From one million views per month to peanuts: the rise and fall of good content.
A Q&A website offering free content from top experts worldwide in specific fields that you can access without shelling out a dime? How cool is that?
Indeed, Quora looked very cool once. The site was ripe with useful and interesting information, published by knowledgeable authors worldwide. The website grew steadily to reach the 80th place in readership in the world — and 37th in the USA. It looked like its meteoric rise would meet no end.
Until something happened.
Around the end of 2018, Quora’s attention shifted. Until then, its main focus was growing a steady number of good writers who would be nominated in a Top Writer program. The Quora algorythm would process and push their stories to the feeds of the users of the website.
The views per article could go from the thousands to the millions. And people would enjoy following their preferred authors. It was like reading an online generalist magazine with an endless supply of good content for free.
After 2018, the program was shelved. No Top Writers anymore, and a new program was introduced. People would be paid to make questions, not answers. As everybody can assume, hordes of penniless keyboard pushers started to flood the portal with ponderous issues of essential importance, such as “How do you say ‘potato’ in Tagalog?” which were then read by automatic bots set up for the task.
Quora tried to withstand the onslaught by limiting the maximum number of questions that someone could pose in a day, but without any real success. Until the program was somehow downsized, again, as the portal started to indulge into advertisers — the cash cows of the internet.
The professional A’s received official accounts, distinguished by a small icon, and their content boosted by the algorythm to reach the top spot in the different topics. In the meanwhile, the same system worked to dampen the efforts of anyone who could overshadow them with their own independent content. Effectively “shadowbanning” them.
And I won’t go further and enter into the opaque Quora Moderation issue. Let’s say that this is the reason why many excellent writers have been banned or have lost interest for the site, after their answers are being serially reported, closed and deleted by an army of internet trolls.
Enter yours, truly. Before this last turn of events, my content was read and broadcasted by the platform, reaching views. Lot of ’em, actually — some one million per month. Now, if you’d care to check my current Quora stats, my views are less than 250K monthly, in constant decrease. While my old answers achieved a constant ten thousand views per story, the most recent ones hardly reach one hundred. Am I writing this badly of late so to lose 75% of my readership? You can decide.
This popular-turned-incompetent writer, however, works in internet communication, and is quite aware of what is needed to gauge the performance of websites, especially, top websites around the world.
If you dig a little bit yourself , you can discover that as of today, while internet marketers steadfastly assert the values of Quora, the internet traffic of the platform has dropped down considerably from its past exploits. The website today averages around the 350th place in internet views from the 80th place it occupied just three years before.
More, the current viewcount shows that more and more of the traffic — 37%, if I remember correctly — now comes from India, and not the USA anymore. I remember quite clearly that Quora was intensifying its Indian ops last year, hiring a shelfload of professional figures. Especially, in IT. And with all due respect to my Indian readers and friends, click-factories are widespread in the region, as it is quite cheap to set them up and operate.
Apart from this evidence, which would merit some follow-up (but I am just a writer, not an investigator), there is something more: feedback from the most affectionate readers who are following me on Quora. One said in a comment something along the line of “I thought you stopped writing, as your answers are not coming anymore in my feed”.
So, this is the story. Quora — which is a great idea of a website that has worked admirably in the past and caused quite a stir for its popularity, seems to start losing its appeal. Is someone going to do something to re-address this trajectory? Not sure.
I just see it as a failed occasion.
Oh, and it is “patatas.” Potato in Tagalog, that is.
PS: for the readers who think I am suffering from delusion, and I am bashing Quora to make up for my shortcomings, well, you are entitled to think that. But it is not so. I am seeing that a great platform which used to be very interesting slide into an ocean of irrelevance, and it saddens me much.
For the other readers and followers that worry about me stopping to write on Quora, well, I am still publishing there almost daily. If you do not find my answers in your feed, you know what to do.