Amazon is about to enter into competition with the likes of Yahoo! Answers and Microsoft Q&A with the launch of a new site, Askville, which allows users to have their queries answered by other community members.

The site is still at the testing stage at the moment, and participation is currently by invitation only, as well as only being available in the US and Canada.

The exchange of information will work slightly differently than Yahoo Answers. Answers will only be displayed after a minimum of five responses, whereas other sites will display this information immediately.

Unlike Google Answers, questions are free to ask, and users who answer questions will be rewarded with ‘questcoins’, which can later be spent on upcoming Amazon site Questville.

Such sites rely heavily on user participation, and the more a user feels a sense of community on the site, the more likely they are to return to the site. The system of rewards is a good step towards achieving this.