How To Sell Your Expertese Online And Make Good Money At It.

Internet users can now get paid for dispensing advice to strangers on virtually any subject -- from computers to calories.

But some of the new services from Web sites like, and are tricky to set up and a bit of a hassle to operate -- most require that you be logged on to your computer to land any business. For those looking for advice, the sites are easier to operate but the quality of answers varies widely.

Users connect with customers over instant-message chat, Internet-phone call or by calling real telephone number. Advice-seekers pay a fee (often a set charge or a per-minute price) via credit card or an electronic payment account like PayPal. The site takes a commission, often around 10% or 15%.

Sites, which ban adult content, vary widely in their quality. Although some require a user to post their credentials to advise on specialized topics like professional coaching or nutrition, most were open to anyone. While some "experts" gave us useful advice, other answers to our queries were silly. When we asked, "How do I hang a painting?" the first response we got was "On the wall."

Web site:
How it works: Users register with username and email, price per minute and areas of expertise like digital photography or fashion. Skype, an Internet phone service, is required for both parties.
Comment: Payment system was more sophisticated than on other sites. The adviser and client can talk free of charge until they agree upon the terms of the call. The customer is charged only for the amount of time they actually spend on the call.

Web site:
How it works: Users enter a description of their expertise, like computer support or editing, and how they want to charge. The site then generates a phone number that a user can post to a blog or Web site or that can be included on the Ether adviser blog.
Comment: The unique landline phone number for each adviser was simpler to use than connecting over an Internet phone service.

Web site:
How it works: The site notifies advisers when someone is asking a question relevant to their expertise -- like science or education -- through software they download to their desktop. Jyve connects them via a text-based chat.
Comments: It was a bit inconvenient to keep the software application running. Jyve says it plans to allow users to be notified through their toolbar when they are logged in to their browser.

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