What an interesting question, that has been already discussed more
than once in Google Answers :
Personal search engines
Online research service like google answers
Text correction service on Internet ?
Free/low cost internet advice
WHICH "EXPERT ADVICE" WEB SITES ARE GOOD AT INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS
Job Possibilities for Researchers
Job Possibilities for Researchers 2
As I've answered in one of those answers, I am a bit biased regarding
Google Answers. I have tried several other Research services mentioned
in my list, and saw them declining into ghost sites, or worse,
psychic-sex-talk service. Here are several others, with their
descriptions. This list might overlap what the other answers mentioned
before inclued (actually, it probably does, since I attempt to give
you as comprehensive list of for-a-fee sites, as I could):
The Google Directory lists several sites on its for-a-fee category:
Keen.com - http://www.keen.com/
Description: Get live answers to your questions over the phone. Ask a
question of an expert and then wait for the phone call. LiveAdvice and
Yahoo Advice are now part of Keen. (see
How it works: you telephone the expert you chose (on a similar model
to the sex and psychic hotlines), and charge for a minute fee set by
the researcher and Keen.
See more: (Paying for answers online By Ben Arnoldy
Intota Expert Knowledge Services - http://www.intota.com/
Description (Google Directory and in their own site) : Online
certified experts in Industry, Technology, Engineering, Science, and
Materials provide answers to questions with confidential telephone,
e-mail and project consulting. Works under Teltech, which is leading
provider of Knowledge Management and Research Services that enable
companies to more efficiently access internal and external information
and turn it into usable knowledge. Teltech's experience in
structuring, managing and providing information is the foundation for
a powerful combination of expert services and specialized content. Its
comprehensive solutions can enhance business processes ranging from
product development and customer relationship management to R&D and
quality management.. In a strategic alliance with Northern Light.
How it works?
You find an expert through their directory or by calling an 0800
number they operate. The interaction is done through email or
telephone and is expected to cost more about $250 an hour. (Read more:
Sopheons Expert Network Now Available Through Northern Light by
Paula J. Hane , http://www.infotoday.com/newsbreaks/nb010409-2.htm
A major player in marketing professional expertise via the Web (
It's All in What You Know: Internet Information and Expert Referral
By Reva Basch - November 2002 Issue
(This article, by the way, distinguishes between Intota and Google
Answers, claiming that the screening processes for experts are
Kasamba - http://www.kasamba.com/
Description: Gives users direct access to experts in a wide range of
categories. Offers full sound and video facilities in addition to
e-mail and chat.
How it works: Experts provide their service via e-mail, chat, audio
and/or video (web cam). Kasamba's design allows flexibility for both
parties to work with changing circumstances. At any time during the
session, the Expert may alter his/her fee; however, this requires your
consent and you will never be charged automatically. When the session
is complete, you will be billed to your credit card.
Your Jewish Fairy Godmother - http://www.yourjewishfairygodmother.com/
Description: Offers inspiration, marketing ideas, research, and
negotiating. Your Jewish Fairy Godmotheris a freelance advisor,
advocate, and ally.
How it works: Connection through email (You email and tell her your
problem. It can be complicated or focused, short-run or long, small
and nagging or a big life issue. Click on the "schmooze now" button at
the bottom of any page (and be sure to include your correct email
How you work together:
Your Jewish Fairy Godmother has two jobs: helping you clarify your
goals and helping you get your way. She'll answer your first email
question for free. If you think she's saved you time, money, energy,
or worries, feel free to make a spontaneous donation (gemstones,
beachfront property, or other negotiable tokens of appreciation are
always appreciated). If you want more help, you hire her to coach you.
Your Jewish Fairy Godmother tries to help everyone, but paying
clients always get priority. ). Also by phone, after initial email
BumperBrain - http://www.bumperbrain.com/
Description: Aims to put people who are seeking information in direct
contact with other people who have the answers.
How its done: Contact throughout the site (must admit that this is the
most unclear site so far regarding pricing and methods).
HelpShare - http://www.helpshare.com/
Description: Online marketplace facilitating the exchange of money for
fast solutions. Anyone can post a question and anyone can answer.
How does it work: Your Ask a question on the site, set the fee, and
experts compete on your payment. You may leave a tip.
Dr. Irene's Verbal Abuse Site - http://www.drirene.com/
Description: For verbally abusive people and the codependents who love
them. Like the Jewish Fairy Godmother, mentioned above, it is from a
private individual and not from a pool of experts. Dr. Irene, unlike
the Godmother, claims to be an expert.
How it works : Post your 1 page question below. Make it anonymous!
(Cut and paste your Q into a word processor & check the word count.
Your message & payment will be returned if it's too long!) ; After you
post, you will be sent to a secure credit card payment page. If
payment is not made, your Q will be deleted. Sorry.; Check back for
your A in a week (usually less) by clicking the last of the "Read the
Q & As" links below. Scroll down to find your post.
Vehicle Doctor - http://vehicledoctor.com/
Description: Professional diagnosis and counseling of auto/truck
problems for a fee. Over 25 years of hands-on experience. Again, this
is assistance from a private expert.
How it works: by sending the doctor an email.
And, finally, Google Answers - https://answers.google.com/
Description: Live researchers answer your questions on any topic for a
Hopw it works: you set the fee, post a question, and a researcher
answers it. You could tip the answer.
In addition, there are several ceased services:
Breed.de - http://www.sedo.de/parken/breed.de - was supposed to be,
according to its founders (see Konkurrenz für Google Answers
http://www.suchfibel.de/news/KonkurrenzfrGoogleAnswer.htm) , a German
Google Answers. The page hosts a variety of sponsored/affiliate links
Exp.com - http://www.exp.com/ - discontinued Established in
February 1999, ran into difficulties late 2000 and later vanished.
URL still exists.
How it worked?
Once at the site, you can search or browse profiles and then connect
online via email, chat, or phone for advice. EXP then takes a
percentage of whatever fee the experts charge the user. (Source:
December 7, 2000, EXP.com Shaves 15% Of Workforce, Michael Singer).
Infomarkets - http://infomarkets.com/ and AskAnything.com -
http://www.askanything.com/ have both turned into something else
offering technologies to companies that enable contact with
SwapSmarts - http://www.swapsmarts.com/ - link is simply dead. No
explanation online for the death was found.
How it worked: pay-per-click basis, according to John Scalzi
Now for your second, more difficult, question. As you could notice
from the list above, as well as from articles such as Goodmans in
Traffick.com (see hereafter), the market of the expert advice for a
fee seems to be risky. There are, right now, only two major forces out
there Keen (that focuses on phone based advice), and yours truly,
whose interface is probably known to you.
A major research on Google Answers was conducted by Cornell
University. This research compared Google Answers to live and
internet based, but ran by librarians, services. (Google meets eBay
Cornell University study, on the effectiveness of Google Answers in
comparison to traditional reference services (reference desks in
libraries). See: http://www.dlib.org/dlib/june03/kenney/06kenney.html
and http://www.library.cornell.edu/iris/research/google.html )
Another study, regarded the engineering of these services and their
implications for the engineering of search engines:
Learning to Find Answers to Questions on the Web by Eugene Egichtein,
Steve Lawrence, and Luis Gravano
A study by Business Adsministration students on Keen is available
There are also several references to this model in information studies
Calishain, T. (2002). New Google answers service raises a few
questions of its own. Information Today, 19, 50-1.
Capizzi, H. (1999). E-mail reference service. The Unabashed Librarian,
112, 25 (Mostly non-for-a-fee, library services).
Meola, M. (2002). Starting and operating live virtual reference
services: A how-to-do-it manual for librarians. New York:
Whitlatch, J. B. (2001). Evaluating reference services in the
electronic age. Library Trends, 50, 207-17.
Articles on the ask an-expert market
If Precedent Is Any Guide, Google Answers Will Fizzle
By Andrew Goodman - http://www.traffick.com/article.asp?aID=69
predicts, carefully, that based on the past (the lack of success of
for-a-fee and free services alike), Google Answers will demise.
Yahoo launches advice site
By Troy Wolverton http://news.com.com/2100-1017-894968.html - on the
short life of Yahoo! Advice.
Google gives some advice...for a price By Stefanie Olsen
http://news.com.com/2100-1023-887360.html - on the birth od Google
You could also find latest news on Fee-based information services at
I hope this answered your question. I used various search strategies.
First, I searched by the names of the firms. Then, I added to that,
searches for sites that part of universities [site:edu] with these
names, and for combinations of these site names.
If you need any clarifications on this answer, please let me know
before you rate/tip this answer.