The partner program is quite interesting, in that it operates like a revenue share program the same way sites like Hubpages pay their writers. Some of you may remember when these programs were everywhere, 5-10 years ago. A huge portion of them folded and closed back in 2011, primarily due to Google’s Panda update. Since most of these sites relied on pageview monetization via hundreds of thousands of thin, keyword-optimized pages, Panda’s move to higher quality content crushed them.
It’s interesting to me, then, that Quora has decided to start up this kind of business model in 2018. Their site often relies on mediocre questions with a ton of answers from businesses shilling their own services. So let’s look at their FAQ and see what information we can gather from it.
There is no limit to the money you can make from the Quora partner program. That’s the first question in their FAQ, and it’s plainly stated. As long as you can ask questions that meet their minimum standards and get answers that meet their quality bar, you’ll get paid.
How do you get paid? Right now, Quora is linked with Stripe, and nothing else. You can’t get paid by check or Paypal, Stripe is the only option. You don’t have to link up an account right away, but once you have earned $5 from your questions, you’ll be given the option to do so. However, you haven’t issued a payment until you’ve racked up at least $10. Once your account reaches $10, you will be sent that money each month. Well, they will “send it to you within 60 days” at least.
What this says to me is that a lot of accounts are going to start up their partnerships, ask a few questions, earn $5-9, and never reach the payment threshold. Quora gain content and doesn’t have to pay for it. Oh, I’m sure plenty of other people will reach payout thresholds, it’s not like Quora will cut you off, but every kind of partner program of this sort ends up having loads of cash that is never cashed out. It’s just the nature of minimum payouts.
As of right now, the Quora Partner Program is invite-only. You can’t apply to join it, you just need to use the site and get invited. People who are invited can’t invite other people as of yet, I don’t know if they’ll add referrals or anything in the future.
What’s odd is that Quora doesn’t seem to have certain standards for inviting people. It seems to be largely random. I know two people who have Quora accounts but have never asked or answered a question but were still invited to join the program.
I suppose this could be a two-fold push for Quora. They might be pushing to get more content by incentivizing it, while also pushing to get more active users the same way. If they can hook people who haven’t used the site by paying them a few bucks, it’d be worth it for their bottom line. At the very least, it would make them look better for investors.
As of now, the Quora partner program is only open to residents of the U.S. who are eligible to work in the country, and it’s only available in the English-language sections of the site. Once the pilot program expands, I imagine they will open it up to other languages and countries, but for now, it’s quite restricted.
Quora Partner Compensation
Here’s where things get a little hazy. How does Quora decide how much to pay, and what do they pay for?
First of all, Quora only pays for asked questions. You cannot earn money by answering questions, presumably because they know a ton of people is already just using the site to shill their own businesses. There’s no sense in paying people to use your platform for advertising, that’s just not how it works.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Quora introduced some kind of paid advertising to further shill answers as promoted answers. They already have advertising, but another layer of it wouldn’t be all that out of place. That’s just pure speculation on my part, though.
How much does Quora pay? They won’t say. What they do say is that “Questions are compensated based on how well-answered they are and how many people find them interesting.”
What this says to me are two things. First, it’s going to be a lower number than you might want, but because it’s just asking questions, you don’t need to spend a ton of time on it, so the returns might be worthwhile. Second, it’s going to lead to a lot of the same sort of black hat abuse that you see on social networks and other, similar sites. If upvotes matter, people will spring up selling upvotes. Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me if there are Fiverr sellers mobilizing their botnets already.
Oh, and anonymous asks do not count. Since you ask a question anonymously, it’s not tied to your account, and thus Quora won’t be able to credit your account with the question. There’s no real problem with this, it’s just worth mentioning.
It’s also worth noting that you only earn on questions for four weeks. You can’t build up lifetime value on questions, because you only make money for the first month after you ask them. This is yet another way that Quora is exploiting their community: they incentivize askers to ask great questions and encourage as much value as possible as quickly as possible. This then makes those posts rank well in Google for those subjects, boosting Quora as a whole. They can then keep monetizing those questions after they stop paying you, and rake in more value overall