CheWen, is the newly launched vertical Q&A service dedicated to car business. And the site is actually operated by RenRen and built up based on RenRen’s social platform.
Facebook rolled out its Q&A service in July this year and it has been quite successful. I think it is a good try for RenRen to test its vertical social networks as well as its Q&A feature. On CheWen, RenRen user can publish a question about one car model and the question can be broadcasted to your friend networks via your news feed so that they can answer it. RenRen even invites 500 experts to get these questions answered as soon as they can. You can also follow these experts or certain car models to keep updated with latest information.
Thinking about Baidu Zhidao, the most popular Chinese Q&A service, I don’t know if RenRen is seriously want to compete with Baidu on this yet. But given RenRen’s large user base right now, it won’t take long for it to build up a massive amount of data. And if that data is consistently reliable, these questions could turn into a viable alternative to Baidu for many queries.
Facebook may not think about vertical market and it’s also reported that on Facebook system is trying to analyze a user’s interests to determine who would be best able to answer your question. I understand that RenRen chose car business because car market is so hot and CheWen could be a very good marketing and ads space for those car manufactures. But whether RenRen has the same vision as Facebook has, it’s too early to say so.
I am curious about whether or not RenRen will launch another vertical Q&A site, e.g. Food. And with these vertical sites launched, how to operate them will be a big question too.