kgb Launches 'Answers' Website

kgb has launched a new "answers" website that leverages the company's database of information and historical answers to user questions. The database returns a list of up to six possible matches to each query (see below).

In about 10 quick and pretty varied searches I performed off the top of my head there were answers or responses to nine of them. The one question the service didn't "get" was: Which is healthier blueberries or kiwis? The question is automatically populated in a field for submission to a human agent if the user wants additional information or the desired answer isn't there among the choices.

As an aside, there's also interesting data that can come out of this -- and which the company should develop -- around trending topics and questions (as with search queries) that reflect news events and popular culture. 

Here's an example of what an answer page looks like:

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This expands the service considerably, which also offers mobile apps and an SMS option. While there are ads on the website the primary model is per-use fees of $0.99. However, the mobile apps allow for similar exploration and discovery of a certain amount of information for free.

Competitor ChaCha is entirely ad supported and now relying heavily on its automated database and less on human agents. Aardvark, just acquired by Google for a reported $50 million, is a peer-to-peer Q&A network in mobile and on the PC. It's also free and had only an embryonic business model surrounding the concept of transactions or affiliate hand offs, similar to what Siri is doing.

While ChaCha has struggled somewhat to find advertisers willing to take the plunge (despite good metrics), kgb also faces challenges in growing usage amid a sea of free offerings in the market. However this new kgb Answers site should help increase the visibility of the service and potentially boost frequency and engagement.

In a discussion with the company last week, I was told its Super Bowl commercial created a massive traffic spike and almost crashed the company's systems, which reportedly survived the onslaught.