I'm Looking For An "Ask Me A Question" Blog Link/Widget

A friend has asked me to help them with a new blog series. Each week this blogger will select a question submitted by their audience and answer it.

I'd like to put a Q&A link/widget on their blog to collect the questions from the audience.

I like what they do on Ask the VC and am looking into how they do that.

But I'd love to see what else is out there for this kind of thing.

If you've come across something like this on blogs that you like or if you use something like this on your blog, please let me know about it in the comments.



Comments (Archived):

  1. damiansen

    tumblr has it “natively”

    1. fredwilson

      yes they do

    2. Rob Sobers

      +1. I like the way tumblr does it.

    3. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      that was my initial thought as well!!

  2. ajhai

    Google moderator https://www.google.com/mode… ? Android team is using this tool to collect questions for their weekly Google+ hangouts with developers.

    1. fredwilson

      great suggestion. thanks.

    2. Trish Fontanilla

      I was going to say that or even a Google form? Totally not fancy, but that way it can feed into Google docs and then he can add a separate tab and turn that into his editorial calendar.

    1. fredwilson

      cool. will do.

      1. Austin Clements

        Agree, VYou would be perfect for this sort of thing. Questions are searchable so you wont repeat the same thing over and over.

  3. Jacob C. Donnelly

    I think that what Ask the VC is using is just a simple contact form. So, if typepad has a plugin that enables a contact form, you could go that route. Or, you could just create a simple HTML contact form (such as here: http://www.mycontactform.com/) and have that put into your sidebar. Sorry I couldn’t be more help; I’m not native to this CMS.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks. i will check that out

    2. LE

      What’s interesting is that people have built businesses out of doing something that is simple to do with basic skills and normal website hosting regardless of whether you have a plugin or not. Which is more or less the way the entire internet works. You get paid for what you know how to do, the hard cost of doing it is really knowledge, not anything tangible. Like being good in bed.Take http://wufoo.com/signup/ for example. They are charging from $14.95 to $199.95 per month for essentially collecting form data and putting it in a DB for you.(The free account only gets you 100 entries per month.)Surveymonkey bought wufoo last year:http://www.surveymonkey.com…Traffic stats:http://siteanalytics.compet…Another simple option for doing this is to create the form and simply have it mailto a new gmail account you create just for that purpose rather than put it in a database. That way you can see the questions in email format.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks!is it wordpress only?

  4. Cam MacRae

    Embed a formspring.me widget?

    1. fredwilson

      but then the questions and answers are public, right?

      1. Cam MacRae

        not necessarily, but if it’s protected being able to ask a question depends on you being friends.

      2. Cam MacRae

        Perhaps Wufoo would be better?

  5. William Mougayar

    I just saw this on Kelly’s blog this morning actually. It’s a Tumblr but it seems to be enabled by Disqus. Don’t know how it’s done http://27kelly.tumblr.com/ask

    1. fredwilson

      Thanks. I will check it out

    2. andyidsinga

      Umm – william you’ve got 18 msgs waiting for you on disqus – chop chop – oh now its 19 ;p

      1. William Mougayar

        How did you know that? True. I’m chomping at them via Engagio 🙂

        1. andyidsinga

          I pay attention to the little things – the bright spots, if you will, the color that pops out of corner of your eye . its a numbers thing <lol>;) orange you going to ask me more? [hehe]

          1. William Mougayar

            You’re Canadian, eh? That’s why!

          2. andyidsinga


    3. Abdallah Al-Hakim

      I have had that feature on my tumblr blog for a long time – it has never been used 🙁 In my case, it was one of the options that came with custom blog page that I used

    1. andyidsinga

      I was going to suggest same thing – I’m pretty sure Seth Godin does this too from time to time 🙂

    2. fredwilson

      I thought about. I don’t love getting the output in spreadsheet form

    1. fredwilson

      Sadly its on typepad

  6. Peggy Wallace

    Honestly Now has the perfect widget. See mine at http://www.goldenseeds.com/… and another example at http://www.gamification.co/. Would love to see you use our widget Fred. Peggy Wallace Interim CEO Honestly Now, Managing Director Golden Seeds

    1. fredwilson

      That might work. I will check it out

  7. awaldstein

    Not to be facetious but why not simply ask without the widget?If you have a huge audience, like this community, ideas and suggestions, will simply come as they do. You don’t need a tool to gather the data.If you have a small audience with little developed street cred or if you are not a celeb of some part, will anyone really ask?I know the rationale of anonymity is the driver behind this but I’ve never felt compelled to ask a question. I always wonder if they don’t publish the questioner whether there really was one.Never been a fan or user of Q & A formats. Probably the corner case here.

    1. William Mougayar

      I was thinking the same Arnold actually. I would place an Email link on the webpage and embed the auto subject as “Ask me”, so you can clearly see them and sort them in your Email client.

  8. Forrest Fixx

    @smashingmag: Human.io: lets you create and instantly deploy tiny mobile apps with just a few lines of code – human.io #useful

  9. kidmercury

    IMHO this type of stuff has to be core to the content management system. i.e. disqus/typepad needs to build it for maximum awesomeness.

    1. Max Yoder

      Kid, will you be in Chicago September 22nd?

      1. kidmercury

        i’ll be in new york for a wedding then, but i get back to chicago on the 23rd.

        1. Max Yoder

          Bummer. Well I’ll shoot you an email and find out what time you’re getting back on Sunday. Would love to grab a chair with you.

        2. CJ

          Kid, you live in the Chi? We gotta grab coffee one day!

    2. fredwilson

      Agreed. Tumblr has I natively

    3. andyidsinga

      I’ve been thinking that disqus should have more real-time features tooHere’s a laundry list of recent brain farts for disqus:- hang-out widget – with CB-style half-duplex audio or even just off the record real-time text chat for those “hanging out on the post now”- UI Themes labs – so people can hack & re-theme the comment UI and share their themes. Probably get some pretty cool mobile themes quick.- “audio reply button” – for instance : http://soundcloud.com/andyi

      1. fredwilson

        great list andy

  10. Walker

    The best example of the Q and A model that I know is “dear sugar” hosted on the daily rumpus run by Stephen Elliot. I have always wonder how Sugar (Cheryl Strayed, another of “wild – from lost to found on the pacific crest trail” ) solicited the questions. Perhaps as simple as asking people to send her an e mail? I beleive your friend’s e mail address is shown on the blog already.

  11. Max Yoder

    Hey Fred, I’d imagine the folks at Formspring would be happy to set you up or customize something for you if their basic offering doesn’t suit your fancy. My friend, Mike, works there; I’ll have him hop on this thread to see if he can help.

    1. Mike Preuss

      Hey @fredwilson:disqus – Mike from Formspring here. We have an easy iframe copy/paste widget. You can customize color/size and embed. Questions are private in your inbox and no one else can see. They only become public if you choose to respond. More than happy to help mike at formspring dot com.

      1. fredwilson

        Sounds perfectI will email you MikeMax Yoder to the rescue!

        1. Max Yoder

          Ha, we’re still a long way from even. Hope it works out. Happy Labor Day weekend, all.

    2. fredwilson

      Thanks max. I am going to check out formspring. I need an anonymous and private solution

    1. fredwilson


    2. andyidsinga

      i went to one of @cdixon ‘s formspring Q&A thingys once .. it was actually pretty cool![edit by ‘actually pretty cool’ …I meant the formspring UI etc – cdixons stuff is always good regardless of forum ]

  12. Marc Lizoain

    I’d like to share that Andrew Sullivan, America’s best political blogger, has been using Urtak for this purpose for months. Here’s an example – http://andrewsullivan.theda… – and here’s the archive of the great content he’s produced from it: http://www.thedailybeast.co

    1. fredwilson

      Can it be anonymous and private?

      1. Marc Lizoain

        Absolutely. No participant (not even you) will know who asked the questions and who answered them.

        1. fredwilson

          I will check it out

          1. Marc Lizoain

            Fantastic. Let me know how I can help.

  13. Emil Sotirov

    I’d do the following (no widget needed):1. create a “My answers” category in my blog,2. make a single post titled “Ask me a question”… with a single sentence in it telling people to post their questions as comments under the post,3. put a link in the blog sidebar to that post + a link to the “My answers” category,4. post my answers as normal posts under the “My answers” category.

    1. fredwilson

      That would work for sure

      1. Ian Gertler

        Great response, Emil — that’s exactly what I was thinking. If you wanted to go to a next step, you could probably embed a Formspring question in the site as well. I think the first real question is what platform is the site hosted on? Why? If it’s something like WordPress, there could certainly be a plug-in out there already to make this as simple as clicking install.

  14. Sheryl Schultz

    Honestly Now has a simple widget, designed specifically for this purpose. Golden Seeds uses it (and Honestly Now is a portfolio company). The Today Show blogged about it last week – you can read what they wrote on the Honestly Now blog: http://tiny.cc/11q0jw

    1. fredwilson

      yeah, but its public only. i want this to be private.

      1. Peggy Wallace

        The product has the capability of being private too. Let’s talk. Peggy

  15. Shyam Subramanyan

    People have used List.ly for this – check this page for crowdsourcing topic suggestion for a conference using a Listly widget – http://www.toddrhoades.com/… . Audience can either add to the list and/or vote on items suggested by others. Crowd + Curation + Engagement for blogs.

  16. Techman

    You could create a form for this. Jotform is pretty good; I use it at my website.

  17. John Revay

    “I’d like to put a Q&A link/widget on their blog to collect the questions from the audience.”Would you ever put something on AVC…I often want to share/suggest topics w/ you….. generally I don’t want to email them to you – you get too much email already…I sometimes will try and suggest a topic in a tread – just thought you could add something on the site / nav.

    1. fredwilson

      maybe. let’s see how this thing my friend is doing. that will be telling to me.

  18. Eric Leebow

    AnswerBase does exactly what you’re asking for, although it might be a little advanced as a full Q&A Site. Check out Widgets and Widget Builders on this page: http://AnswerBase.com/Overv

    1. fredwilson

      thanks Eric

  19. Austin Rory Hackett

    Hi Fred! I’m currently at The Brandery accelerator program building a platform for crowdsourced Q&A called CrowdHall. We’ll be coming out soon with an embeddable component where the blog audience could post and then vote for the best question each week. It can be anonymized, but the questions would be visible. I’d love to chat about it if it could be useful: austin at crowdhall dot com

    1. Dave Knox

      I just wanted to second the solution that CrowdHall is building. Austin and his team have created a really interesting platform and one of the use cases is exactly what you have outlined above.

    2. fredwilson

      hi Austin. i think you will be just a bit too late for this. it’s launching as soon as tomorrow.

    1. fredwilson

      yes, we met with them actually

  20. Daman Bahner

    Zoho form is quite easy to create too, though I imagine the formspring will be a little more suited to the genre. Good luck 🙂

  21. Pravin J

    Random thoughts – wondered why About.me or Quora do not have such widget; that could be plugged on user’s blog. About.me has a ‘Email’ option that allows sending email to the profile owner. Ask Me A Question might serve the same use case.

    1. fredwilson

      thanks. i will check it out

  22. Sean Killeen

    One option (though I’m not sure it’s the best) would be to create a Formspring (http://formspring.me) account. They have widgets you can insert to ask a question, and users can follow you / see your responses. I think it’s a workable alternative if you’re not on a platform that enables questions natively (e.g. Tumblr). Every once in a while when Sacca has a few minutes to kill he’ll do a session over there and I’ve really appreciated seeing his answers to questions.Addendum: Formspring has options to allow anyone to ask you a question but only people you list as friends to be able to view your answers. Could solve your private-only requirement.

    1. fredwilson

      That’s what I’m thinking too

  23. Colm Brophy

    Hi Fred,Not an answer but the title sparked a thought, and I wondered had you considered doing an AMA on reddit. While you’re excellent at replying to comments and questions here I’m sure there are a lot of people who would be interested in asking you a question in the wider internet community.

  24. prsarahevans

    Hi Fred. Our team has something I think you’ll like. Tracky (www.tracky.com) is an open social collaboration platform and can also be integrated in a blog. Shown here, we used Tracky to create a form on my WordPress blog (using a plugin). Whenever someone submits it populates within Tracky and immediately notifies me. When I respond in the comments it notifies the recipient. I can organize all queries within the tracks, assign others to complete them, mark them complete, assign a deadline, tweet them, etc… If you have any questions email [email protected] or call 224.789.8314. -@PRsarahevans

  25. Guest

    You make an Ask the VC page and the audience can post questions to the Disqus thread. We could upvote any questions or add subcategories to questions we liked. Once you post a response to a question just reply with a link to the post.

  26. William Mougayar

    Honestly, I haven’t seen the widget you mentioned, but I can see the value of course when there’s a high volume, required analytics behind it, and even potential integration with a CRM.I suspect Fred’s friend is looking for a very simple solution.

  27. fredwilson

    Why not?

  28. awaldstein

    You were well on your way to something powerful and connecting here.Must admit though that I never got the connecting power you mention from the consumer facing site. I got the core value not the cross web part.

  29. LE

    Agree. Just see starting off with email to a fresh gmail account as the quickest way to get up and running w/o worrying about anything more to do with even putting something into a database.Eh, how you say, uh, “mvp”.And, of course, as always, don’t forget to use the Tucks medicated wipes when taking any input:http://xkcd.com/327/

  30. fredwilson

    I’m looking for the hosted solution.

  31. fredwilson


  32. fredwilson

    That’s very helpful charlie. The public only thing is a non-starter

  33. Guest

    Yes we were very excited by its potential as we learned there are many larger site who can amp up their Q& A capability. I was eager to make the widgets free and frictionless for easy and scaled distribution. Currently you need to apply to be an expert.

  34. William Mougayar

    I couldn’t find that HonestlyNow widget that was referred here.

  35. awaldstein

    I’m all about threaded cross community tools to tie it all together as you know.This is more interesting to me than the simple Ask Me to me.

  36. awaldstein

    Agree. Someone should grab this and prove the market!

  37. fredwilson


  38. awaldstein

    I’m more curious than driven to discover them at this point but I’ll check some out.Honestly, when I think of the threads of the conversational web I still think of what Disqus could do and the rest as layers on big foundation.

  39. William Mougayar

    That explains it. Thanks!

  40. fredwilson

    yes, andy is making the call on that. it’s a good idea for #newusvdotcom