Home Ask500People: Polling The Web In Real Time

Ask500People: Polling The Web In Real Time

Recently launched Ask500People is an interesting new polling experiment that endeavors to ask questions of 500 people around the world and report the results in real-time. Ask500People is not a polling widget that you can use to run questions on your site (though they have formed partnerships with some high traffic sites to occasionally run polls), but rather it is a way for people to gain access to a large crowd to ask pressing questions.

The site works by first soliciting questions from users, which are voted on Digg-style. If a question gets enough votes in 24 hours, it is added to the queue and eventually asked. When a question is asked, users can vote on site or via a polling widget that anyone can embed on their blog or social networking profile (assuming it supports JavaScript-based widgets), and the results are reported in real-time on a continuously updated Google Maps mashup. After the question is complete (after 500 people have answered it), the site pauses to catch its breath for a few minutes, then moves on to the next question. It’s very addicting to watch answers unfold from around the globe, and to participate in debates in the comments section of the site.

Anyone can vote in polls, but only registered users can submit questions. The majority of questions seem to be yes/no structured, but multiple choices are possible.

Right now, the site is only polling 100 people per question, because current traffic levels allow for 100 person queries to be completed in about 15 minutes — as traffic increases, the site hopes to expand to the full 500. Results for each question are archived and broken down my country and voter type (those on the site vs. those voting via widget). Surprisingly, it seems that the majority (over 80%) of people are voting via Ask500People widgets spread around the web.

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