Has Quora Peaked?

This chart of traffic to Quora from Google Trends suggests that interest in Quora hit a peak in mid January and has fallen off sharply since then. I thought they did a great job of building not only interest but in getting interesting, cool, knowledgeable people in early on, so as content grew in size and quality, so did people’s appetite for invites. But what happens next?

Is there a danger that the more people come on board, the less impressive the content? Is Quora an example of how social media doesn’t always scale? (I’m beginning to ask the same question of comments on news websites, which have deteriorated markedly in the past couple of years.)

Anyway, I wish Quora luck, but I suspect one plank in their platform is going to have to be mobile. I want to be able to look at Quora and ask questions of it on the move, and right now, at least on Android, it’s only a third party app that lets me do that.

How to Data Roam on the Cheap

This week’s column in the WSJ is about finding cheap data roaming connections on the road. I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t very successful, and hope readers may have better luck than I. But here in the meantime are some suggestions:

Free WiFi connections:

  • AnchorFree offers free WiFi hotspots via partners, in return for ads. Good idea, but poor website.
  • Fon allows members to get free WiFi from other members in returning for sharing their own. Non members can buy WiFi cheaply. More here.

WiFi roaming services

  • iPass Not cheap, but you might already have an account if you have a broadband connection. Check out via your ISP’s website or by checking out the reseller locator link.
  • Boingo offers three packages – Unlimited (North America only; $22 a month), Global ($40 a month) or AsYouGO ($8 within North America, $10 globally.) Once again, you may already have an account if you have a broadband or a mobile broadband account elsewhere.

Alliances

  • Wireless Broadband Alliance (site not active at the moment) supposedly offers a wireless broadband roaming to members of more than 25 service providers, but until the site comes back up I can’t really confirm this. StarHub says it’s a member, and that subscribers to its cellular, broadband or even TV services can use sister WiFi connections for free.
  • Conexus is an alliance of seven operators in Asia which promises flat-rate per-day data roaming. This is good news but won’t be ready until next year (2008).
  • BridgeAlliance an alliance of 11 operators in Asia which offers Bridge DataRoam, a one-flat rate across 11 territories: Airtel (India), AIS (Thailand), CSL (Hong Kong), CTM (Macau), Globe Telecom (Philippines), Maxis (Malaysia), SK Telecom (Korea), SingTel Mobile (Singapore), SingTel Optus (Australia), Taiwan Mobile (Taiwan) and Telkomsel (Indonesia). Four more will be added in the next few weeks: Maxis in Malaysia, SK Telecom in Korea, Singtel Optus in Australia and CSL in Hong Kong. Plans are US$30 for 15MB (Bridge DataRoam15) or US$60 for 40MB (Bridge DataRoam40).

Odds and ends

  • If you have a UK bank account you could sign up for vodafone’s Mobile Broadband service which costs £9.99 per 24 hrs (500 MB limit).