ChaCha Changes Raise New Questions—and Not Web Queries

Mobile service tries to up the quality of answers from its human guides.

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I've had decent luck calling ChaCha from a mobile phone. The human-generated search results are useful only about two thirds of the time, but the service is fast, free, and convenient when on the move. So I hope Jason Kincaid at TechCrunch is wrong in predicting that ChaCha will soon implode.

He predicts ChaCha's pay changes will anger its legions of "guides," the everyday folk who answer queries at 20 cents a pop. ChaCha is going for more quality, requiring guides to be more accurate and answer more questions to continue earning their 20 cents. Otherwise, the pay drops to 10 cents.

Quality seems a good goal. And the top pay seems enough to attract workers. Guides can pull down about $12 an hour if they answer a query a minute, which sounds doable. Not great moneybut better pay than deep-frying fries—and from the comfort of home.

Kincaid might be right about guides abandoning ChaCha. Also, it's never been clear how ChaCha is going to make money.

A hint for the latter came recently when ChaCha said it will offer similar, mobile-answer services to advertisers. Coca-Cola is the first to sign up. Hopeful sign, I guess, though I'm pressed trying to think of anything I'd want to ask. Maybe, "Where can I find New Coke for sale?"


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cellphones

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