Even worse? Actually being a know-it-all. But having that all-knowing power can pay off. When extra cash is needed (and when isn’t it?) it is possible to earn money by simply serving as a virtual know-it-all, answering questions about assorted topics for various websites.
Imagine being a tourist and searching your iPhone for a popular local lunch spot. Or let’s say you’re trying to settle a bet with your best friend about which film won Best Picture in 1999 (The answer, by the way, is “Shakespeare in Love”). Many companies pay folks to help respond to these queries. Humans can often be better than computers in this role because they are better able to understand complicated questions in our less-than-perfect, human vocabulary.
Think of it like a concierge for the virtual world. But instead of waiting awkwardly for a tourist to dig through his trouser pocket for a $1 bill to offer as a tip, the money comes from a company that hires people like you to seek answers to questions sought in the virtual world.
Participants must have a computer and Internet access, and must be at least 18. Some of the sites will put participants through an application process, but most will just ask them to make a profile with their site.
If you know a thing or two about a certain subject like car repair or cooking, many sites will put it to good use. Other sites don't require expertise in any certain category as long as the research can be done quickly. If you have reliable resources that can be trusted, you should easily be able to summarize the information.
The process varies for each individual site. Some allow users to ask questions, and then if the topic is in your subject area, you'll be notified. Think of it like Facebook: Log on, check to see if there is anything new, and then go from there.
Sites like ChaCha and KGB have questions that come in from text messages and must be answered immediately by their “guides” (ChaCha) and “special agents” (KGB). For example, a recent question posed on KGB asked this: “What’s the real name of DJ Jazzy Jeff?” Answer: Jeffrey Allen Townes.
Experts don’t sign up for shifts, so hours are flexible. Here are a few sites to consider:
The site Just Answer hires experts in very specific areas such as tech support, health, home improvement, and law. Look at all the categories to see if you qualify as an expert, fill out an application, and then verify your credentials.
Users post a question and the price they are willing to pay for it to be answered. Prices will vary from $5 to $20. Initially, experts are paid 25% of that amount, but they eventually get the opportunity to move up to 50%.
After the answer has been accepted, the money will go into the expert’s account. After reaching $20, experts are paid through PayPal.
Student of Fortune
Users visiting Student of Fortune post an academic or technical issue and how much they're willing to pay. A preview of your answer/tutorial will appear along with your price. If it's chosen, you'll get paid around 80% of the amount.
Unfortunately, there are some possible pitfalls: You could invest the time into writing an answer that isn’t chosen. However, there's a bonus: Once your answer has been uploaded, you can make money off of it over and over again!.
This texting service allows people to text a question that is answered by one of their “guides.” The guide is paid for every answer that is given. Unfortunately, the pay has recently decreased and has resulted in comments from guides who say it isn’t worth the effort. But for those with extra time on their hands, it could be worthwhile.
Anyone can sign up at WebAnswers, and there's no application process, so it is possible to start answering questions immediately. However, you must answer 50 questions before getting paid. At that point experts are required to sign up for a Google Adsense account.
KGB stands for "knowledge," and it's also the number used to text message a questions (KGBKGB = 542542). This service is similar to ChaCha and is a two-way mobile texting service where users ask questions and agents answer. They pay $0.10 for each response an agent sends. When the KGB database automatically populates an agent’s response, that agent receives $0.05.
Be aware, agents must pass a test to show they are capable of finding answers quickly online. Also, be aware that some of the content may be inappropriate. Agents are in no way obligated to answer these questions, but it's something to be expected.