A localized incarnation of Ask.com? CBS Local Digital Media has launched its question and answers platform, a user-generated service where users can find info on a wide range of local topics on its 24 local websites. Visitors to sites such as CBSNewYork.com, CBSLosAngeles.com and CBSChicago.com can now ask and/or answer questions of interest to people in their markets.
The service provides opportunities for the audience to populate the sites with detailed local info on arts & entertainment, autos, dining, education, family & parenting, fashion, health, home improvement, local businesses, music, pets, politics, real estate, relationships, sports, technology, travel and weather.
The announcement was made by Ezra Kucharz, President, CBS Local Digital Media. Located on the navigation bar at the top of the page, the “Get Answers” tab is organized by category, and allows the option to ask a question, search for answers, or join one of the already established dialogues with information pertinent to the discussion. The most popular and highest-rated questions are listed in a separate highlighted section.
Says Kucharz, “In a time where it is increasingly difficult for consumers to cull through the endless amount of data available on the Web, we have created a simple way to provide them with the information most important as they go about their day – information from people who live in their neighborhoods and share similar interests. So the next time you’re looking to know the easiest way to get to Yankee Stadium, where the best place is to see a concert, or how to create the ultimate Fourth of July barbeque, it will be as easy as logging on to one of our websites for an assortment of unbiased opinions.”
Coinciding with the launch, visitors to CBS Local websites can enter a free national sweepstakes by participating in the process. During each of the next five weeks, CBS Local Media will present a $1,000 Amazon.com gift card to a randomly selected contributor to the local question and answers service. Users will receive an entry for each question they ask or answer.
RBR-TVBR observation: Sounds more like a hybrid of Ask.com and social media. Either way it gets the audience and online users more interactive with the sites and should increase clicks. Of course, like any social media play, its free advertising, so there will be those that over-hype their own local businesses via friends and family, as well as trash competing businesses.