How successful has the Private Q&A option been so far?
Free up resources
It’s expensive and time-consuming to answer the same questions over and over. By making the right information searchable, your private Stack Overflow community serves as the centralized source-of-truth, allowing your entire team to focus on building better software.
The product is divided into three plans; private team, business and enterprise and sold at three different prices.
I am most interested in knowing about its most economic option, private team, the annual subscription means a client has to pay $5 per user per month, this plan also includes a free 14 day trial.
Has the venture proven to be successful or is it still early days?
My reason for asking is two-fold.
- First, last year's “left nav, responsive design” was fundamentally a business decision. Stack Exchange provided sites with a consistent look and a standardized platform for its potential clients. In fact, the product page specifically says
Unlimited questions and answers in a searchable archive
Every Q&A post is indexed and easy to search, and you can export your data at any time. Built on Stack Overflow’s flagship Q&A engine, the platform 50 million users know and trust for answers.
One of its selling points is the following
A challenge for teams of all sizes is ramping up new coworkers fast without taking up too much of everyone’s time. Give the newest members of your team instant access to everything they need to know in your private Stack Overflow community.
The aforementioned redesign, affected each and every site on SE, and it had varying degrees of success. Some sites heaved a sigh of relief when key elements of their favourite themes were preserved, while other users were upset with the new layout; high-rep and low-rep users alike expressed dissatisfaction with the company's decision, their favourite site had either lost its unique identity and appeared blander or the responsive design just made a site objectively uglier.
Some of these sites had beautiful designs previously and now have a less striking look. Unsurprisingly, the response to these changes has been
somewhatvery negative. source
In any case, users across the network had no choice but to accept the simplified theme. In fairness, some users were very supportive of the Ch-ch-ch-changes , but overall the subsequent transition was not handled well by SE and community managers had to defend the reasons behind the new responsive design in a torrent of criticisms and heavy downvotes.
- My second reason for asking is dictated by an initiative announced recently by Juan M♦, SE's Community Manager since 2015.
From the opening paragraph:
[…] However, as we've continued to grow, the resources needed to maintain our network have also increased. Thanks entirely to the efforts of the network's communities, we have become an amazing resource on the Internet. Generating revenue from non-technology sites will enable us to dedicate more resources to meeting your needs so this is good news!
The announcement was not received well, as of today it has 189 downvotes and 70 upvotes but the announcement is neither asking for users' blessing nor stamp of approval, it is only asking for their cooperation. The backlash has been surprising for me, why should users downvote a post asking its community members to keep an eagle eye on spammy, intrusive or misleading ads? If you want to find out, I suggest visiting the page. The experiment, started in May of this year, however, will continue regardless.
Could it be that this experiment is a sign that the Private Q&A venture has not taken off? Or maybe it has not generated the revenue that the team was hoping for, hence the economic necessity to sell advertising space on non-technology sites.
Possibly following Google's lead, we all know that Google's products (Gmail, Google maps, YouTube and Google Play) are all ‘free’ but the multi-billion company sells “advertising opportunities” on the search pages that we use every day.
Charging for every click
The attraction of the service to advertisers is they can target advertising at Google users who have already expressed an interest in what the advertiser sells and ignore Google users who have not. This is known as contextual advertising.
How successful has Stack Exchange (or is it Stack Overflow's?) product been so far or is it still early days?
Thank you for reaching the end of this long post. I wish to emphasise that I am genuinely interested in knowing the answer.