Written manuals are so 20th century. With the advent of user-generated video, the internet is packed with tutorials to teach you how to straighten hair, travel in West Africa, buy a used treadmill or solve Sudoku. The next time you need help with almost any imaginable task, check out one of these four different sites-- Monkeysee, Mindbites, Howcast or Wonderhowto. The answer is probably there.
Monkeysee.com offers free access to a wide selection of professional and user-generated how-to videos. It also has an in-house production studio to help those wishing to become a Featured Expert create their own videos. Such videos have become a crucial part of the savvy entrepenuer's marketing strategy, and Monkeysee seems to be cashing in on that trend.
Wonderhowto.com is more of a search engine for how-to's, offering the ability to pull content from over 500 specialized sites. Guest curators (unpaid) created Wonderlists of suggested videos, and users rate/comment on them ala YouTube.
Mindbites.com takes the iTunes approach, charging a modest fee to users (as little as $1.69) per video, and kicking up to 60% of that to the creator of the how-to.
Howcast.com has an even more interesting strategy. A group of paid Experts select topics and write scripts for how-to videos. Anyone capable of creating a professional video from that script can apply to become a Director. If selected, they are paid $50 plus a cut of earning for viewing over 40,000 to film these scripts. Viewers can watch the videos for free, though.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth ten times that. A warning, though; these videos can become addictive! Fortunately, there are also videos on kicking addiction.