Just Questions? Just Answers?
October 30, 2009 3:24 PM   Subscribe

I just bumped into a website justanswers.com while researching the world of medical second opinion. I have questions about the business and the human psyhcology behind it.....

1. I am intrigued byt their business model where you pay what you think is fair and also if you are not satisfied with the answer you can choose not to pay (is this real and how does it really work?). Are they relying on the goodwill of the customer and isnt the web a dangerous place to be doing this?

2. Have you, do you or do you know anyone who works for justanswers.com (pref. medical side)? What are your experiences?

3. Does this model make money?

Thanks very much in advance
posted by london302 to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My intuition says this: this is a flawed business because the person asking the question is asking a question because he doesn't know the answer. How, then, is he to discern that a particular answer is correct?

Ask Metafilter works, I think, because most questions receive multiple answers, and the person asking the question can deduce which is most likely correct on the basis of (1) receiving similar answers, and (2) those answers most-favorited by other Ask Metafilter users (the so-called wisdom of the crowds effect.

Justanswers.com appears to have a one-to-one relationship between question and answer. Which doesn't make sense to me.
posted by dfriedman at 3:29 PM on October 30, 2009

Hmm, in theory, a professional might be willing to give their professional advice if they think it would mean paying customers further down the line. I assume there's follow up links to the expert that provided the answer? Perhaps, if you're a struggling solicitors with little work on, you might as well use this service to see if you can ultimately get some paying clients? I can only see it working really with law, (US) medical, and perhaps household/car repairs?

Having said that, it's a little too "global" - this kind of service would work far better at a local/regional level; It's doomed to failure.
posted by BigCalm at 4:13 PM on October 30, 2009

These sites are plagued by people in third-world countries masquerading as people/experts that they are not. Occasionally they screen but YMMV. This type of site is nothing new and it is basically a company trying to insert itself as the middleman between the communication of two parties.

That said, you can probably make a few bucks if you're interested, but be warned that it is much harder to make money once a site like this becomes established because they go out of their way to promote those who have the highest ratings, and then it just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and it be comes very difficult to break the top listings. I'm sure if you saw a graph of the earnings of everybody in a category, it would look like the long tail graph.
posted by Elminster24 at 9:15 PM on October 30, 2009

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