I admit it. I was skeptical when I got a pitch about the umpteenth social-networking site, one that also serves as a question-and-answer site, especially when I learned the target age demographic is 22 to 28 and the site is--not ironically--called Wis.dm. After learning more, I'm thinking they may be on to something interesting. But it's probably going to be more about market research and advertising than community.
Basically, people ask questions that can be answered with a "yes" or a "no," and other people answer. You have to register to ask and answer questions. The site, which launched publicly on Tuesday, is free.
The system keeps a tally of what percentage of the people answer in which direction. People can also provide comments, which is where the real entertainment comes in, as some can be funny and insightful.
Questions include everything from the inane--"Do you own more than one pair of Chuck Taylor All-Stars?" and "Would you steal candy from a baby?"--to questions likely to provoke more thought and discussion, like "Should President Bush be impeached?" and "Is reading for pleasure becoming a lost art?"
The site even has a feature that shows you which other members you are most compatible with based on your answers. Whether that leads to any amorous connections, who knows. (As a side note, the founder and chief executive, Martin Clifford, founded Udate.com, which was sold to Match.com). Clifford has dubbed Wis.dm a "network for the curious."
So far it sounds slightly intriguing, if you happen to be the kind of person who likes to answer polls and who has a lot of time to spare. However, there are bound to be enough such people to make the site valuable as a market research tool. Wis.dm is talking to traditional publishers and others about powering polls for them.
The site also should do well for targeted advertising because it builds profiles of members based on their answers and comments. Wis.dm can "create a perfect buyer persona for a brand," Clifford says. The site could even provide product and business recommendations and offer local business listings or sponsorship, he says.
So, is Wis.dm really just an advertising wolf masquerading as a social-network sheep? I think I'll ask the site.