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The Next Chapter for Experts Exchange

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Experts Exchange. Experts Exchange has been long known as a great question and answer website, but this reputation has been declining. At our peak, members were asking and solving over 35,000 questions per month.  Along with great success comes competitors and outside threats to a business. This led to us making hard business decisions like adding a paywall and  increasing membership prices. These decisions did not hold pace as the internet continued to grow and free information became more readily available. Experts Exchange has now lost its ground with lower traffic levels in Google that result in a current norm of about 5,600 questions per month.
 
Experts Exchange needs to change to become a relevant and growing company once again. With this in mind, we created a new mission statement:
 
“We connect you with people and information to solve problems, inspire learning and influence the future of technology”
 
The core of our business is helping people solve their problems. With this they begin to learn. We want to continue to build Experts Exchange into a place where people can learn and better influence the future of technology. What is unique about our site is that we have the power to impact people's lives and the world around us simply by providing them with a piece of knowledge. That’s what is rewarding and motivates us to be better.
 
Over the last 12 months, we have been working with a large goal in mind: Make question and answers free.
 
We recognize that question and answers, the core of our business and revenue, is not something that we can continue to charge for.
 
As a result, we have been preparing to fund the question and answer revenue side of our business by creating new products such as Live, Gigs, and Careers as well as the Vendor Product Suite. Our primary revenue shift to the Vendor Product Suite and advertising will  allow us to remove the obstacles that have caused our business to decline (paywall, membership fees, etc.).
 
In addition, we are actively working on the following projects to support the site when we make questions and answers free:
 
Q&A Processes
We want to make sure that the experts get rewarded for participating on the site. The first issue we are addressing is authors abandoning their questions. This is likely to increase when they can ask questions for free. As a result, we are going to be introducing community verified solutions, where participants and community members can verify the solution to a question. Additionally, in 2017, we plan to implement a new point redemption process where points can earn more than a badge and t-shirt. Points will be redeemed for other items or donations to worldwide charities that Experts Exchange is a part of, such as The Water Project.

Gamification

Our current game system served us well for many years, however it needs to be revamped to address current user’s needs and adapt to the re-aligned mission statement. The focus of our new gamification system, or more accurately our Human Centered Design approach, will be on actions that are meaningful to all participants.  As you continue to contribute we hope to increase the number of smiling faces behind those monitors and decrease the frustration and “facepalms”.

Profiles

Our profiles have become outdated and need to be improved to help represent members professionally.
 
Courses
To further enhance learning on Experts Exchange, we will be introducing Courses. Not only will this be another form of learning, course instructors can set the price of their course and earn money.
 
Live Hourly Rates
Allow members to set their hourly rate on Live so they can get paid for their experience level.
 
We are dedicated to making this company successful for another 20+ years. In order to do this we need to start making changes to stay relevant in the marketplace.

We have a lot of work ahead of us and we hope you will join us in our mission.
View Previous CommentsLoad All Comments (57)
 
Rank: Genius

Expert Comment

Eirman2016-08-24 11:40 AMID: 1931677
On the face of it, it seems to me, that free questions, degrade EE to just being another free Q&A forum -
and there's plenty of them about.

If I no longer need to collect 3k points to have my questions answered,
why should I bother answering any questions?

To date, I haven't used any of the premium features that will now require 10k points,
so why should I bother. Anyhow, earning 10k points will become much easier with loads of
newbie members ask basic/silly questions.

There is still time to rethink this drastic restructuring of the current business model.
(e.g. A basic annual fee for asking questions)
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Rank: Genius

Expert Comment

Nick672016-08-24 12:21 PMID: 1931682
I poked at service levels a little bit a day or two ago, and the old limitations were still shown in some places and not others.
Gene:  In the ISO 9001:2008 world it's called change management, and it's kind of important that change is planned, tested and rolled out.
https://www.experts-exchange.com/rewards.jsp#freemembership
Still listing 3,000 and 50,000 for free Premium Membership

This is now broken
https://www.experts-exchange.com/plansAndPricing.jsp
when you view the comparison table.
The three buttons don't change the features content, they result in a re-direct.brokenSo neither logged-in or logged out users can see the difference between the various types of memberships.
On Monday, after the email you sent I went looking for what Premium Service gets me.
At that point in time (Mon 22-Aug-2106 9:15 MDT) the Basic one Q, ten views, Next tier 3 Q's unlimited views, and whole enchillada were still listed.
That is now gone -- but just broken, not new and informative.
Nor is there dating information about WHEN the changes took effect.

Bad show! as Captain Hook would say.

There have been suggestions made about mechanisms to ensure that the ability to ask Q's has value to the Asker.
Perhaps these are under consideration?
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Rank: Sage

Expert Comment

Kyle Santos2016-08-24 12:39 PMID: 1931684
Hi Nick,

Did you see this discussion yet?
https://www.experts-exchange.com/discussions/217850/August-September-2016-Updates.html
Qualified Expert changes are slated to begin in September.

The three buttons don't change the features content, they result in a re-direct.
Yes.  To see the comparison table toggle the + icons on the left, under 'Features'.  By default, the comparisons are minimized to showcase the features first.
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Rank: Genius

Expert Comment

Nick672016-08-24 12:58 PMID: 1931688
Sigh.
https://www.experts-exchange.com/plansAndPricing.jsp
On Monday, I don't think it worked that way.  But I could be wrong.
The Basic tab has been removed.
There's no indication that the page has recently changed to flag previous visitors that newness is on the go.
The + icon, for me was not intuitive.  How many others make the same mistake?
Compare that page with
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/sql-server-comparison

and then there's the lack of unity with
https://www.experts-exchange.com/register.jsp
And nothing on that page for the side-by-each comparison

It's a hot mess that confuses even very smart folks.

That's my two cents, anyway.
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Rank: Sage

Expert Comment

Kyle Santos2016-08-24 01:12 PMID: 1931691
On Monday, I don't think it worked that way.  But I could be wrong.
I'm going to venture that you saw what you saw and it was changed.  Why?  We do our releases on Mondays.  I believe you saw a discrepancy and it was 'fixed' the same day.  =)

Thank you for identifying our opportunities with our plans and pricing and registration pages.  I will partner with Brenae to let her know of the areas you have a concern about.  We appreciate your time on this.  Have a good one.
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Expert Comment

Rob Jurd2016-08-24 10:10 PMID: 1931744
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