The Moncton, N.B.-based firm that’s built a network and service based around arranging phone calls with business gurus is launching an online Q&A service, ITBusiness.ca has learned.

Clarity Answers “is like Quora with a business model” says Clarity CEO and founder Dan Martell. With more than 20,000 experts registered on the Clarity service, the average question posted will be answered in 15 minutes. The average question receives 2.4 answers, and one in 20 lead to a phone call with an expert.

“It allows people to ask a question in an open forum, anonymously,” Martell says. “We have paid moderators that are business experts and moderate everything that comes in. They might flag the questions or actually improve it.”

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Anyone can post questions on Clarity Answers, but only experts can answer them.

Clarity has coded an algorithm that will automatically notify experts of when there is a question they might like to answer, he says. Experts can also peruse through the questions and answer any they choose. Answers will also be vetted by moderators, so simply linking to a blog post won’t cut it.

After four weeks of testing with a private group of 100 users, Clarity is taking the Answers service live today. Martell notes the site is not changing its focus from providing a directory of experts, but adding this as a new feature that will help to drive more content from the site’s experts and lead to more phone calls being organized.

It’s not the first Q&A site on the Web, Martell acknowledges. The most popular is Quora, drawing on connections to other social media networks to expose user questions to a wide network and then allowing the crowd to vote the answers up or down. But Clarity has a niche as a site about professional business advice given by experts and overseen by paid moderators, Martell says. “If you go on Quora there’s a lot of questions that never get answered, and we’re guaranteeing an answer within two or three minutes.”

Clarity is co-headquartered in San Franciso and Moncton. It raised a $1.6 million round in December 2012, and is not currently looking to raise more. “We’ve got plenty of cash in the bank,” Martell says.

The service has completed 30,000 calls and is growing at a rate of 20 per cent per month. Martell says he’s expecting the Answers feature to accelerate that growth.

He’s also hiring engineers and designers to work in Moncton.

 

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