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Quora is a question-and-answer site where questions are asked, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. Its publisher, Quora, Inc., is based in Mountain View, California. The company was founded in June 2009, and the website was made available to the public on June 21, 2010. Users can collaborate by editing questions and suggesting edits to other users' answers.

History

Quora was co-founded by two former Facebook employees, Adam D'Angelo and Charlie Cheever. D'Angelo resigned from his position at Facebook in January 2010 to create Quora. He said that he and Cheever were inspired to create Quora because "we thought that Q & A is one of those areas on the internet where there are a lot of sites, but no one had come along and built something that was really good yet." Quora's base of users grew quickly in December 2010.

Quora had an estimated 100 million monthly unique visitors, as of March 2016. In June 2011, Quora redesigned its website, in order to make information discovery and navigation easier. Quora released an official iPhone app on September 29, 2011, followed by an Android app on September 5, 2012.

In September 2012, Quora announced that co-founder Charlie Cheever was stepping back from a day-to-day role at the firm, although he would continue in an advisory role.

In January 2013, Quora launched a blogging platform.

Quora launched full text search of questions and answers on its website on March 20, 2013, and extended the feature to mobile devices in late May 2013. It also announced in May 2013 that all its metrics had tripled relative to the same time in the prior year. In November 2013, Quora introduced a feature called Stats to allow ll Quora users to see summary and detailed statistics regarding how many people had viewed, upvoted, followed, and shared their questions and answers. TechCrunch reported that, although Quora had no immediate plans for monetization, they believed that search ads would likely be their eventual source of revenue.

In April 2014, it was announced that Quora was raising $80 million from Tiger Global at a reported $900 million valuation. Quora was also one of the members of the Summer 2014 Y Combinator batch.

In March 2016, Quora acquired Parlio. In April of that year, the company also began a limited rollout of advertising on the site.

In October 2016, Quora launched Quora en español to the public. Following this announcement in early 2017, a beta of Quora in French was announced.

Operation

Quora requires users to register with their real names rather than an Internet pseudonym (screen name); although verification of names is not required, false names can be reported by the community. This was done with the ostensible intent of adding credibility to answers, but Quora also has thousands of anonymous answers with thousands of upvotes. Visitors unwilling to log in or use cookies have had to resort to workarounds to use the site. Users may also log in with their Google or Facebook accounts using the OpenID protocol. They can upvote or downvote answers, and suggest edits to extant answers provided by other users. The Quora community includes some well-known people, such as Jimmy Wales and Adrián Lamo.

Quora has developed its own algorithm to rank answers, which works similarly to Google PageRank. Quora uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud technology to host the servers that run its website.

In March 2010, Quora received funding of $11 million from Benchmark Capital, valuing the start-up at $86 million.

In May 2012, Quora raised $50 million in Series B funds, valuing the firm at over $400 million, bringing their total funding to $61 million. Co-founder D'Angelo, who owns 0.8% of Facebook stock, also invested $20 million of his own money in the B round.

In April 2014, Quora announced an $80 million Series C round of funding, valuing the firm at over $900 million. The funding was led by Tiger Global Management.

Reception

Quora was reviewed extensively by the media in 2010.

According to Robert Scoble, Quora succeeded in combining attributes of Twitter and Facebook. Later, in 2011, Scoble criticized Quora for being a "horrid service for blogging", and although a decent question and answer website, not substantially better than competitors.

In 2010, D'Angelo and Cheever were among five named "Smartest Engineer runner-up" in the "smartest people in the tech" article by CNNMoney. They were also both listed in Inc. magazine's "Top 30 Under-30" entrepreneurs list of 2011.

As of February 2017, according to Alexa, largest user base of Quora comes from US at 37.9%, followed by India at 15.8%.

Anonymity concerns

In contrast with other major information sites, Quora does place restrictions on anonymity. Quora allows questions and answers to be posted anonymously, but it does not allow anonymous comments to be posted as direct responses to answers. This new restriction was enacted to suppress an unspecified number of negative anonymous comments. Although other sites, such as Wikipedia and Stack Exchange, use crowd sourcing to identify, collapse, and filter out undesirable content, Quora has yet to implement such a system.

Recent controversy involving the restriction of the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine stems, at least to some degree, from Quora's requirement that its question and answer site enforce some type of identity validation. Citing possible user remorse over previously posted content, the Wayback Machine was banned entirely from crawling Quora.

Privacy concerns

In August 2012, blogger Ivan Kirigin pointed out that it was possible for acquaintances and followers to see his activity including which questions he had looked at. In response, Quora stopped showing question views in feeds later that month. By default, Quora exposes its users' profiles, including their real names, to search engines.

Posterity

Quora has attracted controversy for using robots.txt to forbid the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine from crawling the site. Their stated reason is that the Wayback APIs as of 2016 do not give users a way to censor answers that they may regret previously posting. Critics have raised concerns about the fate of Quora's data if the site ever goes offline, and recommended Stack Overflow as an easily archived alternative.

Top Writers Program

In November 2012, Quora introduced the Top Writers Program as a way to recognize individuals who had made especially valuable content contributions to the site, and encourage them to continue. Top writers are invited to occasional events and receive gifts such as branded clothing items and books. The company believes that, by cultivating a group of core users who are particularly invested in the site, the program creates a feedback loop of user engagement.

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