One of the most popular email questions I receive deals with working from home.
If you are a frequent reader of Army Wife 101 , you know that I have worked from home since 2004 in various telecommuting positions.
One of the most fun positions I have held before was for Chacha.com. I was literally a human search engine agent and found information for people via the internet. I recently contacted the good folks at Chacha to talk alittle more about Chacha and their work at home program:
What is ChaCha
Like having a smart friend on the go, 24/7. Different ways to access: text 242 242, call 1-800-2-242 242, access our website ChaCha.com, we have apps for different phones (Blackberry, IPhone), and we’re also accessible via facebook and Twitter. Users can ask us any question, and we’ll send an answer back within about 5 minutes or less.
Instead of getting a bunch of search results that you’ve got to sort through (which can be painful and time-consuming on a mobile phone!), you get back the answer to the question. It’s really popular and growing by word of mouth, and our users do truly see us as their friend. How many people say “good night” to their search engine?
Who uses ChaCha?
People of all ages, but our sweet spot is the teen and young adult demographic who’ve grown up with technology and are always looking for ways to leverage it to make their lives easier.
How many questions does ChaCha answer every day?
We answer more than 1.5 Million questions a day via our SMS service, and online at ChaCha.com we have more than 500,000 page views on the web every day. We have almost 15 million unique users every month across the different platforms.
Who answers the questions?
ChaCha has more than 50,000 independent contractor Guides who work remotely. There are different Guide roles: Voice Transcribers (Transcribe voice questions), Expeditors (can serve previously create answer if relevant, or use tools like specialized content providers for quick answer), and Specialists (for those that require research), and also store answers to serve again later.
How do Guides get the questions?
We have our own proprietary technology, a browser-based application called the Universe. To work, a Guide just needs access to a computer and high speed internet access. Once they’re logged in and set themselves to “available” they start receiving questions.
What kind of questions would a Guide expect to get?
Anything from Sports scores, to relationship advice, to trivia and current events. Like “is Lindsay Lohan going to jail?” Expeditors and Voice transcribers get questions across all the different categories, but Specialists primarily receive questions in their areas of expertise (they sign up for categories and interests). Our routing system always looks for the best Guide available in the category of the question.
What is the schedule for a Guide?
Our Guides tell us that one of the most compelling aspects of Guiding for ChaCha is that there is no schedule, and no minimum number of hours or sessions that they need to complete in order to be a Guide. It offers maximum flexibility, which seems to resonate with stay at home parents, college students, and also as a way to earn extra income for people who are already fully employed. People love getting to work wherever and whenever they want, in their PJs if they want to!
What skills are needed to be a Guide?
Innate sense of curiosity, love helping others, be good at searching online. Registration process includes training and testing to determine whether a good fit for one of our Guide roles. There is ongoing feedback re quality.
Do you give Guides any special tools to do their searching?
In addition to the browser-based application, which has lots of extra tools and resources like content-specific recommended links, we also have an online training portal called Search University. It has a you-tube like feel to it, with lots of accessible tipsheets and videos. Guides also have a quality rating tab with specific feedback regarding their searches so that they can continuously improve the quality of their answers. We also have a Forum where Guides can help each other. In addition to helping each other, it’s a great place to meet new friends.
How much do Guides earn?
Depends on how productive they are and their level of experience. Can vary dramatically. Pay is per session: $.10-$.20 per Specialist session, $.02/Expedite, and $.03 per VT session. Most Guides average a few dollars an hr, though there are veteran Guides making up to $10/hr. Guides can also earn through adhoc contests, weekly awards for top performers, and by recruiting others into their network. ChaCha pays a bonus of 10% of what they earn (out of ChaCha’s budget, not from the other Guides’ pay). The cool thing is that lots of people spend time every day surfing for fun, and with ChaCha you get paid to surf the net – and learn tons of cool factoids doing it!
How can someone apply to be a Guide?
Through BecomeAGuide.chacha.com. Most people get registered and through their training and testing process within 24 hrs, so it’s very straightforward.
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