How Quizilla Works


Screenshot by HowStuffWorks.com

It seems like everyone's favorite Internet pastime these days is taking quizzes. Whether you're passing around quizzes via e-mail, posting them to Facebook or MySpace, or putting them on message boards, quizzes can be a fun way to test your friends' trivia skills or categorize their personality in a clever way. Whether you want to know which 17th-century poet you are or which Harry Potter character you'd be most likely to date, there's a quiz for you. And if there isn't, you can make one yourself.

Quizilla is one of the most popular quiz sites in the world. But Quizilla doesn't just host quizzes, it allows users to make their own, which means there are quizzes on Quizilla covering every topic you can imagine. Plus, Quizilla's users create stories, poems and other creative works to go along with their quizzing fun. It's also easy to post quizzes created on Quizilla to other social networking Web sites. In fact, Quizilla itself is a social networking Web site -- its forums have thousands of users.

What is Quizilla, when did it start, and how has it changed? More importantly, how do you use it? Don't worry, this isn't a quiz -- we'll answer all your Quizilla questions starting on the next page.

Using Quizilla

The author of this article created a sample test you can try yourself.
The author of this article created a sample test you can try yourself.
Screenshot by HowStuffWorks.com

Using Quizilla is easy. The first thing you need to do is register. This is handled like the registration for any other social networking Web site, and only requires a small amount of information (basically, a functioning e-mail address). Once registered, you can access any of the site's features. Registration and use of the site is free, and there's no additional "premium" membership level.

Like many other social networking sites, Quizilla users can create their own profile pages, with photos and other information about themselves. They can also "friend" other users and maintain a list of trusted contacts.

The core of Quizilla is, of course, the quizzes. Creating a quiz is pretty simple. First, decide if you're creating a personality quiz or a test. Tests are like trivia games -- you can add any number of questions, define the number of answers per question (it's multiple choice) and decide how many points each correct answer is worth. At the end of the test, you can create different levels of success depending on how many points the test takers earned (the author created a sample test, which you can try for yourself at Quizilla).

Creating a personality quiz is a bit more complicated. Each answer to a question will correspond with one of the possible results. For example, if you created the quiz, "Which Beatle is Your Favorite?", each question would have four answers, with one answer linked to Paul, one to John, one to George and one to Ringo. You have to create the results and then decide which answer goes with each result. Aside from that, it's basically the same as creating a trivia test.

In addition to tests and quizzes, too. A poll is a lot like any other quiz, but you can only create one question, and you can check back later to see how many people chose each answer in the poll.

There are also several non-quiz activities at Quizilla. There are the forums, where you can talk with other Quizilla users. The Games tab on the Quizilla navigation bar links to a teen television network site that hosts all the games (both Quizilla and the other site are owned by the same company). Users can also post stories, poems and song lyrics to Quizilla. It seems that the site's users found a way to use the quiz interface to do this, so eventually the developers created specific ways to post this type of content. People still seem to post stories as quizzes, which end up looking like a version of the popular "choose your own adventure" children's books. The content in these sections is not always suitable for children, and in fact, some of it contains graphic sexual material. There are also some spam posts on the Quizilla boards.

Next, we'll check out the benefits of Quizilla.

Benefits of Quizilla

One of the benefits of Quizilla is that it's easy to share your quizzes. The "Share" link - the one that you'll find next to each of the quizzes you make -- simply gives you an HTML link that can be copied and pasted to your Facebook status, a message board or into an e-mail message. However, there's no way to embed a Quizilla quiz directly into a blog.

Quizilla is generally family-friendly -- foul language and other adult content isn't technically permitted. Because of its relationship with Nickelodeon's teen network, The N, Quizilla has a high proportion of users who are teenagers or younger. Popular topics for quizzes posted include the Jonas Brothers or Twilight.

By now you may be wondering, where did Quizilla come from? It was founded in 2002 by Matthew Nielsen, and originally featured a mascot named Penny the Pencil Monster, who has since been retired. In 2006, the site was purchased by MTV Networks, a subsidiary of media conglomerate Viacom. The ownership switch brought about some sweeping changes to the site, some of which are still controversial among long-time users. As of August 2009, the staff blog had not been updated in more than a year.

According to Alexa.com, Quizilla is the 1,680th most popular Web site (as of August 2009), and users spend an average of 10.8 minutes at the site each day [source: Alexa]. That level of "stickiness," along with the site's youthful demographic, is likely very appealing to advertisers, which appear to be Quizilla's only source of revenue.

For more on social networking and other related topics, take a look at some of the links on the next page.

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Sources

  • Alexa. "Quizilla.com." (Aug. 13, 2009) http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/quizilla.com
  • Quizilla. "Quizilla FAQ." (Aug. 7, 2009)http://www.quizilla.com/pages/faq