Is trivia your style?

By Peter Zemeske

If you’ve been on the App Store or Google Play Store lately, chances are you’ve seen a new app trending: HQ Trivia. HQ Trivia is a free app promising users real cash prizes for answering 12 multiple-choice trivia questions correctly. HQ Trivia goes live at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. CST with a host making banter and (sometimes) witty comments.

The prize is $2,500 split amongst the winners with payouts distributed through PayPal. On special occasions, HQ will offer a bigger sum of dough; for example, 1.8 million users logged on for a chance at a piece of $20,000 during the halftime show on Super Bowl Sunday. On the fence? Here are six pros and cons of picking up your phone and playing along with HQ Trivia.


Free money – Who doesn’t like the idea of being rewarded with cash for useless trivia knowledge? Most players who answer all 12 questions correctly end up winning around $11 or $12, but hey, not too shabby for 15 minutes of your time.

Fun with your friends – I learned about HQ Trivia after my friends all got out their phones after getting a notification and yelled “HQ” one night. After quickly learning the game’s premise, I downloaded the app and took part during the next time it was live. It’s a lot of fun in a group setting; consider it a 21st century version of Trivial Pursuit. Plus, the more people you play it with, the more likely one of you is bound to know the answer.

Increase your trivia knowledge – Impress your friends with random facts, like which university Emma Watson went to or which continent guinea pigs are native to. Who knows, it might come in handy someday.


The host – The main host of the app, Scott Rogowsky, is about as pleasant as a mosquito in your ear. His awkward, half-assed one-liners make for a cringe fest that’ll make even the most tolerant people turn their phones off. What’s worse is when you guess wrong, you’re subjected to teasing that only adds insult to injury.

Difficulty – The questions are designed to be easier at first, gradually getting more difficult. However, it seems like the first two or three questions are common knowledge and the rest are facts only experts would know. (Who the hell knows what ingredient in perfumes keeps the strong scent?) A lot of people I know who play the app haven’t won at all despite playing almost every day since its release.

Support of shady investors/founders – Recently, entrepreneur Peter Thiel invested $15 million into HQ Trivia. Who is Peter Thiel? Peter Thiel is the head of Founders Fund, a company known for funding a legal campaign that caused the bankruptcy and closure of popular news site Gawker. Thiel is also an avid Trump supporter, a deal breaker for some. Co-founders Colin Kroll and Rus Yusupov, creators of Vine, have also been under fire for questionable behavior. Kroll has been accused of treating female co-workers inappropriately during his time working at Twitter, according to a Dec. 18 recode article. The accusations have not been confirmed by Twitter or kroll,but regardless users have been deleting the app to protest these kind of actions.

Clarification: This article originally said that Co-founders Colin Kroll and Rus Yusupov were both accused of inappropriate behavior with female co-workers. We have clarified the article to accurately read that only kroll was accused of this behavior.