yoomoot wants to improve the conversation

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Discussion forums are broken and threaded comments found on blogs don’t cut it either. Too much of the conversation gets lost and any lasting knowledge is buried. That’s the view taken by yoomoot, a new startup just out of private beta.

The standalone site aims to make public online discussions more productive and useful, although in the future yoomoot is planning a subscription-based version for organisations who want to hold private discussions and a plugin for other publishing platforms, such as WordPress.

Discussions on yoomoot are highly structured around Q&As, starting with a top-level topic with related questions and answers, which in turn can have follow-up questions and so on. To navigate this knowledge-base is the yoomoot browser, a sort of iTunes-esque column view where you can browse the hierarchical structure of each ‘moot’ (each of which has its own URL) and quickly drill down to a specific reply.

The Q&A format is designed to force users to “think carefully about the point of what we’re saying, encouraging structured, goal-focused thinking”, says yoomoot, although the company argues that its approach differs from traditional Q&A sites that are based around a single Q&A accompanied by standard comment threads.

And that’s probably yoomoot’s biggest challenge: explaining to users how it’s better or different than existing solutions. It also feels like it’s caught between a rock and a hard place; the imposed structure might make it more useful but the conversations feel, well, dry. They lack personality, although this could also be a consequence of the site’s very functional design. There is an element of social, however, with each contributor getting their own profile with a record of their yoomoot contributions.

The startup’s revenue model is three-fold: a premium version of the public site that removes advertising and give users greater control over their profile; yoomootpro, a private version of yoomoot for organisations; and a planned plugin to enable blogs and other websites to use yoomoot to handle their comments with very high-traffic sites being charged for this service.

Yoomoot is based in London and is founded by Barbara Nowacka and Nicolas Holzapfel who came up with the idea while studying for an MA in Interactive Media at the University of the Arts London.

  • http://sco.tt/ Scott Yates

    There’s a company out there doing this now, no need to wait for the private beta!

    It’s called: http://TheBlogFrog.com/

  • Gab

    I really like it. I’m waiting for the plugin to use it on my website. Great discovery tool, too.

    • http://www.smartbloggerz.com/ Typhoon

      Ya, I will be also waiting to try it on my blog http://www.smartbloggerz.com and I hope it comes out good..

  • http://favit.com/infographs Marfi

    From my experience, if they are just got out in the wild with getting feedback and comments from users the UI and the organization will improve. And yes, it will take time and effort to distinguish from intensa debate, disqus and the rest, but that’s part of the game.

    • http://yoomoot.com Barbara

      we spent 6 months on researching and building many different prototypes, then we spent 1 year on making the final prototype better by testing it and developing it. yoomoot was very much user driven from the start and we continue to test it – there is still room for improvement.

  • http://www.howtoplaza.com HowToPlaza

    Right now they don’t seem to be doing the right job of explaining why a user should spend his or her time trying to figure out their service. They seem to be too happy about their website :-)

    • http://yoomoot.com Nicolas Holzapfel

      We’re certainly happy about launching the website, but only because it solves a real problem. Perhaps you’d find our “why use yoomoot?” video helpful: http://vimeo.com/8552538

      There also a written version: http://yoomoot.com/articles/why-use-yoomoot/

      • Gab

        Hi Nicolas,

        when do you expect mentioned plugin to be available?

      • http://yoomoot.com Nicolas Holzapfel

        Probably in a few months time. But it really depends on the level of interest in it. Quite a few people have been asking about it so I created this moot where people can register their interest: http://ow.ly/1M7de

  • james T

    forums are broken? why? because they are not twitter? let me make a quick estimate: forums will be here long after twitter is gone.

  • http://www.theblogfrog.com Holly Hamann

    Any company trying to improve the quality of discussions online has a worthy mission in my book.

    A “highly organized and collaborative” structure that allows thousands to participate in the same conversation sounds beneficial to a large organization but occurs as a lot of work for people just wanting to connect because they have a common interest, not necessarily a common goal. Online connections are quickly being distilled down to niche communities (not growing larger) where conversations happen in a real-time flow. Conversations in real life do not have common goals, agendas, or even start with a question. To me, forcing that structure online repels intimacy. Unless, of course, the platform is specifically designed for

    The comment thread mentions Intense Debate and Disqus – do you consider them to be competitors? What about online forum providers like Ning and BlogFrog?

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am one of the founders of BlogFrog (www.theblogfrog.com) , a tech company that allows site owners to add an instant community.

    Looking forward to seeing how the beta and launch go!

    • http://yoomoot.com Nicolas Holzapfel

      yoomoot isn’t best suited for all kinds of conversations. If you just want to have a free-flowing chat and you don’t care about achieving a particular goal or creating a useful information resource, yoomoot isn’t the right tool. So yoomoot can happily co-exist with other forum-providers facilitating a different kind of community.

      “Conversations in real life do not have common goals, agendas, or even start with a question”

      I have to say I totally disagree with this. Right now there are millions of people, offline and online, having passionate conversations about politics, sport, philosophy, the latest tech products and science. All of these conversations, and many more, are centred around questions. Is the new coalition government a good thing? Are Android phones going to rival the iPhone? How can back pain be alleviated? etc etc. These conversations are focused on discerning truth, and yoomoot is great for those kind of conversations.

  • http://businesskaki.com/flame-wars-valleywag-vs-steve-jobs/ Flame Wars: Valleywag vs. Steve Jobs | BusinessKaki.com

    […] conversation on the web with the aim of helping “good ideas get found,” reports TechCrunch. Instead of messy discussion forums and comment threads, yoomoot will stick to a defined […]

  • TK

    If you’re looking to organize and streamline your team’s conversations, check out Braintrust, a social collaboration tool for teams.

    We’ve combined the timeless elements of discussion forums and coupled it with a user experience we’ve come to demand from social tools.


  • TK
  • http://wpparty.com/2010/05/26/yoomoot-wants-to-improve-the-conversation/ yoomoot wants to improve the conversation - wpparty.com

    […] yoomoot wants to improve the conversation […]

  • http://www.small-business-insurancela.com/flame-wars-valleywag-vs-steve-jobs-2/ Flame Wars: Valleywag vs. Steve Jobs | Small Business Insurance Finder

    […] conversation on the web with the aim of helping “good ideas get found,” reports TechCrunch. Instead of messy discussion forums and comment threads, yoomoot will stick to a defined […]

  • http://www.blaablaa.com Angeline Rhudy

    There is apparently a bundle to realize about this. I feel you made certain nice points in features also.

  • http://oixjvew.com Dierdre Kienzle

    lol nice site, very well done. It’s looking like something I would make hahaha.

  • http://www.findthebestwaytoloseweight.blog.com Herschel Caliman

    I totally agree with your perception on this topic. Not everyone realizes that this can improve our lifestyles immensely. It’s fine cause everybody will soon understand what this can do for us.

  • A2022750
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