Rewarder Powering New eBay Classifieds ‘Wanted’ Section

EBay Classifieds is adding a new “Wanted” section that will be supported by Rewarder. I first wrote about Rewarder shortly after its public launch in October, 2012.

Broadly speaking, Rewarder is an expert or knowledge marketplace (or Q&A site if you prefer). People publish questions and pay a small reward (usually $5 or $10 to someone who provides the “winning” answer). Some rewards can be substantially larger but the end user has control over the amount offered.

Rewarder co-founder and CEO Kendall Fargo — who founded StepUp Commerce, which later sold to Intuit — told me that 90% of questions or queries on the site are knowledge based and about 10% of questions are seeking products or items.

Rewarder now has over 750,000 experts or providers in a wide range of categories. The company identifies areas of provider expertise and routes questions to them accordingly.

eBay Classifieds Wanted

The new eBay “Wanted” section in its classifieds marketplace is entirely powered by Rewarder. This is where people ask questions or express needs for items or services. One of the things this new area will do for eBay is enable a look at demand — “what are people seeking/asking about?” Assuming a meaningful level of usage this kind of data is extremely valuable.

In the real example below someone is asking a question about a high-end coffee grinder and is willing to pay $4.00 for the answer.

eBay Rewarder

On its site Rewarder suggests a default amount (reward) by type of question and category, but most don’t rise above $10. The process and functionality being presented on eBay Classifieds are identical to those on the Rewarder site.

Rewarder has been pretty quiet for the past year or so. But it has slowly been building usage and a roster of “experts” (who are essentially category enthusiasts and “prosumers”). Rewarder is not unlike the old Google Answers or a more evolved version of Aardvark, which Google bought and shuttered.

Fargo told me that since the launch of its mobile app not long ago the company has seen 75% of its usage coming from the app. The company was fortunate to have been featured in the App Store (without warning) and saw its downloads spike accordingly.

An impressive thing about Rewarder, as I wrote some time ago, is that has apparently surmounted the two-sided marketplace “cold start problem.” And unlike competitive Q&A site Quora, which still doesn’t really have a model, Rewarder’s revenues are transactional and built organically into the process — rather than advertising or sponsorship based, which rely on traffic volumes to generate revenue.

It doesn’t cost anything to post a question (you have to register first). But if you want to see the responses you need to pay the reward. Each person asking questions chooses a “winner,” who gets paid.

Fargo said that most questions are answered within six hours. Over time he expects that to compress greatly, down to within minutes.

Rewarder takes its cut from the reward amount paid. And because Rewarder doesn’t use an advertising model, the company doesn’t try to save costs by recycling previously published responses, as would an Answers.com or ChaCha.

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