Formspring.me has quickly gained popularity as a social question and answer portal that allows anyone to ask you questions, and gives you a platform to answer them, simulating an interview format. Today, the co-founder of TinyChat is launching a similar question and answer platform, called Plank.ly, that includes a more social format and video integration.
Plank.ly’s free web service lets users and business’s create designated pages where they can receive input from others in a simple and easy format. The input they receive can be rated, sorted and responded to individually. Co-founder Dan Blake compares it to Seesmic mixed with Formspring, Digg and Twitter.
You or any visitor to your profile can rate unanswered questions up or down, with more popular questions surfacing to the top of the page. You can also make your pages completely private (similar in format to Twitter’s protected accounts), and you can post video questions and answers.The site also allows users to customize their profiles and features deep Facebook and Twitter integration. In fact, Plank.ly encourages users to sign in with their Facebook and Twitter usernames instead of creating a standalone log-in to the site.
Blake says that with the traction and success that Q&A startups like Formspring and Quora are seeing, he and his co-founders felt like there was an opportunity to create a similar platform. Blake co-founded the company with Cole Turner and Ryan Hileman.
The question is whether there is room for all of these Q&A startups in the space, or will some eventually drop-out of the race because they can’t build out enough of an audience. And Facebook just entered the space, announcing its plans to launch an Aardvark-like Q&A product within the social network. Plank.ly plans to monetize the site through advertising but hasn’t turned on any revenue streams yet.