HQ Trivia: How People Make Money By Answering 12 Questions





By Jesse Collier. Updated January 2018. 

HQ Trivia, the app that is sweeping the globe and the reason people are making money answering 12 trivia questions. 


HQ Trivia host


Just a week after New Years, over one million people were glued to their phone screens. While surely over this amount of people were on Facebook and Twitter, this group was on a completely different app: HQ Trivia, or known simply as “HQ”.

Never heard of HQ Trivia? It’s only the app where you can make money by answering trivia questions in real time with live hosts!

I know what you’re thinking.

How can answering trivia questions on an app put money in your bank account?

Two words: venture capitalists.


How to make money with HQ Trivia


I suppose I answered two of the most popular questions up above as well:

  • Where does the money come from?
  • What do I have to give up to get the money?

While the creators of HQ Trivia, Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll (also the creators of Vine), along with the host Scott Rogowsky (A.K.A. Quiz Khalifa) aren’t currently making money, they’re backed by huge investors who hope the app will make it big.

Although I’m sure they do keep a cut for themselves.

In time, the creators of HQ will most likely include sponsored content into their questions, however for now, HQ gives you typical trivia questions free of ads.


Yusupov said:

“If we do any brand integrations or sponsors, the focus will be on making it enhance the gameplay,” Yusupov said. “For a user, the worst thing is feeling like, ‘I’m being optimized – I’m the product now.’


Yet most people don’t care about the behind-the-scenes plays that CEOs make. Instead, they just want their share of the free-money pie.


How does it work?


HQ Trivia make money


On weekdays (3 PM and 9 PM EST) and weekends (9 PM EST), hundreds of thousands tune into HQ Trivia to make money on their mobile devices.

With hosts like Scott Rogowsky and actress and comedian Sarah Pribis, along with other guest appearances, HQ is certainly pushing its way into people’s everyday lives. Entire offices are even taking daily breaks at 3 PM in order to get a break from the daily grind.

In the game, if someone answers 12 questions in a row correctly, they get a share of the pot that is divided among everyone who got the questions correct.

Seems simple, right?


If it was so easy, don’t you think everyone would be taking a share of the pot home?

The first two or three questions start off really simple, such as “Which of these is a tree?”, with two of the three answer choices being complete nonsense. You only get 10 seconds to answer each question, which means there’s hardly any room for cheating.

Yet the questions ramp up fast, and question three often sees a lot of people out the door. Often, there will be less than 100 people who correctly answer all 12 questions.

So it’s not a piece of cake after all.


The start of a viral sensation


When Yusupov and Kroll found out that Twitter was shutting down Vine, they set out to create a startup called Intermedia Labs.

They initially created Hype, an app like Periscope where users can broadcast what’s going on in their area to other people around the world using their phones.

Yusupov saw that a lot of users were broadcasting game shows, or similar activities such as trivia nights in their city.

Et voila, HQ Trivia is born.



The trivia


The trivia questions are a mix of general knowledge and culture. Users can submit potential questions within the app, and then they are independently checked by a team of researchers and writers, then put into the game.

Most questions are ones where “if you don’t know the answer you feel like you should know it,” Yusupov said.

Even so, the questions are meant to fool you. For example, in a game in January, a question asked, “By definition, an Anglophile would be most interested in which of these things?”.

Out of the three answer choices (Geometry, Downton Abbey, and Trout Fishing), almost 500,000 of the remaining 700,000 chose incorrectly. For those of you that don’t know what an anglophile is, here you go.


HQ Trivia is tricky




Since its inception in August of 2017 on iOS and December of 2017 on Android, HQ Trivia has seen over one million installs. While the game is available world-wide, it is centered around US time zones, so players around the world will have to adjust their clocks in order to get a chance at playing.

Yet with all this user activity comes some shortcomings with the app. HQ has been plagued by server crashes, lagged videos, and various bugs.



These issues have lead to some backlash in the HQ community, with some users unable to answer questions or even play games at all.

While these issues mostly affect Android users (as HQ Trivia isn’t that old for them), there have been some cases of iOS users being affected as well.

However, once HQ hit the double-comma club (over 1 million people), their servers have been getting better and it seems they’re doing their best to roll out bug fixes.


Tips to win HQ Trivia


Invite friends!


One of the best ways for you to get all 12 questions right on HQ Trivia is to invite your friends with your referral code!

When they sign up, they have the option to input a referral code, and by using yours, they’ll grant you one life to use in the game.

Note that your extra life gets used as soon as you get one question wrong in a game. Some users have gotten multiple people to sign up at the same time so they can use all of their lives in one game.

Do you like this post? Consider helping me win and use my referral code: jcollier123


Lookout for ‘savage’ trivia questions


HQ Trivia savage question


At least once or twice a game, a ‘savage’ trivia question will appear. While most of the questions are tricky in general, these questions are those that eliminate the majority of the users still in the game.

Recognizing when the savagery happens is a key part to the game. Usually the questions will have all three answer choices that sound correct, but only one will be the right answer.

Casey Donahue, a Los-Angeles based filmmaker, who was one of the only two winners on December 24, and who won $6,000 of the $12,000 pot says:

“You gotta know when they’re trying to trick you. A lot of times their savage questions are made to get hundreds of thousands of people to pick one specific answer.”


Play with friends


You know all those friends that you invited with your referral code? Well it’s time to group up and try to beat the odds.

Chances are that someone in your group knows one of the questions that you would get wrong.

Just make sure that everyone has their own phones. Having to split a $40 pot amongst 10 people almost isn’t worth your time.


Check out HQ Trivia on Twitter


HQ’s Twitter account, which gives updates on the game, also occasionally doles out hints about different questions in the game.

Hints don’t appear for every game, but when they do, they’re usually mysterious like this one:



Did you like this article? If so, consider using my referral code jcollier123 and post in the comments about your HQ obsessions!

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