AnswerHub’s story begins in the mid-90s when the founder of DZone, Rick Ross, recognized the need for developer communication and also saw an opportunity to solve this need using the internet, a new tool at the time. He set up a community site called Javalobby for developer-focused news and information where anyone could come for free and get information.
Ross had no idea how popular this idea would become and soon after going live, the site went viral. The new developer community loved having a platform to speak about technology from their point of view, rather than the traditional corporate view.
DZone’s roots came from being very active in Java technology communities, as new programming languages sprouted and grew, we decided to reach beyond a Java focus and speak to more developers. DZone now has many communities dedicated to topics such as NoSQL, Windows Phone, HTML5, .NET and Big Data. Over the years, the community grew to cover more developer topics and appeal to a wider audience, becoming DZone, or Developer Zone, in 2006.
In the mid-2000’s, Ross attended a party with his wife and was in a conversation about homeschooling and how difficult it is to find distributed information. Parents of home-schooled children were complaining about needing to get answers to their questions like:
- Inspiring books regarding homeschooling.
- How to calculate credit hours?
- Recommended algebra course materials for gifted students.
- Data available on homeschoolers getting into college.
All these questions led Ross and co-founder Matt Schmidt to develop an open source question and answer solution, called OSQA. OSQA now powers thousands of Q&A communities, including Homeschool Help Desk.
The response OSQA saw from the online community was large, and with new industries and business segments unfolding like the social business industry, Ross and Schmidt decided to go back to the drawing board and develop a powerful Q&A solution that could support communities with hundreds of thousands of users suitable for enterprise-level customers.
While developing their new platform, they discovered different sets of needs that could be addressed, they saw the fork in their path and decided to take it. With their expertise and history in community building, DZone released a new product called AnswerHub. This new product does much more than just Questions and Answers though, it’s designed to be a customized community focused around solving problems, breaking knowledge out of silos, engaging your product team and helping them build a roadmap, as well as build brand affinity for the company’s users and employees.
Not only do clients purchase AnswerHub as software, but they also get access to our team who specializes in growing communities. We experienced a lack of information sharing within our own organization and wanted a place to find and share resources. Our model has useful applications in almost any industry, from government to banking to ecommerce, allowing us to remain relevant while staying true to our original roots through this new venture.
We’re excited about the future of AnswerHub and are always working on ways to improve and evolve to fit the needs and desires of our loyal customer base as well as the changing marketplace demands.
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