There used to be quite a number of services that allowed people to
sign up as advisors or researchers to help people find the information
they're looking for. The numbers have rapidly dwindled as many
companies have focused more on getting a lot of researchers and less
on getting a lot of customers, but there are a few survivors.
My favorite, of course, is Google Answers. Alas, Google Answers is
not currently accepting applications for new Researchers:
Google Answers FAQ - How do I sign up to become a Researcher?
...but your friend can come back and check the FAQ frequently, should
spots become available again.
Kasamba offers the opportunity to market your researching skills and
earn money for your efforts. Kasamba provides the ability to connect
with customers via e-mail, chat or video, and offers free tools to
help you market yourself. You set your own rates and availability.
Clients pay Kasamba, which then withholds 30% of the fee, then
forwards payment on to you every 30 days.
Experts can register here:
Kasamba Sign Up
AdviceTrader (formerly SwapSmarts) touts itself in press releases and
"fact sheets" as better than Google Answers!
How Does Google Answers Stack Up?
Closer inspection shows just 2 questions available for some 1840
"qualified experts" to answer. Your friend likely won't make much
from this service, but if he'd like to give it a go:
Register as an Advisor
UK based BumperBrain allows users to sign up as regular users who are
permitted to answer questions for free, or as experts who can charge a
fee. Experts set their own fee, and are paid via a BumperBrain escrow
account, which allows you to witdraw your funds 14 days after being
To become an expert, one must sign up first as a regular user, then
sign up as an expert through the settings panel. The site is rather
difficult to navigate, I wasn't able to determine if the site is busy
Helpshare allows users to post questions, then select which answer
they wish to pay for. Experts work "on spec", posting their work in
the hopes that the customer will reward them. Not a busy site - there
was only one archived question, and none available to answer:
If your friend is gregarious and likes to talk on the phone, he might
be interested in joining Keen, a telephone information service.
Advisors set their own rates, hours of availability and areas of
expertise. Users call advisors druing their set hours, through a
relay number provided by Keen (which recently acquired LiveAdvice).
Advisors are paid through monthly checks, monthly direct deposit, or
daily "express pay" which sends funds to your bank account each day,
to arrive one week after you've earned it:
I'm afraid that's all that's left as of today, and that number looks
to be growing ever smaller, if the scanty numbers of questions
available on Helpshare and AdviceTrader are any indication.
Who were the rest and where did they go? Alex Frangos, of the Wall
Street Journal, answers in his September 16th, 2002 article "A
Question For Google":
"The Big Question: Where Are They Now?
Lots of sites have tried connecting surfers with experts who will
answer their questions. What happened to them? Take a look.
Answers.com: Answers.com was retooled in 2000 as a provider of
customer-service tools for businesses. That year, the site was bought
by a Canadian company called Net Shepherd Inc., which ran out of cash
in 2001; Answers.com closed.
Advoco.com: The site changed its name to EXP.com in 1999. By December
2000, it had abandoned consumer service and concentrated on selling
customer-service software to companies. The EXP site (www.exp.com) now
is only a front page with a phone number and address in Menlo Park,
Allexperts.com: The service (www.allexperts.com) was bought by
About.com in 2000 and is still in existence today.
Askme.com: Originally a consumer site called XpertSite.com, Askme.com
now devotes most of its resources to selling software to businesses
that lets their workers share information and tips. The consumer site
(www.askme.com) still exists, though buried behind a corporate home
Experts.com: The site (www.experts.com), which presents a registry of
professionals offering their services, is alive and kicking. But it's
not a big player in the consumer realm; it's mostly directed at
businesses and law firms looking for expert witnesses and consultants.
Experts.yahoo.com: The site was shut down in May 2002 when Yahoo
contracted with LiveAdvice (formerly InfoRocket) to sell expert advice
over the phone.
Expertcity.com: The site (www.expertcity.com), which provided expert
technical advice on computers and software problems, refocused its
business in December 2001 and now sells remote-access software for
Expertcentral.com: Expertcentral stopped generating its own content
when it was bought in 2000 by About.com and folded into About's expert
Frenzi.com: Frenzi offered a Q&A barter system where users had to
answer questions to earn chits in order to ask other questions. The
company ran out of cash in mid-2000, and in December 2001 the founder
of the company, David Shackleton, sold the domain name on eBay for
$157.50. The name is now owned by a Explored Technologies, a
"developer of browser based tools and software."
Infomarkets.com: The consumer site was abandoned, though the corporate
home page still exists -- with a phone number that doesn't work.
Inforocket.com: This expert service (www.inforocket.com) relaunched in
October 2001 as Liveadvice and switched to linking users to advice
givers by telephone rather than through the Net. In spring 2002,
Liveadvice sealed an agreement with Yahoo to become its exclusive
Knowpost.com: Recent attempts to surf to the site, which had a barter
system similar to Frenzi's, met with the following: "This page cannot
Webhelp.com: The consumer site, which offered live chat with experts,
was shut down last year. The company now provides businesses with
offshore customer-service and support infrastructure."
A Question For Google - Alex Frangos
The Wall Street Journal
September 16th, 2002
In addition to the Wall Street Journal, I used the following sources
to prepare your answer:
I hope you find this helpful!
Search terms: Sources noted above.