Over the last 3 months, we took a long hard look at our past business strategies, decisions, and direction in order to effectively plan for our company’s future. In recent years, we’ve explored various strategies supporting free membership and the freelance economy. While this solved some membership needs, increased traffic, and retained members, we realized these initiatives moved us away from the core strength of this platform. We solve the world's technology problems through collaboration and learning. The driving force behind that? The question and answer (Q&A) system.
You may have already noticed that we’ve been putting a lot of work into the improvement of the Q&A system in order to provide a better service to all members of Experts Exchange. Along with that, we want to share our long-term plan for Experts Exchange and what you can expect from us over the next few years.
We are returning to our roots and will spend significant effort showcasing the expertise and accomplishments of our contributing members. This effort is fueling the development of the “Certified Professionals” program, built to show subscribers which experts are knowledgeable in their fields and endorsed by Experts Exchange. All new users who wish to reach expert levels will go through an application process, and will only be determined an expert after a vetting process. Users will be able to register and start commenting, but will not reach expert level until their application has been reviewed.
For existing experts, this change means we will be getting rid of the monthly point requirement for Qualified Expert status and assessing contributions on an annual basis instead. There will be two attainable levels above Verified Expert to indicate those who have proven themselves to be outstanding and well-known in their field. We plan to have this program completed by the third quarter of 2019, but you will start seeing some changes this year. We will also be creating an expert recruitment program to increase participation on the site and address topics where additional expertise is needed.
With the introduction of free members and the ability to ask questions as a free member in recent years, we’ve unfortunately seen a dramatic increase in spam. We have also seen a decrease in the quality of participation on the site. This not only devalues Experts Exchange as a company, but can diminish the perception of high-quality professionals who contribute to Experts Exchange. Going forward, only vetted experts and paying subscribers will be able to fully participate on the site.
For all that you do on Experts Exchange, we want to promote you as an expert in your field. We don’t want to focus on trinkets or “another T-shirt”, rather we want to put that effort towards promoting your expertise and high-ranking achievements, like the most recent Expert Awards Trophies. We will be creating a Hall of Fame and inducting inaugural members in 2020. The current Hall of Fame is made up of users who earned points over a specific threshold, but we know there is so much more to our top contributors than points. In the spirit of celebrating our experts and their contributions, we plan to enhance and relaunch our annual Core Conference and quarterly regional conferences by 2020.
Also in recent years, we have added many new features and products that have, in some cases, detracted from the core strength of the site. We intend to clean out some low-use features and hone user experiences that are in need of attention. For example, the workspace will get a much-needed revision and Expert Website Testing will only be used for feedback on Experts Exchange.
Our continuing goal is to be recognized as the professional technology solution provider we are today and to increase our level of service to best serve users like you.
Director of Customer Service & Community Relations