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ChaCha Search More Fun for Pranksters than Searchers

A few months back I decided that I would sign up as a Search Guide for ChaCha simply to see what they had to offer searchers and get a bit of an inside look at the inner workings of the application. The concept is that “experts” in certain topics will be guides to those of us that can’t seem to find the information on the web that they are looking for on their own. When you go to the site you have the option to chat with a Live Guide and have them do the search for you. These guides then build the directory for the search with out a guide function so the guides are basically filling the system with the internal software by doing searches for real users.

To make money, Chacha relies 100% on banner ads. These show up on the search listing and when chatting with a live guide which are supposed to be relevant to the search terms. They even use video in these chats that are so annoying that any infoseeker may just want to close the window and give up on it. Guides are subject to these videos every time they do a search as well, which is more annoying than you can imagine.

Nice concept, but it has very little use for most. The application itself on the guide side of it is somewhat user friendly, but the guides themselves are subject to extreme human error. Categorizing information that is easily searchable is a debatable function in the system and many guides don’t even bother with it. You could search with a guide about “DVDs” and the guide might just categorize it under parenting because they are in a hurry. This then shows a DVD query in the parenting section when the actual search may have been about something totally unrelated.

Guides are treated as if they are sweatshop workers. They are paid $5 per SEARCH hour. This means that they are only paid when they are in an active search. Considering the system is extremely buggy and that the guides frequently get dropped from searches this $5 per hour is closer to $2 per hour if a guide sits there and takes searches the entire time. Guides can get to a level stated as “Elite” and receive $10 per search hour, but the way the system is set up they only get paid that amount on a particular search term they have selected and trained on. Based on experience in the system your search terms are rarely searched, and it is set up only to pay guides that way if the term is exact. It is not by category.

When I started guides had unlimited time to do searches and consequently would milk the system for the most part. To get around that ChaCha set a max time limit of 20 minutes for a search, which really was a decent time if real searchers came in and needed some difficult to find information. After about a month it was dropped to 10 minutes, and now it is set at 6 minutes. So basically a guide has 6 minutes to confirm what the searcher really wants, because we know many searches are very broad, do the search, post the results, and confirm that the infoseeker is satisfied. This may seem like a reasonable amount of time to perform the search, and it is in many circumstances, but guides are asked to work for free more times than not when a more detailed search is needed.

From my experience at least 90% of infoseekers are pranksters. It is a fun way for message board users to mess with guides while they post their conversations. So guides are spending more time reporting people than they are doing actual searches. Since all the searchers are pranksters, and guides are rated by infoseekers , many guides get awful ratings simply becasue the pranksters think it is funny. I welcomed pranksters during my limited time as a guide because if I didn’t I wouldn’t ever get anything to search for. They were the bright spot of the day and gave me some nice laughs.

Every once in a while I check in with ChaCha and try a search with a live guide just to see how it goes. I know what the guide application is like so I know how long it should take for searches I send in. I usually send in very simple searches that I could find in Google in seconds. Oh did I forget to mention that all the guides pretty much use Google to get your results for you? Yup. The application is set up where you use other search engines to find the information since the ChaCha index really isn’t that beneficial. It has built up a bit, but overall you can’t really give relevant links to an info seeker based on what is in the system. If another guide hasn’t searched it before it isn’t in the system so you have to use an outside source.

Anyways, back to the last couple times I did a search. I entered a very easy search. “How to make ice cream”. Easy enough and if you put that in Google you would have it in seconds. If I were doing the search from inside ChaCha it would probably take me closer to a minute since you have to go through all kinds of unnecessary steps to get to actually posting links. The first guide used a standard reply that guides have in their drop down menu and really never acknowledged my existence. After 3 minutes the guide never listed a link for me, nor did they respond to anything I had said. So I clicked on “New Guide” because this is unacceptable. The next guide was almost exactly the same. 3 minutes, no info, no response. New guide again. This is where I got the big surprise. The guide got into the system and is just an inside prankster. They posted a link to Yahoo! in the chat widow and told me to search for it myself. On top of that the guide called me the “N” word. So basically after 10 minutes and 3 guides I had no relevant links, and have been called a racial slur. Sounds like a great experience eh?

One other thing I wanted to mention about this was that when I first joined ChaCha had no message board for guides to discuss issues regarding anything. They had a message in their “Knowledge” base that stated there would be a forum within a week from when I signed up. They do have a forum now, but that took 3 moths to get rolling. 3 months to create a message board that even a remedial internet user could do within a couple hours. Since there was no place to talk with other guides I did a search on Google back then for ChaCha to find a message board that maybe a guide created. I ended up finding that most guides had gone to a forum created on WAHM.com so they could figure out what the heck was going on. This was because ChaCha simply didn’t provide guides with any information.

What is most interesting about all this is that guides posting on this forum caused ChaCha to implement a policy that I think shows exactly what ChaCha is all about. Even though they did not provide guides a private forum to speak about issues and the fact that the feedback e-mail box was always full, ChaCha decided to announce a Public Discussion Policy. This policy stated that any guide caught speaking negatively about ChaCha on a public forum would be terminated immediately. Can you believe that? They provide no place to discuss things privately and then have the nerve to threaten the guides who have complaints that would go unanswered when contacting ChaCha directly. I’m not against a policy of this sort by any means, but if you aren’t going to provide a community or support for guides you can’t expect them not to complain about it where they can. In this case it was a public forum since there was no other place to get information.

In my final opinion, ChaCha is not a useful service. It will never succeed because it really has no practical use and the people running it really don’t have a plan to treat either guides fairly, nor does the system really work in a way that is inviting to an infoseeker. They jumped on the marketing train early while the system was unstable and had promos on shows as big as Good Morning America. The day that aired the system was down most of the day. They have always been way ahead of their programmers and just do not understand their own limitations. OK concept in theory, but ultimately it is only worth using if you have some time on your hands and want to be a troll.

This site is pretty accurate as far as the truth goes:

ChaCha Sucks


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117 Responses to “ChaCha Search More Fun for Pranksters than Searchers”

  1. Seriously, I would agree that this is no way to ‘do business’. Both on the part of the guide and the searcher. The concept itself is nice, yet, search engines are improving and getting better.

    Soon, it would be an obsolete idea, since searching can be broken down to very specific wants, which can be done by the searcher.

  2. I wrote a link for you from your PPP forum entry, but I’m having trouble logging in to reply to you at PPP. Anyway – I’d appreciate it if you could still link to me.
    Thanks.

  3. Excellent article, I just posted a reference to it on my forum.

    I too had been a guide to see their inner workings, such as they are. I posted about the agreement and how one sided it is to the Guide yesterday. Several Guides have since posted it on WAHM and on the Official forum.

    Well I went to log in to the grand Underground today and I have been deactivated. Heaven forbid anyone points out the truth about their actions and abuse of the Guides.

  4. No kidding. I had a chance to view their forum a while back and it was interesting to say the least. WAHM of course is classic for that particular board. Got locked up for a couple of months actually from people arguing all the time…lol

    I signed up for your board the other day, but haven’t had a chance to get on there yet. Looks like a good crowd that uses common sense.

  5. I’ve heard of ChaCha and wondered about it. I didn’t get it because I never could figure out why someone would want a “guide.” I suppose there are those who don’t know how to google but how hard is it to instruct someone to go there?

    Interesting.

  6. Grats on being mentioned over at Techcrunch

    I’ve heard of ChaCha but never could figure out what it was really all about… now I know, hehe…

  7. To make money, Chacha relies 100% on banner ads. These show up on the search listing and when chatting with a live guide which are supposed to be relevant to the search terms. They even use video in these chats that are so annoying that any infoseeker may just want to close the window and give up on it. Guides are subject to these videos every time they do a search as well, which is more annoying than you can imagine.

    Okay, you have issues with ChaCha, but we do not have videos that pop-up as you described. And a few other points you made are incorrect. And, how is this blog any different from us being pranked? Maybe there are many glitches, and maybe there are pranksters in the system providing bad searches, but they would not be in if this kind of blog was not around. We provide a relevant service to many people, especially those who are not web-savvy…..and most of us care enough to send relevant material to say, kids doing homework, or people looking for information on health conditions, etc. You sound like a prankster who was booted and you are trying to justify your position.

  8. Hmmmm.your’e site states my e-mail will not be published?

  9. Your e-mail won’t be published. Not unless you entered it into the url box instead of the e-mail box. Do you want it published?

  10. As for the videos, you may not have them anymore, but they were there when I was a guide. Those really annoying ones that start automatically too. Not ones I could watch if I wanted to, but ones that just started and made the chat screen take forever to connect to the guides.

    I’m not trying to justify anything. Chacha is evil. They treat you guys like garbage and i wouldn’t recommend anyone to work for them. It makes me sad to see people who actually fall for their crap and are willing to do their bidding for less than minimum wage.

  11. I understand you have had “issues” however you are going to sit here and bash chacha!!! I have been a guide since Alpha stage. Yes chacha has its flaws however they are still in beta stage. And they are doing what needs to be done to get pranksters out of the system. I am alittle peaved that you can sit here and write a blog on the downside of chacha when there are upsides as well that you seem to have not mentioned. People come to chacha because they can’t find the information themselves, don’t want to scroll through hundreds of pages on google, yahoo, msn, ect. I have had alot of relevant searches and the IS have left happy and satisfied. Have been told by many “thanks you found exactly what I was looking for” in less than 3 minutes. Chacha isn’t for everyone. But to sit here and bash it. Is completely uncalled for. Whatever your grudge is get over it. Chacha is weeding out the bad guides (probably like you). So if your gonna right a blog why don’t you get most of the facts straight. Or were you one of the guides with the God complex that was let go for being a horrible trainer or playing around with the pranksters which was a violation of the Code of Conduct????.

  12. I have also been a chacha guide since the alpha stage. Oh yes it can be quite frustrating sometimes with all the changes. To me it is worth it though. Do you realize how many mothers get to stay home and raise their children because of chacha. No, not a main income by any means but it does supplement it. Its to bad that there are so many blogs like this one. It sways peoples minds before they even try ChaCha. Yes we are still in the beta stage and there is problems but you don’t help anything. Give it a rest and us guides a break. It’s naysayers like you that may bring chacha down and take away from these guides that are just trying to help their families. Believe me I am not a “gullible” person but I am also am not a quitter so I will stay and see where this goes. To call chacha “evil” is really going a little to far don’t you think? To me that just shows you are a disgruntled former guide with a axe to grind.

  13. Thanks for the comments. Glad to hear from some guides that are pro-ChaCha. ChaCha certainly isn’t going to stick up for themselves because they know what I say is true. it is better to just ignore it like they do the guides that have legitimate concerns.

    The axe to grind is that the guides they have seem to be fine with the fact that ChaCha pays them less than minimum wage. You are getting paid like a waitress with no tips. At least the guy that pinches your ass every now and then leaves you a 10 spot at the end of his meal. Pranksters leave you a bad rating and probably just offended you. ChaCha could care less about you. You could have been there since they opened the doors and they will drop you like a bad habit if you actually had a legitimate concern.

    There are MUCH better work at home jobs out there and you don’t have to put up with ass holes like me every day.

  14. I Look at it like this. Its a great opportunity for stay home moms wanting to make an extra buck. My pay goes for gas and grocery’s to feed my family. I am at home regardless, and on the computer regardless. Apparently something bad happened to you on why your a disgruntel ex chacha guide. Needless to say anytime I have reported anything to feedback I have gotten quick answers and not an auto reply. Just because your unhappy with it doesn’t give you the right to bash it and ruin it for others. “Chacha evil you say”!!!! I think your the evil one with a grudge on their shoulder. Give it up already and move on.

  15. LOL…well…good luck with it. If you are happy getting paid $2 an hour and making $20 in a day for 8 hours of work and getting harrassed by pranksters, then by all means keep at it.

    I have no grudge against anything that happened to me with ChaCha. In fact if it wasn’t for ChaCha I wouldn’t have found WAHM.com and I wouldn’t have found MANY other ways to make a lot of money online. I make what a guide makes in a day in 20 minutes. All of this is stuff I found on the WAHM site. ChaCha being half assed about putting up a board is making me a lot of money due to their incompetence. So I don’t hate ChaCha. I have no grudge. I’d just rather see people not get treated like crap by a place that doesn’t compensate them for it.

  16. lol so let me get this straight you have to search for assisted search to get assisted search, thats just retarded

  17. I really do not think people have BEEN ABLE TO STAY HOME because of ChaCha. Realy now. Though it was originally PROMOTED as a work at home job, it is not that anymore. If anything, alot of moms probably feel guilty for sitting on their assess so long waiting for a search. They will have found that they have been online literally all day and made ten bucks. Some will say “multi-task” ok, that is fine for some, but others find that unless they are constantly IN the ChaCha window, they do not get the search. Which means pretty much staring at the screen all day. If you get up to go pee, a search comes, you miss it. If you open up a new window, a search comes, you miss it. Sound familiar to anyone? Alot of Guides (Not all of course, there are alot of Guides that see nothing wrong with ChaCha at all. )realize that something like blogging or phone work or writing articles better benefits their time. They are not on as long. Sometimes you will find that in the time that you have sat there all day you think “oh my god…it’s four pm..I’ve made six bucks..I’ve been on since nine…I could have taken my little girl to the park..I could have cleaned the house from top to bottom..I could have pretended I had a life.”

    Like I said, not all Guides feel this way, but alot do. Not all Guides see the same searches, and not everyone gets the same amount of searches.

    The line about Guides being swayed by blogs before even trying ChaCha is a huge ass JOKE. HELLO..pranksters have TRIED ChaCha, find it hilariously stupid and get a big kick out of it so they come back for more. That is what causes people to write blogs. Experiencin ChaCha for themselves, and from reading what others have experienced.

  18. Just a note. The above line should have read “The line about POTENTIAL Guides and infoseekers being swayed by blogs”

    Also, I realize that ALOT of work at home moms cannot do phone work, and that is why ChaCha was originally so great. It saddnes me that it has gone down hill, it really does. The potential was there, possibly still IS there for it to be a great EXTRA money making op, but I don’t think it is going to get any better.

  19. I used to love ChaCha. I used to be able to justify sitting on my butt all day from the wee hours until fairly late at night because I would make close to 60 a day. However, not that I make about 12 a day if that, I can no longer justify sitting around and waiting. I too have noticed if I have somethin else opened, I can’t catch a search in time. Then when I DO get a search it is a prank and we are not supposed to encourage the pranksters by searching. However, if you look at any prankster forum I bet you would find that half the Guides that still stick up for ChaCha like it is perfect are the ones that take any old searches they can get. Of course they are happy, they are the ones getting all the searches and making all the money. DUH.

  20. ChaChabarfbag,

    Great comments.

    I feel the same way. It could have been great for WAHMs and anyone really. It would be great for college kids to do to make beer money or somehting, but not how they pay them now. I added a few affiliate links at the end of the post simply to try and show those who do ChaCha what esle it out there. There are so many easier and less time consuming ways to make money online than by wasting away waiting for those searches.

    Someone on TechCrunch made a great comment that I though was hilarious. He said something like they should change ChaCha to a site where it is just for lonely people to chat with someone. Guides sit there and come up with funny responses and that is what the site does. That is more realistic really than thinking this service has a long lasting benefit with how the guides are paid and treated.

    There was also some comments about how libraries already have this system, but the people that use it are actually getting good information from them. This is part of thier job and they get paid accordingly for what they know. ChaCha guides are just people that know how to use a search engine. I could take searches on anything. If something really in depth came up that I had no real knowledge of the odds of me being able to help were very slim. Only reason i’d even be int hat situation is like yo said. Searches come up and if you aren’t there you can’t get them. You have seconds to get those searches. You really can’t even look to see what it says because another guide will snipe them from you.

    Only reason I posted about this is because of the way ChaCha treats guides. I don’t even care about whether or not the idea is going to work. The guides are sorking for less than minimum wage and ChaCha just laughs at them with every new policy they create.

  21. http://blog.myspace.com/monkeymechx

    A story about ChaCha and being kicked unfairly.

  22. Thanks for the link.

  23. Great article, and great link from MonkeyMechX.

    When I got “deactivated”, I actually received a call from ChaCha. They were calling to tell me I “owed” them money and even made a few vague threats toward me. The tone of the conversation MonkeyMechX described in his MySpace blog sounded in line with the ChaChafia thugs I encountered, albeit less menacing in his case. In the end, I furiously hung up. Afterward, I thought things over and sent ChaCha a detailed e-mail outlining why I didn’t owe them money. I’ve never heard from them since.

    Bottom line: ChaCha treats their employees like shit, and they treat ex-employees like criminals. If you get de-activated, brace yourself for withheld wages and maybe even attempted extortion.

  24. I just wanted to say that I think your article was fantastic – really, really good. This explains so much to me. I hadn’t really paid a whole lot of attention to ChaCha (I am a part of the WAHM forum you linked to above so I have seen it mentioned)–but it seemed like the tone of the ChaCha posts were getting increasingly more negative as time went on. Now I know why. ;-)

    One thing I did want to say is that I have heard not-so-good things about Panda Research. Have you actually gotten paid by them? I have read many posts about how Panda was one to stay away from. Are there two different companies out there going by (almost) the same name or something? From what I remember, Panda was basically a scam. Has something changed that I don’t know about?

    Havs

  25. Joseph,

    Thank you for the comment. I am hearing more and more about deactivations lately and most of them sound like the guides are really unsure of why they were deactivated. Now it is hard to say whether people are exaggerating in waht has happened, or whether it was deserved, but there are some people I know personally that have been deactivated and I trust them so I do know some people are getting the shaft. I’m going to share a few stories I’ve seen lately this week I think once I have contacted all the people I want to talk to and get their permission to share them.

    Havs,

    To be honest with you I didn’t even want that Panda Research badge up there and fortunately no one signed up for it while it was. When i was grabbing survey sites for this post I got that one in there somehow and until you mentioned it I didn’t even know I had Panda on there. I’ve never used their services either. I know I have signed up for them before, but it seemed like all the offers I got from them were pretty bogus. I don’t like to do surveys to get entered into drawings, nor to be forced to buy anything. Sorry that I even posted it actually.

    If you see a WAH opportunity the best thing always to do is go right over to Google nad enter the company name along with the words “scam” and it should give you a pretty good idea what they are all about.

    The one I really like is Global Test Market . I am trying to get a banner from them so that I can put it up as well, but they don’t seem to be responding. I usually get about 10 surveys a week from them and they are all pretty easy. MAny I don’t qualify for, but they give you a quarter at least for answering the first 3 or 4 questions and you don’t qualify. It isn’t going to make you rich, but it is about the only one I’ve signed up for that doesn’t constantly send me surveys to do for a drawing.

    I’m not big on surveys, but this site lists quite a few from a member of the WAHM boards that actually pay money:

    http://www.squidoo.com/payingsurveys

  26. I’ve been a guide for almost two months though. Even with 6 minutes of search time I’m making $20+ a day just for sitting on the computer. That’s really not too bad, considering that every week I’m making more money. Yes, it does take work to make more money. No arguments there, but they clearly tell you what your terms are and it’s your choice whether you want to work for them or not. If the answer is no, don’t work for them… but don’t go crying injustice because you didn’t like the work.

    There are quite a few pranksters. So? Close the search when you find a prankster. You’re not required to sit there with them for 6 minutes and Chacha doesn’t want you to. I’ve helped a lot of people on Chacha who had looked and were unable to find some particular information. Believe it or not a lot of your more casual internet users just don’t know how to use search engines most effectively. That’s where guides come in.

    As far as guides using Google goes, right now Guides are doing searches for their key words plus pretty much every other topic known to man. The whole purpose of having key words is that one day Guides will be able to specialize in those key words and only do searches relating to them, where they will have their own set of resources ready to answer queries. Right now Chacha is in Beta stage and this is not possible, so people are handling a wide range of queries. Where else do you expect Guides to conjure this information up from? Of course they’re going to use search engines on topics that don’t have to do with their key words.

    Chacha is in Beta stage. Do you understand what Beta means? It means that it’s not finished. It’s being worked on. It’s being tested. Your little blog makes about as much sense as going to a building construction site and complaining about it not having working elevators.

  27. Don’t tell me about Beta. Beta is an excuse for why ChaCha screws you guides over every day by not paying you for site hiccups. ChaCha will be in Beta until they eventually end up not existing anymore.

    Specialize in keywords? You are kidding me right? How many times have you actually had one of your keywords come to you from a real searcher? You are not experts in anything. You guys just try to pick words that are popular and it is blatantly obvious to whomever is trying to get information from you.

    Everything I said is true and any guide that has been around long enough will realize it eventually. I don’t care if you fell for ChaCha’s lies and are willing to stick up for them. They don’t care about you and they never will.

    How about that new training idea they have where they let any guide just have keywords now? You understand what that means don’t you? Less training available to earn money with.

    IT is easier to use Google than it is to find Chacha, get to a guide, use an interactive menu, and then end up with garbage results.

    Quit a session with a prankster? Why would anyone do that? Guides make the type of money a can collector does in a day as it is and they should waste another 2 minutes dropping a prank search for no pay?

    It’s bad enough you guys get paid so little that anyone coming in for a search gets a guide that doesn’t even read what the search is about before they accept it. Any idiot can see that when a search for “Poo” comes in that they are dealing with a prankster, but obviously most guides don’t care and take it anyways.

    I’m sure someone doing a term paper on a subject is real satisfied when the guide has to ask them what this topic is even about before they can search. Then after 6 minutes of wasting their time with no results they get transferred to some other guide that has no idea what the subject is about and end up wasting 20 minuted to get garbage results. Guides have no incentive to keep helping the guy.

    Guides are never going to be “skilled” in their search terms. ChaCha will never allow it because they can’t keep guides around long enough for them to be. People can only get kicked for so long before they decide to leave. The never ending cycle will continue as ChaCha finds more and more ways to get guides down to $1 an hour.

  28. http://community.livejournal.com/ontd_trash/1434611.html?page=9&view=50098931

  29. wow, your all sick mothers..how dare you all sit here and, criticize a company you don’t even know? i am paid very generous for my keywords.what would you know? Huh? you all sit here and, bitch about it.
    i plan to move on and, make an excellent income while you all sit here on this fukin stupid “blog” making jackass nothing!!!!!
    grow up.

  30. What the hell are you even saying? Thanks for your obnoxious, and ridiculous comment.

  31. @JMH: Don’t worry about that last comment. You’ll find trolls everywhere. I suppose if an “excellent income” means $5 a day, cyabyatch must be practically rolling in it!

  32. I have to admit being a chacha guide is kind of fun. But I take the pranksters. I don’t feel abused by the pranksters because I have a good time with them, and I believe they have a good time with me. If I didnt take the pranksters I wouldn’t make enough money and wouldn’t bother. As it is, I don’t make enough money. Even with the pranksers I can’t seem to make more then five bucks a night. I can do this chacha thing during my Tv time, multitasking that and CSI.

    I also have two computers set up next to each other so I can read or write while I wait for a search. I don’t believe it is possible to make more then ten bucks in ten hours though. I don’t know what these others posters are taking about. I am disabled with a limited income so I’d be thrilled with 20 dollars a night,(600 extra a month!) but it doesn’t happen.

    I don’t know why chacha cares what kind of search we do as long as we atttract traffic. I don’t expect or hope to make any more then the money to cover my cable bill every month but every little bit helps. My cable bill (85 dollars a month)really cuts into my SSI check.

    As guides so I actually do know what I am doing, as I have an AS degree in computer applications and have actually taken a required class in how to do internet research. I have to dispute that searching IS a skill that is not always so instinctive.

    My instructor would give us search terms to look up and very few people would be able to find what he requested. You had a few talented people actually finding this stuff and everyone would gather around to find out how he did it. it isn’t what you guys would expect.

    Searching correctly is a skill, abiet one that could be learned in two weeks. I just wanted to point that out.

    I also want to aknowledge that not all chacha guides have had special search training, beyond what you need to know to run the application. But those of us who do have that training know it takes still to search for things in …china for example and not in your native language.

    But as a webmaster myself, and JMH you probably know what I am saying..there is no bad traffic. We keep people coming, and we do enough legit searches to appear respectable. But I am sure they will fire me too eventually. I am prepared for this.

  33. JMH – Have you come across a recent scam called goodgradesnow.com? I’m bringing this up because it has a direct relation to your comments regarding ChaCha..

    These guys as “goodgradesnow.com apparently hacked into Monster to post their ad, naturally gave credibility to their company and application process. They are (if they haven’t been shut down yet) looking for Tutors…50 bucks an hour, online or in-home for grades K – 12. I had a problem with the initial ap, wrote the company, had it returned as a mail daemon and then suddenly received an email saying they accepted my first ap (dunno how, the first ap was just like ChaCha…no credentials required.) and wanted to pursue my skills for a position. The second ap took the same info, except for one thing. At the top of the page (that had the required basic name, address etc.) it clearly stated that the following page required financial information i.e. credit card or bank account….stating that they need it to send appropriate materials needed to be a tutor or “other such related” costs for future ordering. Excuse me?

    I reported the site as fraud and the email as phishing, but prior to that typed the name in Google, and scrolled down till I hit a spam site where I read the details of the non-existence of their email address and request to shut the site down. I seriously look for this type of junk when it looks too good to be true or I find inconsistencies in emails or on the website. Just for grins though…I must cite one of their application questions. The respondent HAD to choose between…. a) I would like to receive necessary material to start my own business or…. b) I do not feel qualified to own my own business. Hilarious, don’t you think? After all, what kind of choice is that for anyone with a mere spark of intelligence?

    Here’s my point…. I applied to ChaCha because the site is an excellent sell. I didn’t hear back in the time frame they proposed as reasonable – two weeks. Since I don’t’ sit and wait on things like this, it ended up being about six weeks. I copied and pasted what was written in the email I got today….
    “Good News! ChaCha is doing great and we need people like you to join our team soon. We are excited you have already expressed an interest in becoming a ChaCha Guide, but we have recently made some enhancements to our Guide Sign-up page and we are asking all prospective Guides to visit http://www.chacha.com/guidesignup to re-submit your application to be considered.” Also stated was, “If you do not resubmit your original application, you will not be considered for a position.”

    I don’t know why but I get gut feelings about things like this, so I typed ChaCha in my search window and came across your site. I just spent the last two hours reading your take on the whole fiasco and all the comments back and forth from other readers/bloggers, etc. And this is my conclusion……….

    If you hadn’t written what you did, I would not have gained your informative insight, especially since you were a former employee. I viewed each point you made as intelligent and credible even though you slammed them a bit – which still did NOT strike me as you being a disgruntled ex-employee. My impression was that you were really pissed off about wasting precious time on something you considered unworthy of your expertise – especially with the pay involved. Your reasoning is quite sound and your examples to back it up are truly legitimate. Additionally, I found your responses to each comment not only humorous, but effective in keeping your facts as the main basis for your argument.

    Personally, I will not choose to pursue application to this company and did not decide from your comments alone. Those who disagreed demonstrated more emotionalism than factual data to support their arguments. Why? Companies like this prey on homemakers and the disabled, who are grateful just to get the chance to work out of their home and without the risk of any monetary investment or being pain nothing. These same respondents ended up validating your claims of shameful compensations for their time and admitted to your complaints regarding lack of company support emails and forums/employee message boards to assist further. Those in support of your opinion all agreed on the ridiculous notion of finding a website to find a website and taking even more time to get assistance for a search. The idea of people catching/stealing posts just seconds before you can get to them is skuzzy to say the least.

    It is this type of internet blood-sucking that lures and fools people into thinking they can make money and these same individuals are left rationalizing how they are making a difference in other people’s lives. Which make people like you a necessity for giving insight to those of us who want to know the facts prior to pouring our time into an empty venture. If there were blogs/sites like yours and scam finders 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have wasted years deciphering which ones fit categories of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Keep on Truckin’ dude. (Old hippie term)

    And just for the record…(You don’t need to print this) The word “evil”, according to Dictionary.com’s Thesaurus refers to synonyms such as corrupt, wrong, atrocious, repugnant, loathsome, offensive, calamitous – aside from others. People tend to associate the word “evil” with demonic activity, ruling out less dramatic terms. Sad but true. Perhaps you might take this into consideration in choosing terms that invite and ignite the righteous to cleverly avoid the “real” subject and divert reader’s attention elsewhere. I call it an attempt to argue about an example and not the real issue.

  34. Awesome post. Thanks for the props. Glad people find this and I save them some time. I honestly don’t make any real money from this site unless I do some paid posts or something so the ChaCha stuff I did is basically just informative for anyone that wants to check it out first and save themselves the hassle and time. I could make decent money with this site if I wanted to, but at this point I’m busy with quite a few sites so this is a low priority. The Chacha articles were something I just had to write though because I saw so many people getting treated terribly and wanted others to know what kind of show those guys are running.

    I haven’t heard of the tutor thing yet, but I think I’ll look into it. I almost feel like getting into the idea of just exposing scams now since i don’t really have much other interest for this site than that.

    I went over to Chacha today like I do every now and then, ( I am still a registered guide, btw) and wanted to see if I was still making any referral commissions. Looks like my group has finally caught on and quit. Glad to see. I tried to help them get into other things, but they just ignored me. Oh well. They may have finally figured it out.

    Anyways, I notice that you can’t even use a guide anymore now unless you register for the site. You have to log in to do a search with a guide, which pretty much kills the pay for guides even more. If they weren’t such scammy bastards people could actually make some decent cash with ChaCha, but they just keep changing the rules to try and move away fromt he guides.

  35. Well, hang in there J….time to move on from Cha-chi loves Joanie and put your talents toward a greater good. You’re smart enough to start a place for people to rely on to get some informative info on sites that may not be classified as phishing or fraud….but those infamous sites that promise big and pay little. To me, that’s just as important because people would like to get the goods on not-so-good money makers. “Wanna work outa your home? Make big bucks? Great for homemakers (and the disabled…although they never say that…).” type site mugsters where they make all the money and everyone who joins gets change for the family coin jar.

    It’s all about sponsors, as you know. If you get enough hits, you don’t have to worry about contacting the big wigs with the bucks. They will seek you out if your hit count goes ballistic. ….Which reminds me of yet another non-fraud site I paid $68.00 just to find out how to write and get sponsors for my website. Problem was…I didn’t have a website at the time. After I bought the program, I didn’t know what to do with it. The guy who put it together had these great letters that were guaranteed to bring in sub-standard sponsors at $700.00 a pop. The dude was great. He made 68 bucks a hundred times over to twerps like me who thought they’d get the jump on internet marketing. I’m not even sure he truly meant to shiest anyone. But after the money starts rolling in….who really cares.

    Believe it or not, there are STILL people out there sending the Bill Gates/Microsoft email. You know…the one where Billy boy has to get rid of cash and wants to like…gee…give it back to the common folk?
    No. I am not kidding. That retarded email is over five years old and continues to circulate. I have a friend who sent it to me – I sent her the spamscam site where the write-up for this ridiculous notion appeared – and six months later, she sent the same email to me again. No. I’m not making this up to be humorous because it isn’t the least bit funny. Unfortunately, it is quite true.

    I’m not sure the internet public realizes how completely uneducated they are when it comes to very simple details involving their hardware, software and internet use. I actually know people who don’t have an Anti-virus program (excluding Mac users). Stop laughing. It’s absolutely factual. And no, they never heard of a Trojan either.

    There are so many needs out there, and many solutions. Ironic as it is, no one knows who to trust and yet they still trust anybody. But as I said, it isn’t all about phishing and “too good to be true” sites. It’s the ones in the middle that keep taking novice users by storm, and mostly because they’re not technically in the category of scams.
    It’s a thought anyway.

  36. I recently became an SMS (mobile) ChaCha guide. I make $10-12 an hour, and am payed per search.
    The mobile service is much more useful to people, because they can access information from anywhere, using only their mobile phones.
    Granted, many of today’s phones come standard with internet access, but most of the guides I’ve gotten responses from have given me good information. The desktop response program sounds jacked, and I’m glad it didn’t have a chance to turn me sour.

  37. I am a current ChaCha guide and just wanted to post that so many things you posted over a year ago are so different now. I love being a guide. I know I could make more money if I went out and got a “regular” job but then I would have to pay for work clothes, gas, childcare, etc… So honestly, this is a much better way for me to make money sitting at home. Yeah there are glitches and other things that do annoy me at times. But overall it’s a great system. I use ChaCha all the time as a user when I am out and need information. It’s great when I need driving directions, phone numbers, recipes, etc…. and I don’t have access to the web. I think ChaCha has grown tremendously and is striving to make the system more efficient and user friendly for guides and customers.

    And I don’t make $5 an hour. I try to only do ChaCha at busy times (at night after the kids are in bed) and the questions come back to back. I can’t even get a break to click away when I need to some nights. I generally make $7-10 an hour. And again, it’s actually in the end a lot more than I would make paying for childcare for 2 full time and 2 after school, plus with gas prices and clothes, etc… I can’t make that much working outside the home. Plus I can do it whenever I want, however much I want.

    So it sounds like in the beginning the system had it’s flaws but what new business doesn’t. No one forced you to do ChaCha and so if others are happy then so be it.

  38. Why was my post deleted? Coward.

  39. Very few, if any guides make $7-$10 at ChaCha. The new “Pay for Performance” plan is a real joke. It is a good idea, but the implementation is flawed. They base the pay now on Accuracy and Completion rates. The problem is they don’t have any system in place to measure Accuracy or Completion. They just expect Guides to accept when they get their pay cut to $0.10 a question. No one knows how Accuracy is measured and you don’t get any feedback on why you failed to make the “Top guide list.” It is sad really that some guides think this is a great place to work.

    ChaCha is depending on the disabled and work-at-home moms for their workforce. ChaCha uses the same philosophy that the Rent-to-Own appliance centers and check cashing/cash advance stores use. Yes, I guess they supply a service, but the service does take advantage of others. As a mom with a husband that makes a bit over minimum wage, I’m in the same boat as the previous poster. I’m just not stupid enough to drink the ChaCha Koolaid and believe their crap!

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  46. While it sounds like a great way to help people that don’t know what they are doing, by no means does reading any of this convince me it is unique in anyway. Just better marketed information selling is all. All this information is available if you search for it, and all it takes is some initiative. It’s exactly the same thing you claim it isn’t, which is part of the same technique that all the others you rail against use.

    Most people aren’t going anywhere by signing up for this because they don’t have any initiative and think it is all “easy”.

    Your site is more or less spam and I am removing the link, but if anyone wants to know about Third Tribe they can take your advice and search Google for it.

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