Quora Executive Says Website Ads May Appear in 12 to 18 Months

Quora Inc., a question-and-answer site, could start to carry advertising in 12 to 18 months, its top business executive said in an interview.

While the closely held company hasn’t started developing the product, it would work similarly to Google Inc.’s search ads or TripAdvisor Inc.’s travel ads, matching marketers to users based on their inquiries on the website, according to Marc Bodnick, Quora’s head of business and community.

“People who ask about cars are very likely to buy a car in the next month,” Bodnick said. Quora gets “direct intent traffic,” meaning someone lands on the site if they had a very specific question, revealing something about what they might buy, he said.

Quora, co-founded in 2009 by former Facebook Inc. executive Adam D’Angelo, is considering an advertising plan after years without a revenue stream. The Mountain View, California-based company has raised more than $150 million in venture capital to stay independent and work to expand its user base.

Quora is a website where people gather online to ask questions, which are answered by experts who often use their real names, providing higher-quality content than competitors including Answers.com and Ask.com. While Bodnick wouldn’t disclose the number of users, he said it’s not large enough now to start showing ads, “which is why we’re not monetizing yet,” he said. “We’d rather invest in growth.”