cross posted at “the official askmarkets blog

Askmarkets is an internet-based service for prediction markets, which consists of virtual marketplaces for information trading. Now, while this sentence might seem like an accurate description to our biased eyes, we bet that you can find a much better pitch line and submit it in the comments below. Still, allow us for now, to shed some light on the concept behind askmarkets.


Our inspiration for askmarkets stems from several years of research on the topic of prediction markets, enabling us – hopefully – to separate the wheat from the chaff. The concept, at its very core, goes like this. Markets are institutions that are everywhere. From the stock market in New York to the fish market in Tokyo to the flower market in Amsterdam, markets exist and are used for a variety of purposes. But, while stock markets, for example, seem to be so different than betting, or fish and flower markets, in their core all those institutions are essentially the same: Markets bring people together, they sum up their information and transmit it through prices.

Askmarkets intends to bring this functionality to the masses. We provide a tool with which anyone can create a virtual market or trade in markets created by others. In other words, we provide a tool which can aggregate the opinions and knowledge of the many and transform these into a meaningful result. Markets arise as the ideal tool to crowdsource cognitive tasks and arrive at consensus results which are typically proven to be more accurate or correct than the opinions of the few experts, as suggested by both theory, experiments and practice.

Practically speaking, the whole concept of markets as an information aggregation tool has a relatively short history of existence. Better captured by the term ‘prediction markets’, it is only during the last years that the rise of the Web has given an actual shape to the idea and its potential. Especially among companies, the promise of markets as a decision support tool has been put into practise and been used as an effective decision-making tool only during the second half of the running decade, while by now all of the following companies are reported to be using markets internally: Siemens, HP, Intel, General Electric, Google, Eli Lilly, Microsoft, Archelor, Nokia, Intercontinental, Best Buy, Electronic Arts, Swisscom, Cisco, Motorola, Qualcomm, InfoWorld, MGM, Chiron, Frito Lay, TNT, Yahoo, Corning, Masterfoods, Pfizer, Abbott, Chrysler, General Mills, O’Reilly and TNT (disclaimer: no, these are not our customers, yet). Typical uses of markets for enterprise decision support range – so far and we’re still counting – from planning and forecasting, project management and marketing to new product development and market research. As our product is suitable for and targets all these applications, we could say that we naturally serve these or any other enterprise needs for dynamic information aggregation. Stay tuned for specific details coming out real soon.

Another major field of use regards public applications of aggregating people’s choices, on elections, movies, products or anything else. Especially regarding election results, relevant markets have proven to be more reliable than polls and surveys, and – lately – are gaining extended coverage from media sources like Time, Wired, CNN, Economist, New York Times, Financial Times, Newsweek, Fortune, ABC, Science, Nature, New Scientist, Business Week, Wall Street Journal and others. Moreover, many of these outlets already use markets to tap into the collective intelligence of their audience, giving them the ability to directly shape public consensus to ultimately provide a better alternative than polls. We also address such emerging needs – including yours, too -, so bear with us to find out more or just contact us in case that you want to be among our enterprise product testers. And thank you for your fantastic feedback and support so far, you really stand as our most valuable of assets!