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Q: For all Researchers ( No Answer,   22 Comments )
Subject: For all Researchers
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: blue_heron-ga
List Price: $33.33
Posted: 30 Mar 2003 14:05 PST
Expires: 29 Apr 2003 15:05 PDT
Question ID: 183326
Hello everyone!

*** Please leave this question open for 30 days. This format inspired
by badabing-ga Question ID: 173534

I am working on creating a retail storefront enterprise to facilitate
accessing business & services on the web such as this fine one. There
is a specific void where I live for time challenged- computer literate
persons, and those who feel that they are too old to learn about
computers (plus, of course, even some Luddites) to have easy access
for some else to pursue the seemingly endless possibilities of the
internet, on their behalf.

Many people simply wish to do what they are good at and would be more
than happy to have others with expertise to 'proxy' surf.

Friendly, trained front line staff would take requests and then guide
the walk in customer wishing to find products, sell stuff (various
auctions), source research and of course get answers to life's
intriguing questions. The plan is to farm out the work to existing
'proven' cyberspace providers as there is no need to reinvent the
wheel. Off site support would proof read requests and direct web
desires received from the storefront. And off they would go to
organizations such as GA. The GA research service is terrific and
under utilized (my humble opinion... I'm just surprised, each time I
look, that your "showing questions" count is not rising rapidly). I
hope that this type of new business would swamp GA with thousands of

My question is: Could you write a description to refine & expand the
above business idea?

This open to all Researchers, however, I am looking for the *Best*
answer not the *Quickest*. Kindly respond in the 'Comments' field and
I will choose the 'Answer' to be posted. In the event of a 'Great'
answer *tie* a separate question may be posted. Other comments,
suggestions would be appreciated!

Thank you.

Clarification of Question by blue_heron-ga on 30 Mar 2003 15:58 PST
Revision to above upon consideration of the 'Comments' below.

I do not feel I have the experience to scan the archived questions for
the Researcher who will give the best answer.

I hereby open the question to whoever feels she/ he can be of

Time is not of the essence.

May I ask that this question be viewed for one full day before
responding as there appear to be many who prefer to work on questions
primarily on weekdays.

My apologies for not following the traditional Q & A model.

Thank you.

Request for Question Clarification by aceresearcher-ga on 30 Mar 2003 16:31 PST
blue heron,

Try looking through the Questions containing the phrase "business
plan" to see if the performance of a Researcher seems to stand out for



Request for Question Clarification by journalist-ga on 31 Mar 2003 07:41 PST
This idea sounds intriguing and I am in some agreement with my
colleagues postings regarding the time factor invloved for sample

It appears you are seeking a "cyber host" and/or cyber broker "retail"
arrangement, is this correct?  One who procures web services/info for
another and/or instructs the customer in, say, becoming an Ebay
seller? Or scouring the net for a product the customer seeks (as we
Researchers sometimes do)?

If I am interpreting your plan correctly, I do see a highly possible
niche market for your proposal.  In conjunction with an actual
storefront, you would offer related products alongside your services,
correct?  All clarification is appreciated.

Clarification of Question by blue_heron-ga on 01 Apr 2003 11:05 PST
Hello  aceresearcher-ga

I am researching as you suggested. This may take a day or two.

Thank you for the suggestion.

Clarification of Question by blue_heron-ga on 01 Apr 2003 11:33 PST
Hello journalist-ga

You have the general idea.

The business will be take on the requests of the customers to
facilitate web transactions and information collection on their
behalf. Retained off site 'experts' around the world will funnel the
requests to the most reliable & proven web based services. In short
the enterprise will open the web door to anyone and everyone.

Naturally all cyber related services would be offered. The key is to
offer a 'degeeked' environment to attract the potential customer.
Since this market is very broad, it must not be intimidating, nor feel
like it is catering to a select knowledge based or specific generation

We all know what they say about real estate. This business would be
about convenience, convenience & convenience.

Convenient physical location for client access (and marketing
visibility) is key. There would also be an easy to remember phone
number and easy to find web site.

This cyber portal business is primarily about service, physical
products are secondary.

Thank you for your interest.

Request for Question Clarification by journalist-ga on 01 Apr 2003 13:50 PST
I want to offer this suggestion: Should you find marketing gems from
multiple Researchers on this question, consider posting separate
questions to each of those Researchers.  Because only one Researcher
is allowed to post the answer to a question, and because you may find
your core ideas from among more than one Researcher here, I wanted to
make you aware of the option.  Were you to choose that, it might
encourage more Researchers to chime in with their ideas.  We always
make an interesting think-tank team.  :)

Clarification of Question by blue_heron-ga on 02 Apr 2003 12:56 PST
Hello again journalist-ga

Thank you for your insightful comment and suggestion in your request
for clarification. I totally agree with you and will post
supplementary questions to Researchers who provide 'gems' that
encourage further investigation. After doing a considerable amount of
reading (I love the humor) as suggested by aceresearcher-ga I am
gaining a much further appreciation of the diversity of the GA team. I
don't wish to call on one Researcher and slight another. However I am
still searching through the answers and then sub searching through
other answers by Researchers that seem appropriate to respond to my
question. One thing for certain, at this point, is that the general
world would be very interested in a business that could direct
questions to a service such as this one. And now I'm off to read some

Clarification of Question by blue_heron-ga on 29 Apr 2003 03:51 PDT
Would journalist-ga care to answer this question? Thank you

Request for Question Clarification by journalist-ga on 29 Apr 2003 06:14 PDT
Dear Blue_Heron:

Welcome back!  Thank you for requesting an answer from me and I won't
be able to begin answering until this afternoon.  I freelance for the
local News and yesterday I scheduled an interview for 11 a.m. this
morning with a very nice elderly couple regarding their nomination of
Fountain City's 2002 Woman of the Year. By the time I travel there,
speak with them and return, it will be about 1:30 p.m. CST.  I'll
begin my answer then. (Your question expires at 5:05 p.m. CST - my

If I don't have my complete answer by the expiration time, may I post
what I have at that time and then continue with my answer?  The
clarifications section remains open to both Researcher and Customer
after a question expires so dialogue may continue.  I just want to be
sure this is acceptable to you - if not, you may want to request
another Researcher's talents.

I'll check here again before I leave and after I return to see your
decision. And thank you, again, for requesting my services.  :)

Request for Question Clarification by journalist-ga on 29 Apr 2003 13:58 PDT
Only a few minutes to go before expiration.  Since I didn't hear from
you, I'll not answer with my two part question - I'd rather have your
okay before doing so.  If you wish for me (or any other specific
Researcher) to perform a research task for you in the future, you may
always request one of us by name in your question. :)
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: aceresearcher-ga on 30 Mar 2003 14:28 PST
blue heron,

Granny's question
asks Researchers to list their strong areas and to say which other
Researchers they believe have strengths as well. Providing a Comment
for this sort of Question does not require a great deal of time and
effort on a Researcher's part.

On the other hand, your Question -- if it is to be Answered well --
will require a GREAT deal of time and effort on the part of the
Researcher who Answers it. It is my personal feeling that it is quite
unfair to expect numerous Researchers to put in this kind of time and
effort, knowing that it is very unlikely that they will get paid for

I suspect you will not get a lot of serious "takers" on your Question
for this reason, although you may get a lot of off-the-cuff remarks
from both non-Researchers and Researchers who have nothing better to
do. The really GOOD Researchers will be off Answering Questions for
which they will be paid. If you want a really GOOD Answer, I encourage
you to modify your Question asking ONE Researcher to post an Answer.


Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: weisstho-ga on 30 Mar 2003 14:34 PST
I agree with Ace. 
Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: pinkfreud-ga on 30 Mar 2003 14:55 PST
I, too, agree with Ace. While I have often made brief comments without
anticipating any revenue, writing a detailed business proposal "on
spec," with no guarantee of payment, is more than I would be willing
to take on even if I felt that I was well qualified to undertake the
job (which, in this case, I am not.)

If you are concerned that you may not get the best answer from a
random Researcher who drops from out of the blue to take your
question, perhaps a better way to handle this would be to pick a
Researcher whose work you find impressive, and post a question
earmarked specifically for that person.
Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: livioflores-ga on 30 Mar 2003 14:59 PST
I agree with all of you guys, this is not the way that Google Answers works.
Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: blue_heron-ga on 30 Mar 2003 15:26 PST
Thanks aceresearcher-ga & weisstho-ga

I appreciate your comments.

Ok- I am listening.

My goal was not to "get a lot of off-the-cuff remarks from both
non-Researchers and Researchers who have nothing better to do". I was
hoping that this forum would provide serious ideas that ultimately
would benefit ALL who post and especially those who gain from
responding in GAs. The challenge of asking for one Researcher to
answer is that there may just be someone (or two or three) who has an
'inspired' GREAT view. I would be sorry to overlook/ miss the "really
GOOD Researchers".
Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: missy-ga on 30 Mar 2003 15:26 PST
I'm afraid, blue_heron, that I can't add much more than a "Me too" to
the statements of my esteemed colleagues.  Granny Bing's exercise was
one designed to help the Researchers think about their own strengths
and weaknesses, and to let our customers know who is capable of what,
based on the observations of others "in the trenches".  It required
precious little time commitment, and practically no effort.  We all
watch each others' work daily, and take pride in having a tight-knit
team that knows where to go for help.

Although Google Answers is a fun job for many of us, it is still just
that - *a job*.  One in which we expect to be compensated for our time
and effort, especially when the time and effort involved require
several hours of searching, reading, distilling information, and
writing.  Asking for several Researchers to make that kind of
commitment, knowing that they may not get paid for it, is unfair. 
It's unfair to the Researchers who devote their time and effort to
crafting a well researched and well presented answer, and it's unfair
to you, because you're practically ensuring that your question remains

As Aceresearcher and Pinkfreud noted, if you're truly concerned about
getting the BEST answer possible, look around.  There are a number of
Researchers capable of giving you what you want.  Pick one, ask for
them, then be patient while they work to give you the best answer


Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: blue_heron-ga on 30 Mar 2003 15:30 PST
Thanks pinkfreud-ga, livioflores-ga & missy-ga
Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: snapanswer-ga on 30 Mar 2003 15:59 PST
I agree with the previous comments.  However, I did note that this is
the first time you have posted a question on Google Answers.  I hope
that you will continue to find the service useful in the future and
ask additional questions (though, perhaps in a different format).

Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: blue_heron-ga on 30 Mar 2003 16:24 PST
Thank you for the comment snapanswer-ga
Subject: will work for free - quality not guaranteed - hehe
From: idontwork-ga on 30 Mar 2003 17:12 PST
i am not a researcher but am willing to throw you a bone to build on
your idea for free.  I don't know what you intend to call this
business but i though "Internet Everything" had a funky ring to it. 
There is no page at  Anyhow - i require
much clarification to continue building on this plan.

Building on your idea:

Internet Everything provides instant purchasing power to every service
on the internet.  Our professional staff has the knowledge and
expertise to help you buy, sell, trade or research any product or
service online through our easy to use web interfaces, over the phone
or in our posh storefront.  Internet Everything serves a niche market
of seniors, busy executives, medical professionals, teachers and
charity organizations both locally and globally.

Primary services include:

·	Buying/Selling on E-Bay, Yahoo, u-Bid, and Listings Plus
·	Full shipping and receiving services
·	Expanded services for purchasing from any e-commerce web-site
·	Tutoring services using MSN 8.0 software for seniors and students
·	Tutoring services for configuring parental controls using MSN 8.0
·	Tutoring services for advanced online investmenting using MS Money
·	Tutoring services for advanced online communications services
·	Technical support consulting for both DSL and Cable internet access
·	Consulting services using powerful research tools such as Google

Please clarify the following in order for me to continue:

Key Personnel
-	explain to me how your company’s management team will be organized. 
Use an organization chart if you can.  Define key managers duties and
responsibilities outside of what is listed above.  How will you
-	Online?
-	Do you personally have any past accomplishments that can add to this

Please clarify the following:
-	Location and capacity of storefront
-	Financial contribution by sole proprietor? Partners? Stockholders?
-	How much $ will be set aside for startup?
-	What is your contingency plan if sales start off slowly?
-	How much do you expect to make each year?
-	What are your ideas for franchising?

Please clarify the following:
Market Research:
-	Prove the need for this service in your local area
-	Prove the need for this service globally
-	Expand on why customers would buy – Price? Quality? Convenience?
-	Do you have the capacity to survey people in your local area?

Previous google answers question that will help you get in touch with
online auction big-wigs.

Build income into your business through affiliation with broadband
Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: neilzero-ga on 30 Mar 2003 17:32 PST
I lack the computer skills of a researcher, so I might have use for
your proposed business, except I am so cheap I rarely buy anything,
not even information. In Jacksonville, Florida we have a cyber cafe,
which claims to have staff who will help customers for a very modest
fee. I think they hope to make money from the food. It is possible the
cyber cafe is still operating at a loss in it's second year. I have
not talked to anyone who has tryed the cyber cafe, but I have used
some of the libraries and have found the staff helpful with specific
questions, so it appears you have some competion, but you can out
perform this competion if you have enough very skilled researchers on
the job during the busiest hours. While a few very good researchers
will work for low pay, I doubt that you can recrute enough of them
unless you pay so much that few customers will be willing to pay fees
to support your pay roll. Working for is nice as the
researchers get to pick the most interesting question at the time of
their choosing and they don't have to get dressed and drive to your
store front. Some of your customers will have sufficient skills to
ascess remote experts on the internet, but you have some competion
here also such as   and  and  Neil
Subject: Multiple income ideas
From: idontwork-ga on 30 Mar 2003 17:36 PST
If you get a Verizon customer who comes in and is looking to find out
what the best internet access he can get is:
you can sell him/her internet access through the verizon affiliate
program offered by and make $40 on top of whatever you
charge him/her for consultation services.

If the same customer happens to be a parent looking for qualify
parental controls and you upsell them on MSN 8.0 you can make an
additional $5-$8.
Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: journalist-ga on 01 Apr 2003 12:45 PST
Educating people in genealogical services and/or performing the
research for them would also be a great way to draw in many of the
elderly and middle-aged crowd.  In conjunction, you could offer
printing a "family tree" from a template on paper that is suitable for

I wouldn't suggest keeping too many products in stock and there is a
market for some paper lines such as email address books, "research
journals" and many types of blank certificates.  Many stationery store
products would work for impulse buys such as pens and pencils.  I
wouldn't pass by an opportunity for offering retail merchandise.

Actually, you might offer a free "research journal" to customers that
would actually be just a slim notebook with your business name on the
front and back covers, of course.  Write those off in the advertising

Your entire operation really depends on your front-line staffing: If
your employees are not responsible and caring individuals, your boat
will sink.  What you propose is a customer service, therefore
impeccable customer service is what should be offered.  Finding the
right mix of qualities in a staff is of great importance.  I would
suggest that at least one or two of the staff be your in-house

Just thinking out loud.  :)
Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: blue_heron-ga on 02 Apr 2003 12:27 PST
Hello idontwork-ga

Very much appreciate your comment, questions, and suggested links. A
great deal to think over. You are very much on the track that I am
interested in pursuing. Sorry I missed responding yesterday. Time
simply did not permit. My main computer is currently disassembled in a
tech's shop awaiting a hard to get part. As a note to your requests I
would prefer not to divulge the exact details of my personal plan (for
obvious reasons). It is my desire to simply have an expansion of ideas
of the plan as I have introduced it. Suggestions are greatly
appreciated from the people who participate in this type of forum-
after all few would have better general web experience. Thank you for
your contribution of time & thoughts.
Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: blue_heron-ga on 02 Apr 2003 12:40 PST
Hello neilzero-ga

Thank you for your posting. The proposed business is really aimed at
providing convenience access to the diversity of the web. Contact will
be either by walk in, phone or web. The business, through its back of
house team (all located off site), will attempt to find whatever the
customer will need if it available on the internet. Front of house
personnel will be cyber proficient but only as generalists. They will
have the ability to field customers' desires to the behind the scenes
personnel. I expect that many of the supporting 'specialists' will be
in distant places working in the comfort of flannel pajama bottoms and
a t-shirt.
Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: journalist-ga on 02 Apr 2003 16:44 PST
I am not ashamed to declare that the pairing of a flannel pajama
bottom with a t-shirt results in the most comfortable business uniform
on the planet.
Subject: Re: For all Researchers
From: acorn-ga on 06 Apr 2003 10:58 PDT
What market research have you done to support your following

1)  "There is a specific have easy access for some else to
pursue the seemingly endless possibilities of the internet, on their

While I'm sure you're correct that there isn't a storefront to do
this, I'm curious about the 'lack of easy access' claim, what with
real world resources like universities, libraries, community centers
with free classes, for-fee researchers...and grandchildren!...all
being around practically forever.
2)  Many people simply wish to do what they are good at and would be
than happy to have others with expertise to 'proxy' surf."

Sure doesn't sound like most people I know :-)  Indeed, my experience
has been just the opposite...people who *should* ask for help, surf
the web themselves.

It is easy to make a claim about a potential market.  It's another
thing to have actually researched the community you are focusing on
and come up with data to support your business proposition, so I was
wondering what that research was, particularly since you are talking
about establishing a storefront, with its much higher ongoing costs.

Speaking of ongoing costs, have you costed any of this out?  If you've
done market research, I certainly would hope so.  The person who says
"yes, I'd spend an average of $5 a research item" might say "no way
would I spend an average of $50!"...but it might taken an average of
$50 to support your store front.

3)  By the way, I noticed from your last response that phone calls
would be accepted as well.  Are these going to be 24/7 services like
the Internet is?

acorn-ga who is also comfortably working in flannel pajama bottoms
with a t-shirt :-)
Subject: More feedback
From: idontwork-ga on 07 Apr 2003 07:52 PDT
If you want to build a customer base and employ a handful of "internet
specialists" you'll need to pick a focus and run with it.

Another angle you could consider in order to gain quick public
approval and free advertising would be to pitch parental controls
through schools.  If you can position yourself in a partnership with
local elementary schools for "Internet Safetly and Awareness" and
upsell parental controls through the aforementioned affiliation
agreement you could realize substantial memberships and specialist
"out-call" opportunities.
Use your storefront and local schools to host free sessions and upsell
until you're blue in the face (and black in the cashflow).
Check out how these guys do it:

""Internet Awareness Sessions   Internet Services 
These free sessions are held once a week in the Internet training
room, on level 1 of the Library's South Bank building. The course is a
two-hour, hands-on introductory training course for those who have had
little or no exposure to the net.
The course covers: 

Basic keyboard and mouse skills (where required) 
Definitions of commonly used terms and jargon 
How to access and evaluate content on the Internet 
How to use subject guides and search engines to find the information
you need
All participants receive a printed handout that summarises the basic
content of the course.""

A forum like this would give you great opportunity to upsell "Internet
Everything" to the market that you described.  It would put you in
alot of parents and local community leaders good books if you
facilitated a safer internet experience for local children.

Here is more info and links than you can shake a stick at about
internet safety over seas.

""Parents are being targeted in a renewed campaign to try to stop
children accessing unsuitable material on the internet""

""Safer Internet Resources""

More later...if you provide some feedback that i can use.
From: idontwork-ga on 15 Apr 2003 11:26 PDT
do you require any more feedback on this question?
From: blue_heron-ga on 22 Apr 2003 11:37 PDT
Thank you for your insightful comments and questions.

I have been away from home base without my trusty laptop- or I should
say formerly trusty iBook. Blew a tiny fuse somewhere along the way
and it will not charge my battery. Actually that's batteries. Ordered
in a new one thinking the problem was the battery. Oh well- I am back.
Sorry not to respond sooner. As indicated on March 30 I am not rushing
to get an answer or to jump into this project without alot of thought,
recommendations and consultations.

Both of you have given good food for thought and it is very much
appreciated. I find it difficult to respond in this forum about my
research as I would prefer to keep some of the information that I have
gathered, private. May it be sufficient to say that there is a clearly
defined demand in my geographical area for the service that I propose.
Yes, there are libraries etc. but just as there are coffee machines in
most homes and offices, Starbucks® and their seemingly endless clones
are very busy. Surfing the web has a limited appeal (especially in
older age groups) and quite a learning curve. Many surf and don't get
the results that they are looking for yet know in their hearts that
the information or item is somewhere on the web but its just that they
can't find it. And then there are those who could clean their house,
apartment or office who would rather pay someone else to do the job
while they concentrated on doing something that they preferred even if
that something was nothing at all.

In terms of a storefront the site does not have to be a stand alone
piece of real estate. It could be a kiosk within another enterprise,
say a grocery store, drugstore or other similar entity with high day
to day traffic. The 'point of entry' to the endless wonders of the web
would be a live human being in person or with 1-800 service at the end
of a telephone. Technology 'challenged' , 'adverse' , 'reluctant',
'disadvantaged' people would be offered a service for a fee. At the
person-to-person encounter point, opportunities for upselling
services, education and products etc., would be available.

Again thanks for responding with your comments
Subject: Storefront/kiosks
From: idontwork-ga on 23 Apr 2003 06:09 PDT
What will you do if you get a gangle of kids wanting to play online games?
Will you also offer these services?
Subject: idontwork-ga
From: blue_heron-ga on 29 Apr 2003 18:44 PDT

Not too concerned over kid's games using available terminals. Fully
expect that most computers will be for staff access as this proposed
service or package of internet services will be 100% staff serviced.
After all isn't that why the client/ customer is coming to us
'spiders' in the first place- to do all the webwork for them!

Thank you for your thought provoking posts. Much appreciated. Until
next time- cheers!

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