Quora Answers

Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on October 21, 2012

I answered a similar question earlier: How do the mechanics of Yelp’s review filter work?

As Matt Solar mentioned, Yelp and TripAdvisor employees won’t ever disclose how they detect fake reviews. So, any answers here (including mine) would be mostly guesswork based on some common sense and an analysis of patterns of which reviews get filtered.

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I am not an HR person, but having reviewed some LinkedIn profiles of my classmates and other friends, I have some ideas on how to make your LinkedIn profile attractive.

Some quick tips:

  • Have a descriptive profile: You are more than a list of your job titles. Make sure that you discuss what you do, and what you bring to the table. Be sure to include a short summary statement at the start, and follow it up with details for each of the job-positions. If you have worked for non-brand companies, also include a one line description of what your company does.
  • Put a good profile picture: Whether you are on LinkedIn, Twitter or match.com, people like to connect to faces. Get a good profile picture. Investing in getting a professional headshot may not be a bad idea.
  • Get recommendations: Discussing your achievements and abilities is good, but having another person vouching for you adds an additional level of authenticity.  It also makes your profile “complete” (Minimum 3 recommendation are needed to make your profile complete by LinkedIn definition)
  • List your online presence: Your profile would be twice as interesting, if you include links to other relevant websites that you have contributed to. This may be a link to your blog, Quora profile, GitHub page or anything else.
  • Include your contact details: Not every recruiter has a paid account.  Make the job easy for potential recruiter by either being part of the Openlink network (you will need to have a paid account for this), or including your contact details in your profile.

I had written a post on my blog on a similar topic some time ago. You may find this useful:http://amitbhatnagar.com/2012/08…

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Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on October 2, 2012

I will let someone from Amazon or Buy.com speak to how they actually use data from Searches. But having worked on many web strategy and analytics  projects, I can at least speak to what they can learn from the search-data.

Here are some of the things that you can learn by analyzing data from search:

  • Top searched products/keywords: This should be an obvious one. This can give you insights into what are your visitors most interested in. If search for a specific product/keywords is happening too often, that product may be in high demand, and you may want to make it easy for visitor by pushing the page to your website main page or on an easy to locate banner.
  • Search click-through and conversion: Which of the numerous results that a search returns get the most click-throughs or results in most number of purchases? You may want to use that as a factor in deciding the order of search-results in subsequent searches.
  • Search keyword refinement: How do visitors refine their keywords in subsequent searches? As an example: If you find that there are people searching for “laser colour printer” and then refining it to “laser color printer”, this may be an indicator that some of your visitors use British English, and you may want to modify your search algorithm accordingly.
  • Search filters/filters: What are the most popular filters and sorting methods that visitors use on your site? An analysis of this at the user-level can help you deliver a customized experiencing, and at the website level, this can help you make important business decisions.
    As an example, if a user searches for shoes, then filters it by “Gender:female”, and “Price: $200 and up”, and then, sorts it by “Average user rating”, you can deliver more upscale items as top search results for subsequent searches. If you find a number of visitors behaving this way, you may design your future product offering keeping this insight in mind.
  • Null Searches: Which search results lead to zero results (or even zero relevant results indicated by user not clicking on any of the search results) Searches that lead to zero keywords on an eCommerce website is analogous to customers coming to a grocery shop-owner, and asking for a product not on the shop. If sufficient number of customers ask for the product (and the product is inline with your business), you will like to make sure that the next time somebody asks (or searches), you have the product with you.
  • Top search pages: Which pages lead to most searches? These pages may need a scrutiny. These may be pages with more insights that encourages your visitor search for the desired product and finally complete a purchase, or these may be pages with insufficient information, and that is forcing the users to use search feature.
  • Search keyword correlations: Which products are often searched together in the same visit? (Example: Camera and memory card) Maybe you can consider a bundled offering for the two, or remind the user about product B, when she completes the purchase of product A.

    Of course, most of these won’t actually be used in isolation. For example: instead of analyzing the search-keyword correlation, website owners may instead like to analyze their sales-data to know which one are actually bought together (And I believe this is what many e-Commerce sites are already doing). But combining this with search-data will definitely lead to an additional level of insight.

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Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on October 1, 2012

Downvotes are not only anonymous, they are actually  invisible, i.e. you don’t even know the number of downvotes an answer has got. I hope you are not talkling about that, as that will totally kill the transparency of ordering of answers!

Assuming that you are talking about making them just anonymous, not invisible (i.e. the answer would simply display Upvoted by X Quora members), I will still argue against making them anonymous. I feel that Quora upvotes serve at least the following purposes, and making them anonymous will kill/limit their utility for these purposes. I have also included examples from my own experience with each of the points. 

  • Validation: Most authoritative answers are usually the ones that are either written by subject-matter experts or industry-insiders or upvoted by them. In absence of named upvotes, we will lose the ability to identify the best answers by second of these criteria.
    The Subject matter experts may not have time to answer all the questions from their field of expertise. An upvote is a quick and easy way to establish authenticity of an existing answer without creating a redundant answer. This way named upvotes are helpful to the original questioner, other readers,  the SME and the answerer (See next point)

    As an example: My answer to Who is the oldest LinkedIn member here in Quora? was upvoted by Lee Hower,  one of the LinkedIn founders. After his upvote, anyone reading the answer will have no confusion on whether my answer is correct. (He did leave a comment too, but only his upvote would have sufficed to establish the authenticity of the answer)

  • Encouragement to answer: You may have seen people requesting celebrities to retweet/reply to their tweets on Twitter. Seeing your answer getting upvoted by a power-user is similar, but perhaps 100 times more encouraging! This not only encourages answerers to write more answers, but also sharing these stories with non-Quorans, enticing them to join Quora and thus, making this an even better community.

    Going back to the same example as previous point: My favorite Quora story is not about the answer that got me 60 upvotes; it’s about the oldest LinkedIn member on Quora answer getting upvoted by the LinkedIn founder. I have shared this with many (in person and on FB) and I am sure this has made some of my friends join Quora.

  • Virality: Upvotes also serve the purpose similar to that of share on FB. Every time, I click the upvote button, it gets pushed to my followers making the content viral and improving the social aspect of the community. (I totally agree with the concerns about upvoting some answers raised by the Anon user in a previous answer, but I guess an easier solution to that is moving the “Make Anonymous” link from bottom of the page to the top, allowing people to upvote anonymously if they want to.

    For example: 60 upvotes answer that I mentioned above is about 3 months old, but still gets an occasional upvote, followed by about 3-4 more upvotes from the followers of the new upvoter on the same day! In absence of named and shared upvotes, answers like these would usually get buried among numerous others.

  • Transparency: Finally, named upvotes allow me to understand the order of answers. It’s not uncommon to see an answer with x votes placed higher than another answer with x+10 votes, even when none of the users is power-user. It is usually because of the first answer getting upvoted by some power-users. I believe this is a very good feature somewhat analogous to search-engines not just counting the number of pages linking to your page, but also the credibility of those pages.
     Without named upvotes, we will either lose this very good feature, or if the ordering algorithm in the back-end does not change, we will lose the transparency in ordering the answer. It would be hard to explain why an answer with 20 upvotes is placed higher than another with 27 upvotes!

    For example: my answer to Behavioral Economics: Why do people pay $8 for a dessert with no second thought but won’t buy a 99-cent iPhone/Android app without thinking hard if its worth it? with 22 upvotes is rated below another answer with 18 upvotes. Seemed a bit weird at first, but then, I realized that not only is Stephen Frank a more active Quoran than I am, but also his answer has been upvoted by some power-users like Gil Yehuda, Chris McCoy and Marc Bodnick.

So in sum, I certainly want Named upvotes to stay! Just make anonymous upvoting easy, and I think we should be all right!

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They may continue to use it as long as they want.. It seems they are unknowingly following Advertising Guru David Ogilvy.

This is from his book Confessions of an Advertising Man:

The two most powerful words you can use in headlines are FREE and NEW. You can seldom use FREE, but you can almost always use NEW

Of course, using “free” may prove disastrous for most businesses. So they continue to use “New”, as Ogilvy suggested! (In my hometown, I am seeing a “New Janta bakery” for last 15-20 years! 🙂 )

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Continue reading about For how much time should a shop/building be allowed to use word ‘new’ before its name?

Amit Bhatnagar on Quora.com on August 7, 2012

Amit BhatnagarAs far as I know, Steven Burda is as high as it gets, when it comes to number of recommendations: http://www.linkedin.com/in/burdaHe has 2938 recommendations overall, 700+ for his current position!See question on Quora

Continue reading about Who has a profile with the most recommendations for a single job on LinkedIn?

Good question! While I agree that traditional metrics (bounce rate, time on site, etc.) may not be directly useful, the same metrics may be more meaningful when seen at a more micro level.
A 56% bounce-rate or average time of 142 seconds per visit at website level may not tell you much about the content/user-engagement, but add some additional layers like traffic-source and landing page, and this will become very useful.
    
This should be clearer with three distinct cases below:

  1. Restaurant-hotel specific page: If the user lands on a hotel/restaurant specific page through a Google search (Very often, you’ll find Yelp pages of restaurant listed higher than that of the restaurant itself) and leaves without clicking on any other page, you may not have much to worry about. You may actually congratulate yourself for good SEO: User was perhaps looking for just the hotel address or phone number for a specific hotel and yours was the first page in search results.
  2. Internal search results page: If the user lands on your search results page through a Google search (Example: A Google search for “indian restaurants in Berkeley” may lead to a Yelp search page for “indian restaurants in Berkeley”), you may be more worried than in previous case, but still things are not that bad. Perhaps, your search algorithm is not producing relevant results, or may be the layout of the search page needs restructuring.
  3. Paid search/external campaign landing page: Finally, if the user lands on your page through a paid search and leaves without converting (no matter how you define conversion), you are losing money on each such user. For this case, a high bounce rate may be a very bad news!

    Some additional ones that websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc may use to measure user-engagement:

    • Conversion: For any website, this is one of the biggest engagement metric. The definition of conversion would vary from website to website and industry to industry. In the case of the mentioned websites, some possible conversion metrics would include: Booking hotels, reserving a table at a restaurant and claiming daily-deals (like Yelp offers).
    • Number of Reviews/Number of unique reviewers: Since these websites are almost wholly about user-generated content, these are two very important metrics. While the former metric is a measure of content-generation, the latter is a good measure of website’s most highly engaged users, i,e, the writers.
    • Frequency of visits: If the frequency of visits for a user (Tracked via login or cookies) is fairly high, there may be no cause of concern, even if the average time per visit is low. This is especially true for websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Taking a personal example: Even as a Yelp addict, my visits to the website/iPhone app are fairly short: very often less than a minute! But the number of these visits more than make up for the short duration.
    • Internal search usage: More often than not, visitors on these websites are not looking for a specific hotel/restaurant. They are looking for a type of restaurant/hotel in a specific location. (4* hotel in New Orleans or Ethiopian food in San Francisco, CA). If I am Yelp, I would be more concerned about the frequency of usage of the search functionality and the rate of click-through of the search results, and relatively less about the time that they spent on individual pages. Of course, I would like to see some conversion, but at least, I know the users are sufficiently engaged.
    • “Upvotes”, “Follows” and other interactions between users: Most of these websites  have a built-in up-voting mechanism (“Mark as helpful”, “Like”, Vote as “Cool”/”Funny”) that allow users to Vote up quality content. Similarly, many of these websites allow users to follow each other or add them as a “friend” or leave other users a compliment. While at the individual level, this is useful to identify quality content and power-users, at the website level number of such interactions can also be considered a great metric for user-engagement!
    • Check-ins: Most of these websites (at least I know about urban spoon and Yelp) allow users to “check-in” at hotels/restaurants. If your users remember to check-in on your website at a restaurant in the middle of a party/date, it’s good news for you: they are highly engaged!
    • Social media sharing: Finally, a good measure of quality content and user-engagement these days for any website is the content shared on popular social networks. This indicates that the content is not only good enough to be read, but also interesting enough to be shared with friends.

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    Archery (Women) team event is on July 29, and that may be India’s first realistic Gold prospect. Deepika Kumari is ranked #1 in the world. So chances of individual Gold are stronger than a team Gold, but for that you will have to wait till August 2.

    I agree with the Anon user that registering a double digit Gold medal is an unrealistic expectation, but expect this to be India’s best ever Olympics both in terms of Gold and total medal tally.

    Some events where I am hopeful:

    • Archery
    • Tennis (At least mixed Doubles)
    • Badminton
    • Boxing
    • Wrestling
    • Shooting

    I hope Hockey team manages to surprise by getting a Bronze, but that may be being a bit over-optimisitic.

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    Continue reading about What event provides India with the chance to win their first gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games and break into double digits for gold?

    I am a tech-geek, who would happily pay 99 cents (Sometimes even more) for an app that I like, or sometimes even to try a cool idea. But most of the times, even I think twice whether I really need an app if I have to pay for it. And i know many of my friends, who would not buy any app, unless they are totally convinced that they need it.

    Here are some things that may be affecting consumers’ behavior:

    • Anchoring: People are used to have free apps, but not free desserts. An on-the-house dessert at a restaurant always feels like a generous offer. But keep this offer on for about 25 days, and on 26th day, you will hardly find any customers ordering desserts. You have anchored them into believing that desserts should be complimentary with the dinner.
      Similarly, a good number of apps are free, and this has anchored consumers to believe that apps should be free. I find it funny when I see adjectives like “greedy”, “not cool” and “unfair” being used in reviews and forum-discussions for app-makers, who try to monetize the efforts that they have put into their app. 🙂
    • Problem of plenty: Gone are the days of “There’s an app for that!”. Today, it is “There are (many) apps for that!” For free apps, most users won’t mind if they have multiple apps serving similar purposes on their smartphone (Example: I have both Shazam and SoundHound). But between multiple paid apps serving the same purpose, the users sometimes need to put some thought to decide which one would you buy. And a good number of times, the comparison never completes, and the purchase never happens!
    • Possibility of substitution:A dessert is a dessert, and perhaps can be substituted only by another dessert. Not so with apps. There are lots of substitution options available. Other apps on the same phone or sometimes their PC equivalents too! For example: Do I really need to pay $1.99 for “Craigslist mobile” for my iPhone when I know that I hunt for rental apartments only in the night, when I can search for it on my PC? And if it is really needed, I can simply go to my iPhone browser and search the listings.
    • Consumption pattern: If you pay $8 for a dessert, you consume it right then: all of it! Now, take out your iPhone and start going through the apps (Both free and paid) that you have used more than 5 times. I bet less than one-third of your apps would fall under this category. This guilt trap of having purchased some apps in past, but never using it, may deter users from spending another dollar for another app, which they know would perhaps never be used beyond the first 2-3 days.
    • Lack of knowledge about legal sharing: This will perhaps affect very few of the users, but the perceived value of an app may increase, and hence, the number of purchases may increase, if people are aware (And I know that many are not)that they can legally share the apps that they have purchased across different devices. Apple allows you to authorize up to five computers to share your iTunes purchases. I guess Android has similar conditions, as long as you are signing in with the same account.

    Yes, many of the above would not look sensible (especially considering that we are talking about less than a dollar here) to a totally rational mind. But when it comes to consumers’ reaction to pricing, you will always find irrational behavior. (On a totally different note, see this: http://m.theatlantic.com/busines…)

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    Continue reading about Why do people pay $8 for a dessert with no second thought but won’t buy a 99-cent iPhone/Android app without thinking hard if it’s worth it?

    I am a tech-geek, who would happily pay 99 cents (Sometimes even more) for an app that I like, or sometimes even to try a cool idea. But most of the times, even I think twice whether I really need an app if I have to pay for it. And i know many of my friends, who would not buy any app, unless they are totally convinced that they need it.

    Here are some things that may be affecting consumers’ behavior:

    • Anchoring: People are used to have free apps, but not free desserts. An on-the-house dessert at a restaurant always feels like a generous offer. But keep this offer on for about 25 days, and on 26th day, you will hardly find any customers ordering desserts. You have anchored them into believing that desserts should be complimentary with the dinner.
      Similarly, a good number of apps are free, and this has anchored consumers to believe that apps should be free. I find it funny when I see adjectives like “greedy”, “not cool” and “unfair” being used in reviews and forum-discussions for app-makers, who try to monetize the efforts that they have put into their app. 🙂
    • Problem of plenty: Gone are the days of “There’s an app for that!”. Today, it is “There are (many) apps for that!” For free apps, most users won’t mind if they have multiple apps serving similar purposes on their smartphone (Example: I have both Shazam and SoundHound). But between multiple paid apps serving the same purpose, the users sometimes need to put some thought to decide which one would you buy. And a good number of times, the comparison never completes, and the purchase never happens!
    • Possibility of substitution:A dessert is a dessert, and perhaps can be substituted only by another dessert. Not so with apps. There are lots of substitution options available. Other apps on the same phone or sometimes their PC equivalents too! For example: Do I really need to pay $1.99 for “Craigslist mobile” for my iPhone when I know that I hunt for rental apartments only in the night, when I can search for it on my PC? And if it is really needed, I can simply go to my iPhone browser and search the listings.
    • Consumption pattern: If you pay $8 for a dessert, you consume it right then: all of it! Now, take out your iPhone and start going through the apps (Both free and paid) that you have used more than 5 times. I bet less than one-third of your apps would fall under this category. This guilt trap of having purchased some apps in past, but never using it, may deter users from spending another dollar for another app, which they know would perhaps never be used beyond the first 2-3 days.
    • Lack of knowledge about legal sharing: This will perhaps affect very few of the users, but the perceived value of an app may increase, and hence, the number of purchases may increase, if people are aware (And I know that many are not)that they can legally share the apps that they have purchased across different devices. Apple allows you to authorize up to five computers to share your iTunes purchases. I guess Android has similar conditions, as long as you are signing in with the same account.

    Yes, many of the above would not look sensible (especially considering that we are talking about less than a dollar here) to a totally rational mind. But when it comes to consumers’ reaction to pricing, you will always find irrational behavior. (On a totally different note, see this: http://m.theatlantic.com/busines…)

    See question on Quora

    Continue reading about Why do people pay $8 for a dessert with no second thought but won’t buy a 99-cent iPhone/Android app without thinking hard if its worth it?