Aardvark lets you ask a question and receive an answer in about five minutes via email, instant message or Twitter. Just please don’t go around varking everything in sight.
Question and answer sites are becoming a dime a dozen, with Yahoo Answers, Google Answers and a host of other sites vying for the top spot. However Aardvark is making waves by engaging its community in real time.
Mechanical Zoo first got funding for Aardvark, which you can check out at vark.com, back in October 2008. At that time the site was in private beta with a small but very passionate community of users.
Since that time, Aardvark has slowly been growing its members, which also means thousands more experts in various specialties to ask questions of on the service. Earlier this month, Aardvark started accepting questions via Twitter, which opened up a new audience of millions of users.
Ideally Aardvark finds an expert on any given topic based on your personal connections or social graph. However, people testing it don’t necessarily receive answers from their friends.
That hasn’t affected people’s excitement about being able to ask a question about nearly any topic and get an answer from the Aardvark community in minutes. Especially since by all accounts the quality of answers on Aardvark is quite solid.
Contrast that with the clueless trolls lurking on Yahoo Answers and Aardvark starts to look fairly compelling. The question is whether Aardvark can keep its community of experts engaged for the long haul.
While the sense of community around Aardvark helps drive usage, persistent instant messages asking for advice could become tiresome. This is especially true if Aardvark goes mainstream and it starts taxing its core experts more heavily.
Community-driven Web services are nothing new, with Digg, Yelp and even Twitter drawing their audiences from user-generated content. Aardvark has innovated on these models by making the communication more persistent and connecting with users instantly no matter where they are.
You can find Aardvark on Twitter @vark.