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Aardvark: A Better Social Q&A Than Twitter

Written by Frederic Lardinois / March 10, 2009 12:04 PM / 67 Comments

aardvark_logo_mar09.pngAardvark is a neat new service that lives in your IM client and which routes any question you might have to an Aardvark user who has the right expertise to answer your query. In return, Aardvark will also send you a few questions every day that fit your profile. You then decide to either answer the question or refer it to another friend. Of course, you can also always pass if you don't know the answer.

Aardvark will come out of its private beta during SXSW, but we have a few invites for you if you want to try it out now.

Aardvark was developed by The Mechanical Zoo, a San Francisco-based company that raised $5.25 million from August Capital and Baseline Ventures last October.

When you sign up with Aardvark, you simply add some basic information about your location, the topics you want to answer questions about, and your preferred IM client. Aardvark supports Google Talk, AIM, and Microsoft's Live Messenger. After this, Aardvark will live in your IM client and you simply ask it whatever question you might have in plain English.

aardvark_explain.png

Aardvark analyzes your questions, determines what they are about, and then passes them on to the people in your Aardvark network - or, if nobody in your direct network fits the bill, it will pass it on to the rest of the Aardvark community.

Q&A

aardvark_questions.pngIn our tests, this worked surprisingly well. We did, for example, ask Aardvark about what parties to go to at SXSW and received an answer within a few minutes. When we asked for local clothing stores in Portland, OR, a good answer came in even faster. We even got some good book recommendations through Aardvark.

Aardvark features a number of simple commands that allow you to interact with the service and that are always explained in your conversations with Aardvark. When you get an answer, for example, you can simply type 'thanks' to send a thank-you note, or, whenever you feel like answering questions, just type in 'try' and Aardvark will look for a question that fits your expertise.

Better Than Twitter?

In our internal tests, we realized that a lot of the answers often rivaled those we received when asking our Twitter network. Thanks to the fact that Aardvark automatically routed our questions to people with the right expertise, all the answers we received so far were top-notch. In case you didn't like the answer (or if it was obscene), you can flag it and rate it on the service's website.

Overall, we think this is a great service and it is definitely one of the coolest products in this space that we have tested in the last couple of months.

Invites

Aardvark is scheduled to launch during SXSW, but we will send out an invite to the first 25 commenters on this post. Note: if you use your Facebook Connect or OpenID credentials to comment here, we won't see your email address!


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Comments

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  1. May I get an invite please. Thanks.

     Posted by: Atul Author Profile Page | March 10, 2009 12:13 PM



  2. I want an invite too.

    Posted by: adix | March 10, 2009 12:14 PM



  3. Could I get an invite please. Thank you.

    Posted by: Michael Montano | March 10, 2009 12:16 PM



  4. I'm interested in an invite, thanks.

    Posted by: Andrew Hedges | March 10, 2009 12:23 PM



  5. I'd like an invite, thanks.

     Posted by: Daniel Author Profile Page | March 10, 2009 12:27 PM



  6. Could I get an invite please?. Thanks :)

    Posted by: David Cebrian | March 10, 2009 12:28 PM



  7. Interesting! I'd like to try it too, so if you have an invite for me it would be great.

     Posted by: Daan Author Profile Page | March 10, 2009 12:29 PM



  8. nicely chosen graphic: everyone has a cyclist, foodie, physicist and a grandpa as friends!

    Posted by: Rohit Khare Posted on FriendFeed   | March 10, 2009 12:31 PM



  9. Just a quick note - if you sign in with Facebook Connect, we don't see your email addresses and we can't forward the invites to you. Sorry for the inconvenience!

    Posted by: Frederic Lardinois Author Profile Page | March 10, 2009 12:32 PM



  10. looks very interesting! curious to see how it hooks up with the various protocols...

    Posted by: anthon | March 10, 2009 12:32 PM



  11. I would like one. Thanks.

    Posted by: Robert Roose | March 10, 2009 12:33 PM



  12. Could i get a pass, thanks

    Posted by: John fishlock | March 10, 2009 12:33 PM



  13. I'd like an invite too.

    Posted by: Ganesh | March 10, 2009 12:39 PM



  14. I'd like to give this a try as well.

    Posted by: Tres Trantham | March 10, 2009 12:40 PM



  15. This one actually seems kinda interesting.
    Could I get a pass as well.

    Posted by: matt | March 10, 2009 12:42 PM



  16. Yes, please.

    Posted by: Matt | March 10, 2009 12:44 PM



  17. I'd like an invite as well.

    Posted by: Chris | March 10, 2009 12:45 PM



  18. Invite please. Thanks.

    Posted by: smithm | March 10, 2009 12:45 PM



  19. Sounds awesome. I'd love to try it.

    Posted by: Chris Moody | March 10, 2009 12:45 PM



  20. I'd like to try this also.
    Thanks.

     Posted by: Michael Author Profile Page | March 10, 2009 12:46 PM



  21. Sounds interesting. I'd like to try it out.

    Posted by: gyeh | March 10, 2009 12:46 PM



  22. I'd like to try it, too.

    Posted by: Ephraim Luft | March 10, 2009 12:46 PM



  23. Trying it again without the facebook connect. Sorry and Thanks again

    Posted by: Michael H | March 10, 2009 12:47 PM



  24. I want an invite!

    Posted by: Trevor W | March 10, 2009 12:48 PM



  25. I'd like a try!

    Posted by: Shawn | March 10, 2009 12:48 PM



  26. I would love to try this out.

    Posted by: Derek | March 10, 2009 12:48 PM



  27. Neat concept. I'd enjoy the opportunity to test out Aardvark and blog about it as well!

    Posted by: Sherry Main Posted on FriendFeed   | March 10, 2009 12:48 PM



  28. invite please!

    Posted by: Rebecca Povio | March 10, 2009 12:49 PM



  29. I'd like an invite! Thanks!

    Posted by: Kevin Spain | March 10, 2009 12:49 PM



  30. I wrote something very similar awhile back:

    http://www.charleshudson.net/im-bullish-on-aardvark-and-twitter-should-take-notes

    I've been using Vark for awhile and it really does rock. Go team Vark!

     Posted by: Charles Author Profile Page | March 10, 2009 12:49 PM



  31. I'd like an invite, please. Thanks

    Posted by: Toby dipasquale | March 10, 2009 12:50 PM



  32. I'd love to try it!

    Posted by: Ashleigh | March 10, 2009 12:51 PM



  33. I'd to try too :)

    Posted by: JP | March 10, 2009 12:55 PM



  34. Invite please!

    Posted by: M | March 10, 2009 12:55 PM



  35. Rats - missed out :( have to be fast!

    Posted by: Matty NZ | March 10, 2009 12:56 PM



  36. Dang, I really wanted an invite...oh well...just gonna have to wait...

    Posted by: Mark Roberts | March 10, 2009 1:01 PM



  37. OOh, can I get an invite please? This looks really interesting!

    Posted by: MarieIdat | March 10, 2009 1:01 PM



  38. I'd like an invite, too, pls. Cheers!

    Posted by: Alexander Korth | March 10, 2009 1:02 PM



  39. The first 20 entries don't count ... right ? --that makes me something like 23 (depending on how many posted while I typed).

    Posted by: Michael Riecken | March 10, 2009 1:03 PM



  40. why not make it the first 50 ? :-)

    Posted by: mark o'toole | March 10, 2009 1:07 PM



  41. If it's still possible, I'd like to have an invite as well.

    Posted by: Ron | March 10, 2009 1:07 PM



  42. We decided to run the list up to 50 invites, so keep them coming. After 50, however, we will have to call it quits.

    Posted by: Frederic Lardinois Author Profile Page | March 10, 2009 1:20 PM



  43. Hoping to be one of the first 50.

    Posted by: Hannes | March 10, 2009 1:21 PM



  44. 50! pleasE!

    Posted by: John (Human3rror) | March 10, 2009 1:23 PM



  45. i would like to try :)

    Posted by: deniz mert edincik | March 10, 2009 1:24 PM



  46. if there's any left, i'd like an invite please...thanks! There's definitely something interesting about this business model.

    Posted by: patrick | March 10, 2009 1:26 PM



  47. Did I type fast enough?

    Posted by: Cindy Alvarez | March 10, 2009 1:27 PM



  48. in before 50...

     Posted by: Chris Author Profile Page | March 10, 2009 1:27 PM



  49. Please send if you have any left! I'll definitely use it.

    Posted by: Michelle Tripp | March 10, 2009 1:29 PM



  50. would love to try

     Posted by: Xiaofeng Author Profile Page | March 10, 2009 1:29 PM



  51. 1 2 Next

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