JustAnswer.com offers team of experts for your family, anytime
by May 24th 2010 11:00AM
"Anyone in the world can have their own group of experts 24/7." said Andy Kurtzig, founder and CEO of JustAnswer.com in a phone interview with WalletPop. "I need a lawyer today to help me with this problem; I need a doctor today to help me with that problem; I need an accountant," explains Kurtzig, "and all that for $20-$30 a month."
The subscription service, which launched today, will start at $9 and go up to $60 based on the level of expertise you are looking for. Kurtzig explained that the price isn't dependent on the difficulty of the question, or the value of the answer, but instead on the expert's credentials. For example, a credentialed attorney's advice is valued higher than that of , say, a paralegal, just as it would be in the real world.
No matter which level of subscription you choose, you will have access to verified experts in all 150 of the fields that are offered on JustAnswer. This includes the broad fields mentioned above, and narrow specialties within each discipline.
If you only have one burning question and don't need a subscription, go ahead and ask.one of the site's experts. Like the subscription, the price of a question varies, but in this case you choose on a per question basis how much you want to pay. JustAnswer provides you with three suggested prices and the option to pay more if you feel the question deserves it. According to the JustAnswer website, "The quality and speed of the answer depends on how fair Experts believe the offered price to be (as compared to the complexity of the question and speed required)."
When it comes to vetting their experts, JustAnswer puts applicants to the test and eventually only accepts between 5%-10% of those who apply. The application process begins with a test tailored to the field of expertise, which if passed leads to a background check and then a limited number of questions while the expert is reviewed by both customers and verified experts. This vetting process is one of the things which separates JustAnswer from general question and answer websites, says Kurtzig.
If you are an expert who wants to answer questions, the application process is free, (although there is a small fee for a background check.) While the amount experts earn varies greatly, Kurtzig told WalletPop that there are a few experts making $20,000 on JustAnswer.
When I asked several JustAnswer experts tax, finance and car repair questions, I found that for the most part the service was excellent. When I asked what our options were for moving or using my wife's retirement account from a former employer, which is only partially vested, I received an incredibly detailed and easy to understand response. Same goes for whether I would receive any tax benefits for forming a business for my writing.
Car repair turned out to be the trickiest question I asked since it was difficult to type the exact noise coming from my front passenger side wheel well. To the expert's credit he provided me with a possible issues and a diagram showing the part that may need replaced if I wanted to do it myself. In this instance, being able to speak to a local expert and imitate the sound, or show them in a parking lot, led to the actual solution. In this case I wasn't charged and was given the option to relist the question. If you plan to ask a similar question you should probably record the noise or problem and share it with the mechanic via YouTube or another free video sharing website.
When you get down to it, the best part about JustAnswer is that the service removes many of the barriers which prevent everyday people from getting answers to important legal, money, health and life questions. Instead of taking an afternoon off work and paying an expensive fee for an answer; you can ask anytime, anywhere and get an affordable answer from a verified expert. You may find out that your problem does require a visit to a local expert for additional help, but the initial process is, as Kurtzig describes it, "An order of magnitude easier and cheaper for people who need help."