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This article was published on August 26, 2011

InboxQ helps Twitter users with questions get direct answers from experts

InboxQ helps Twitter users with questions get direct answers from experts

The Internet continues to change the way we ask and answer questions. The invention of services like Twitter, for example, has made us just a little bit lazier when it comes to doing our own investigative research. Rather than taking the time to uncover answers for ourselves, some of us now rely on Twitter’s fast-acting and real time community to gather swifter responses.

Unfortunately, many of our questions tend to go unanswered or receive silly responses that are in no way helpful to the information we were aiming to find in the first place.

Recognizing this problem, Y Combinator backed InboxQ founders Joe Fahrner and Jason Konrad launched a San Francisco based service in 2009 that currently aims to build bridges between those on Twitter who have questions, and those who have the answers.

InboxQ is the best way to ask or answer questions on Twitter. We measure the demonstrated knowledge of millions of Twitter users and make that knowledge easily searchable on our site. If you have a questions about hotels in San Francisco or the best recipe for a mojito cocktail, we can help you find the best person to ask on Twitter. Our goal is to help people with questions get great answers while also letting people show off what they know.

In a recent update to the browser-integrated application, InboxQ launched “InboxQ Profiles”, a new feature that spotlights “real people with expertise on specific topics from golf balls to restaurants, travel, and so on, as demonstrated in their tweets, and allows others to ask them questions directly through Twitter.”

In an effort to test out this feature, I searched for the question, “Is tea good for you?”

Here’s what the results look like:

InboxQ immediately returned results with the accounts of Twitter users who might best be able to answer my question. Clicking on Jo Johnson’s profile (the top-most result) reveals his InboxQ Profile page:

As Jo Johnson hasn’t taken the time to actually claim his profile page on InboxQ, you’ll see the big red “Unclaimed” badge hovering over his information. Assuming he actually claims his page, Jo Johnson will then be able to answer the stream of questions coming in that load below his info.

You’ll also see a box on his profile that allows you to send your question directly from your Twitter account to Jo (or whoever else you might be interested in asking). Having signed up for an InboxQ account myself, I shot Jo a Twitter question through the service.

Did it actually work?

Seems like a successful test run to me.

In this way, InboxQ hopes to spotlight thought leaders who are able to demonstrate their expertise. It seems to make sense. Why ask Twitter at large when you can directly ask the people who actually have the answers?

“… Most people like to share what they know. InboxQ Profiles puts a spotlight on Twitterers who are demonstrating thought leadership, and lets them be recognized for their expertise. And, at the same time, folks who need information are able to seek it from a much wider collective than just those their own Twitter followers. We can point you to all the real people on Twitter who are sharing their knowledge, instead of celebrities or famous people who might have that knowledge but are never going to answer your question.”

InboxQ Co-Founder, Joe Fahrner

Some of InboxQ’s more notable investors include Founder and Managing Partner of SoftTech VC Jean-Francois “Jeff” Clavier, former Head of Special Initiatives at Google Inc Chris Sacca, and boutique early stage venture firm Trinity Ventures.

Head on over to InboxQ to claim your profile page, then let us know about your experience.