Fluther, a slick service that lets you outsource your questions to other members on the web, has closed a $600k round of seed funding from some of Silicon Valley’s most notable investors. Included in the round were Ron Conway, Naval Ravikant, Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz, and Dave McClure, via FF Angel. Rounding out the roster are Twitter’s Biz Stone and Leonard Speiser (Bix, Twables founder), who are advisors.
Using Fluther is pretty straightforward: you visit the site and ask a question, then wait for other members to answer you in real-time (the site offers a reply system similar to FriendFeed’s that lets you view these responses immediately). Whenever you ask a question Fluther reaches out to other members on the site through Email and (optionally) IM alerts, channeling the questions to members it thinks knows the most about the topic.
Fluther faces a few major competitors, including Aardvark, which also lets you outsource your questions to other users on the web. The biggest difference is who each service turns to for answers — Aardvark tries to pair you with knowledgeable people using your social graph (typically you’ll be referred to friends or friends of friends). Conversely, Fluther sends its questions to members that it deems to be the most knowledgeable, independent of your social graph. You can syndicate your Fluther questions out to Facebook, but co-founder Ben Finkel says that there isn’t a strong emphasis on this.
Another player in this space is Mahalo, which launched its Mahalo Answers product last December. Finkel says that Mahalo’s approach, which incentivizes users to answer questions by offering them monetary rewards, inevitably leads to having people trying to game the system with low quality answers. Instead, Fluther is relying on users to submit answers as a show of good will, though it does offer a points reward system for the best answers. It can be hard to attract users with that model, but we’ve seen it work before on sites like Wikipedia and Finkel says that Fluther has developed some very dedicated users.
Fluther soft-launched back in summer 2007, and is seeing around 600,000 monthly unique visitors. Tonight’s news confirms reports of a funding round based on SEC filings.