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Amazon AskVille

Gamified Q/A platform
Amazon Cemetery
GENERAL INFORMATION
Category:
Productivity
Started:
2006
BUSINESS FAILURE
Cause:
Competition
Closed:
2013

Description

AskVille was similar to other Q/A platforms but with a twist: users gained experience points depending on how good their answers were. It was designed to work mainly as a Computer Game. Moreover, there was also a “quest gold” system in place which rewarded gold to the users for asking/answering questions. The quest gold was redeemable at the AskVille store in the form of Amazon Gift Cards.

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Cause of Failure

The decision to shutdown AskVille came abruptly after 7 years of service in 2013. At the time of the shutdown, there was a redesign in process. Although not much information on why it was shut down has been disclosed, the primary reason is likely to be the increasing competition. 

Other Q/A websites such as Quora had recently emerged and began to rise in popularity. Even though AskVille had an active and loyal customer base, it didn’t seem to grow much. The majority of its users were those who were on the platform since its launch. Moreover, AskVille went through numerous changes that its users didn’t approve of. One major change was the removal of its game paradigm that had been there since the platform launched in 2006. This led to a decline of its user base.

Besides the complaints about the newly introduced changes,  AskVille users were also unhappy about the lack of moderation on the platform. At that time, many users stopped using the platform. Later on, this issue was resolved and the site management enforced its policies more effectively, but this intervention might have come a bit too late to make a difference.

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