commitment to this mission has created its most valuable resource: the collective wisdom and experiences of a large and diverse community, and the publication of rich, relevant, and trusted questions and answers in a multitude of categories. We cannot be more grateful to you.
Due to various factors including data privacy, costs of keeping the user profile system functional, efforts required to continuously patrol user-generated content, and a decision to focus more resources on growing other lines of business, we are announcing today that Answers.com will no longer be operating in an editable format. Effective today, this means that all user profiles and logins will be deleted, and while the site will remain readable, the ability to answer and edit questions will be no longer be publicly available.
This change will have no impact on the accessibility of Answers.com and its millions of questions and answers, which will remain active and available for users to enjoy.
Your involvement in the Answers.com community has helped hundreds of millions of readers, and we cannot thank you enough for your years of commitment. We will continue to manage the legacy you helped build.
Vice President, Business Operations