Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Aardvark, and invitation available

Mechanical Zoo finally unveils its first product---Aardvark. The product is now in its formal public beta.

The present Aardvark can be summarized as Twitter in Q&A. It allows users to ask any questions, and then the service forwards the questions to the other users who have declared to be somehow knowledgeable on and interested in answering the questions to answer. At the beginning of the service subscription, every Aardvark user must specify at least three keywords on what they are interested and probably be knowledgeable.

I have tested the service by asking "how do you think of Aardvark?" And I got a few answers shortly after. Max Ventilla, the CEO and co-founder of Mechanical Zoo answered by saying that "I think that I get information from two key places: from the web and from people. It's trivially easy to get information from the web assuming I'm looking for public/objective info. It's really hard to get info from the people I know and their friends if I'm not into constantly spamming people. Aardvark solves that second need once enough of my friends are shared contacts with Aardvark or once I integrate my FB social graph." Well, this is truly the motivation behind Aardvark.

Aardvark is a place you may ask subjective questions and get subjective answers. This is an exciting point of the service. Although earlier services such as Mahalo and ChaCha do the same thing, apparently Aardvark may serve the users better by well directing the questions to the ones who may answer in high quality. This was the main topic Max and I shared at April last year in a phone interview. When answering my previous question, Nicholas C. at Mechanical Zoo said, "i think of aardvark as a gateway to my friends' knowledge." That's it!

Before Mechanical Zoo, I was wondering whether Twine might be in this form when the service was just published in 2007. Apparently, however, it is not. But the cooperation between Twine and Aardvark could be an interesting event to watch in the future.

Another interesting thought I am wondering now is how Twitter may act after this Aardvark beta. I cannot see why Twitter cannot add an Aardvark-like service into its current platform in short period of time. Based on the popularity Twitter has at present, it is very difficult for the young Aardvark to compete against.

Certainly, on the other hand, Aardvark has its own problems. For example, how to well filter spam? Please be note that for Aardvark, when answers are subjective, spams are also subjective. Has Aardvark truly addressed how to resolve the problem? I expect, but I am not confident of their solution at this moment.

And there are more intrinsic issues of the service that I cannot share at this moment (due to varied reasons). But this service is still definitely worth of being tried. I have a couple of invitations available. If you are interested in it, please leave a comment. I will send the invitation in order until it runs out.

12 comments:

Max said...

Yihong, thanks for the considered writeup. The main point I would add is that Aardvark provides a live channel to the best select individuals among your friends and friends of friends whenever you ask a question. Look forward to your continued feedback as we roll out whiz-bang improvements in the coming months.

Cecilia Abadie said...

Very interesting Yihong! Nice little application for facebook integration ...

Mat said...

Seems to be a very interesting service! Can you send me an invitation, please. Thanks

oli said...

Hi, I'd love to get a beta invitation, too!

Yihong Ding said...

Max,

thank you. I look forward to the improvement of Aardvark too. The service is full of potential.

Yihong

@oli, however, sorry that I must have your email address in order to send out the invitation.

lauren said...

enjoyed your post here, thank you. If you still have any aardvark invites, I'd love one. my email is elgeee[at]yahoo [dot]com.

Michelangelo said...

I'd also love to try Aardvark.

Yihong Ding said...

sure, Michelangelo, please let me know your email and three fields of expertise you think you are good at. These are the required information by aardvark.

Yihong Ding said...

ok, Keith, sent

Jesi said...

Can I have a invitation?

jesi [dot] nieves [at] gmail [dot] com

Nabeel said...

Yes, can you please send me an invitation? I am very interested in testing it. Thank you in advance.

nzeeshan@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

The information here is great. I will invite my friends here.

Thanks