Topical Expert Available, Only 12 Cents a Day

PeterD flames ChaCha. And can you fault him? What is up with a search engine that takes forever to answer? How good can their topical experts be at $5 an hour? How can you respect a topical expert who sits at your beck and call to earn only $5 an hour? And with an earning cap at $20 an hour? If you chose to use ChaCha hopefully your questions are not related to business, entrepreneurialism, capitalism, marketing, or finance.

The biggest reasons that ChaCha will fail though are not just inefficiency, the low expert payout, and having to wait for results. I think that the model causes other (and worse) side effects.

Right now if I search and buy something bad I am likely to feel it was my fault for being a sucker...like I misused search. If a paid guide leads me astray and I take their advice then I feel they are the ones at fault. So ChaCha shifts the blame from me to the engine.

Another big problem with the pause in the search process is that wants / desires / impulse purchases are going to be far less appealing if I have more time to think about and refine my thoughts (and have to share that thought process with others), rather than just being able to say it was an impulse purchase.

One of the biggest errors I have done (likely wasting at least a couple hundred thousand dollars) was answering tens of thousands of questions via emails and doing nothing with that content. When you have the ability to recycle content or make it valuable for many people rather than just one or two the cost can be greatly subsidized by many people over time. An inefficient and ineffective model becomes practical once you can use time and small distributed demand as an advantage. Ask Dave Taylor is a great example of a smart question answering site. Over time that model pays him far more than ChaCha ever could, plus it helps him build a brand and relationships that editors at a search engine would not be able to build.

Put another way, the money is in the archives, stupid. And that is why Google is so hungry to expand their archive any way they can, even if they do not make direct revenue off it right away. This is probably far more important than most people think it is.

Published: September 7, 2006

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Comments

aka
August 13, 2007 - 8:24pm

Earnings
Item Amount
Current Earnings $1,261.73

this extra money that i earn as guide looks pretty real to me, ...as for your crap, i dont know anybody who wouldnt take this extra coin, do you?

Jared
September 7, 2006 - 9:49pm

Aaron you make a good point. The model only becomes cost effective when you reuse the content you have already payed to create. If you take a closer look ChaCha is doing this. Every search session is saved out as a PSR or "Previous Search Result". It is these PSRs that serve up the results when someone searches on similar terms in the future. This means you will get your answer instantly the next time you search. Essentially the guides are teaching search engine. :)

September 8, 2006 - 4:14am

But will people be comfortable having their thought patterns shared as the searches are refined? And if not, will the results have proper context without the refinement information?

September 8, 2006 - 11:45am

Hey Aaron - good to see you back after your time off - looks like you are pretty refreshed now :-)

OT: that ChaCha crap is just that... what do these people think? I hate even doing multiple searches on multiple engines often to find what I need - not to think of chatting with some human that would bring me crap...

that just reminds me on these "offshore link builders" that send you a list of blog spam comments after some weeks waiting and want to get paid for it ... LOL

cheers,christoph

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