If you look at your main page at Facebook, you would see Update Status, Add Photo/Video and Ask Question. This is a very interesting feature that Facebook launched just over two years ago. The idea was to leverage some of the 500-million Facebook users at that time as a critical mass for a robust question and answer data base. Question and answer websites led by Yahoo! Answers is a robust marketing opportunity as people ask questions and other people supplied answers. When it comes to the Facebook model of monetizing user activity, it is really like shooting fish in a barrel. It is that easy. You have a huge amount of people and a small percentage is going to actively ask questions as another percentage or the same people would actively answer. This generates a dynamic base where casual users would come in and are either encouraged to ask questions because of the robust collection of existing questions or chip in with an answer. Regardless of the particular process, this could potentially be a gold mine because that is what a large share of the people on the internet are looking for–answers to questions. You can see this in search queries and you can see this in how they click through certain websites.
Facebook, being no dummy, saw the opportunity of leveraging hundreds of millions of its users to this particular information platform and of course the more pages generated, the more places to put those spiffy Facebook ads. While the jury is still out on whether these ads are really worthwhile for advertisers, the answer space did look like a great bonanza for Facebook. Notice the word did as in past tense? Recently it looks like Facebook Questions has died. There used to be a separate application for Facebook Questions and it is nowhere to be found. It used to be accessible at the address at facebook.com/questions. The URL still exists, but if you go there you will be redirected to your news feed. The Facebook Questions app is no longer listed in the apps list menus. If you try to look for it in the Facebook apps section at Facebook’s App Center, many people report that it is gone. This does not really surprise anybody.
Facebook has always been playing experiments on a limited basis and then launching it to go live site wide, but it is an interesting look at how Facebook abandon a potentially powerful space. That is how it is on the Internet. You get experiments that just do not pan out. The biggest example of this is Google. Google routinely launches small experimental services and they either sink or swim. That is just part of the topsy-turvy world of innovation. It appears that the opportunity was there and Facebook had on its face all the key ingredients, but for some reason it was not just able to combine all its strategic assets and advantages to create a lasting product. Sayonara Facebook Questions.