ChaCha’s incorrect answers continue to disappoint

ChaCha has gone from a really great service to a mostly entertainment service to completely useless to me. I have given them multiple opportunities to redeem themselves but they continue to disappoint.

Most recently I was in West Bend, Wisconsin visiting my parents when my mom told me she thought it might be fun to go to Germanfest. Only one problem, she wasn’t 100% sure it was taking place the weekend I was visiting.

Having only my iPhone with me, I did a quick Google voice search and within seconds was on the Downtown West Bend events page. But shame, shame on this web site as they rely heavily on Adobe Flash which of course I can’t view on my iPhone.

Against my better judgment, I turned to ChaCha

So on to ChaCha I went. I asked them simply, When is the 2010 Germanfest in West Bend, Wisconsin? Note, I was careful to say 2010 to make sure I got this year’s dates. I’ve learned to be very specific with ChaCha.

Within a few minutes the answer came back letting me know that Germanfest is July 29-31… which is 100% wrong. A short drive into town later that night (our next option) verified that Germanfest was August 27-29.

Sorry ChaCha, but I can no longer recommend you to anyone. Your service is too unreliable and I have lost all faith that answers I receive are accurate.

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112 Comments

  1. Jacob Elsts

    You’re right. Even a simple answer now has tons of ads and I’ve had to reword questions multiple tines to get the right answer. I even asked the same question without changing the wording at all and got what I was looking for after asking 3 times. Also their iPhone app is extremely complicated for a simple FAQ service.

    I’ve also given up on ChaCha- it’s faster to just call my dad lol.

  2. James Ryan

    I’ve never had any success with them. They just ask questions about my questions

  3. Patric Welch

    Always good to know I’m not alone. Thanks for your comments Jacob and James!

  4. Robby Slaughter

    ChaCha has really become a disappointment. Consider the following simple question: “How old is President Barack Obama?” Here are the answers from Cha Cha

    He’s 47 years old:

    http://www.chacha.com/question/how-old-is-barack-obama-and-when-is-his-birthday

    He’s 48 years old:

    http://www.chacha.com/question/how-old-is-barak-obama-:)

    He is 49 years old:

    http://www.chacha.com/question/how-old-id-barack-obama

    ChaCha doesn’t appear to have any intelligence or sophistication in their answer database. The above responses make it look like ChaCha is just an enormous Excel spreadsheet of answers, full of duplication and without any context. ChaCha guides don’t seem to explain anything to the engine when they key in their responses.

    Compare with the same question at WolframAlpha, which is actually designed to understand the relationships between facts:

    http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=barack+obama+age

    I rest my case.

  5. Janet

    I agree. I used them for the first time in months just yesterday and couldn’t get a correct answer out of them. They’re worthless, as far as I’m concerned.

  6. Erica

    Well I’ve worked for ChaCha and you have to realize that you get paid very little to answer those questions, it’s a shame it’s going down though, but when you only get 10-20 cents a question you have people trying to answer as many questions as possible as quickly as possible, therefore you have people who lose quality in the process. But if you take longer, you find your making like $2 an hour, which is why I don’t do it anymore because I’m not superfast.

  7. Mia

    Interesting.  I used them 3 times yesterday and got three correct answers and some extra info I didn’t ask for.  I found out the score of my nephews football game, the definition of a word and what time a movie was playing locally.  All correct and within a few minutes.  I’ll continue to use ChaCha.

  8. Patric Welch

    Robby, excellent point. I never thought about comparing answers to the same question. Did you see the Noobie article on WolframAlpha? Beyond Web Search with WolframAlpha.com

    I think Erica hit the nail on the head. And I agree 100% with her because when ChaCha first hit the scene, I took the test and became a guide just to see how it worked behind the scenes. I gave up after only 24 hours of answering questions because I was averaging only about $2/hour.

    Other people who don’t want to give up are forced to answer questions as quickly as possible. And whatever quality scoring ChaCha is using (at least was using when I was a guide) obviously isn’t working.

  9. Shawn Schwegman

    My name is Shawn Schwegman, and I’m the VP of Web Products at ChaCha.  I just wanted to chime in to apologize for any bad experience you might have had recently.  We are very focused on improving the quality of our service, and I’ve forwarded your comments to folks inside of ChaCha so we can address the issues you’ve found.  We have many planned improvements in the works for our service over the coming months that should greatly enhance our quality.  We also have big plans for our website as well as our iPhone application. 

    So, thank you very much for giving us a try.  Thank you for your comments.  Know that we are listening and we greatly appreciate your feedback.

    Humbly submitted,

    Shawn

    • Jennifer Marquess

      Hi Shawn,

      ChaCha is actually starting to annoy quite badly. It’s about equal to Yahoo Answers in quality, meaning that most of the questions are being answered just because people *want* to answer a question, not because they know the answer to *that* question. The major problem (the reason it’s starting to annoy) is that it’s getting top hits on search results these days, too. That may seem good to you, but when the answer ranges from merely wrong to completely ridiculous, then, well…yeah, it’s just more noise and less real information.

      I considered becoming a guide about a year ago, but I decided against it while I was listening to the training videos because I thought it would turn out just like it has. From the above comments, you have a service that pays people who care about information very low wages, compared to the people who churn out lots of nonsense. Fast and good is a possible combination, but it takes experience to get there. Most good guides will move on long before they get that experience, because there are companies out there which do value attention to detail.

    • Silent Cicada

      Well, you’ve had years to improve and nothing is better. You used to have actual people answering, but it’s clear now that your answers are automated.

      For example,
      “When did David Bowie move to the USA?”

      Your answer?
      “David Bowie did not die. He is a live and well. Got Questions? Ask ChaCha! *ChuckNorris Jokes Txt CNJ”

      Only a machine would mistake that question.

  10. Kelly

    ChaCha’s quality has slipped significantly for multiple reasons.

    1.  They cut pay for their agents by 50% (or by this point, it may be more).  On top of this, they got rid of their quality incentive program.  So at this point, there is zero incentive to push out quality answers.

    2.  Many of the old agents have left to work elsewhere due to the above.  It got to a point where it wasn’t worth working for pennies, especially when giving quality answers got you nothing but less than minimum wage pay.

    3.  ChaCha went to a database “quick answer” response system a little over a year ago.  When an agent receives a question, the system automatically brings up answers for the agent to chose from.  These answers are based on previous answers given for the same or similar questions.  The agent then chooses one and sends it.  The problem is, the database can’t tell the difference between a correct and incorrect answer.  It is up to the agent to not only choose the correct answer, but to flag incorrect answers as well.  Frankly, most agents don’t take the time to do this because they are losing money by flagging wrong answers instead of continuing to answer questions (pay is based on number of questions answered only).

    In my opinion, ChaCha shot themselves in the foot.  Part of the charm of the service was that not only did you get mostly correct answers, but there was a bit of personality behind them.  Now, with the loss of most of the oldies and the new ones just trying to pound out answers as quickly as possible to make a decent wage, it’s turned into a mess.  ChaCha has no one to blame but themselves.

  11. zinger

    I currently work for ChaCha and get paid TWO CENTS per question. Simply put, they do not care what answers are given. They hire all the time and are more concerned with volume then accuracy, since numbers sell advertising. There are gamers that take advantage of the system and just click the first answer that pops up. When you get the right answer it is from someone who actually has pride in their work, which is few and far between these days.

  12. Deann

    I’ve been a ChaCha guide since 2007 and a forum moderator since 2008. It is a relatively new company, and has had its share of growing pains. However, they do care very much about accuracy, that is why they have people checking over the majority of our answers, and we are notified of any mistakes made. We have strict rules that we are to abide by when answering questions, and if we aren’t up to par, we can get de-activated. 

    Many friends of mine use ChaCha regularly and are very pleased with their answers. I’m very sorry to hear that some of you are frustrated with the service, and hope that one of these days you will give us another try.

  13. Heather

    I used to work for ChaCha back when it was quality answers and they cared.  When they got rid of the top guide program and then started dropping pay, I stopped doing it.  I stopped calling not long after that because answers went to crap.  Before they were willing to pay for quality answers and most of the guides were willing to work for our pay.  I didn’t know they were down to 2 cents a question now (Zinger’s comment), no wonder when I asked a question about my parakeets I got a response reguarding divorce back.

    Scott Jones, you had a fab idea, and you blew it.  You lost the good guides and a bunch of gamers came on board.  ChaCha Fails.

  14. Robby Slaughter

    My concern with ChaCha is that it’s easy to find wrong answers. For example, here’s an answer whose source is a satirical website:

    http://www.chacha.com/question/how-many-deaths-are-caused-annually-by-bowling

    I’m not the only person who is concerned about ChaCha’s accuracy. A recent

    scientific study found that about 1/5 of ChaCha’s answers to health questions were rated inaccurate/incomplete by experts.

    It would be easy for ChaCha to commission a study of all of their listed answers and find out their actual rate of accuracy and completeness to a reasonable margin of error. Until someone does this analysis, we won’t really know if ChaCha is any good.

    Lastly, there are comments all over the web about ChaCha’s employment and payment practices. These are important questions, but I think the issue that Patric originally raised is paramount for this discussion. ChaCha tends to be incorrect often enough to concern many people. Please, ChaCha—find out how accurate you really are and let us know the results!

  15. Tim Briscoe

    I have the utmost respect for Mr. Jones. ChaCha is/was a great concept but poorly realized… lots of problems with scalability and accuracy.

    To glimpse what ChaCha could’ve and should’ve been, take a look at Aardvark, http://vark.com, . It leverages social connections and self-appointed experts in every field to answer questions. Not only that, but its interoperability with email, IM, mobile apps, et al, is simply astounding. No wonder Google acquired them.

  16. Patric Welch

    Tim, I joined Aardvark after seeing a friend of mine (@bnpositive) on Twitter reference them. It’s kind of fun. Every once in a while I get an IM that sounds real personal like “Hey, I have a question on software, do you have time to answer?” If I don’t I can just reply “pass”. If I do, I can just reply with my answer to the question.

    I’ve actually answered a couple of questions. As far as I know there is no monetary compensation and to be honest I’m not really sure why I even took the time to answer except that it was kind of fun.

  17. Patric Welch

    Continuing Robby’s discussion, let me ask another question. At some point, is ChaCha going to have to worry about “slave labor” issues? I don’t mean to use that term as harshly as it sounds but how many ChaCha guides are basically hourly workers working for less than $2/hour?

    At what point, is minimum wage going to be factored in? I realize ChaCha guides aren’t employees but years ago, Microsoft didn’t consider their contractors employees either and it ended up getting them in a heap of trouble and costing them a lot of money in the courts.

  18. Archer

    ChaCha won’t have to worry about ‘slave wages’ because the wages are clearly pointed out in numerous places BEFORE you begin working.  Working for that amount at a subcontractor level is legal and it is the choice of the contractor to accept or reject.

  19. Patric Welch

    Archer, thanks for the clarification. Part of me still thinks though that Microsoft thought they had everything laid out beforehand too with their contractors and that didn’t end well for them. Is there no chance new precedence could be set here?

  20. Brian

    I work as an Ex for ChaCha, and actually enjoy it.  With that said, the poor answers aren’t always bad Guides.  Automation will be the downfall of ChaCha.  From the 1,2,3 system that never gets it right, to automated answers that get sent out before an EX even gets the question, ChaCha’s accuracy is pathetic.

    ChaCha only cares about one thing:  quantity.  More sessions equals more advertising revenue.  Of course, this is an extremely shortsighted path, as the continuing decrease in quality will eventually lead to no traffic, which means no advertising revenue.

  21. Patric Welch

    Brian, can you clarify what an EX is? I don’t know myself and others might not either. Thanks!

  22. Heather

    Patric, from what it used to be an ex is an expeditor, they take the questions and categorize them so they go to a guide who had that category as an interest.  Back then it went VT – voice transcriber would transcribe the calls in and send them to ex’es.  The ex’es take those transcribed questions and the texts that come in and categorize them.  When I was there the ex’es chose which ones went to auto.  Now they have Lulu or something, I’m not sure how many going to auto answer on their own or if the ex’es still send them on. 

    I know some of them aren’t sent to auto answer by ex’es if you request it.  I have called 5 times more than once getting the same stupid auto answer and finally send DO NOT send me to auto answer, get an actual guide to find the answer – you can tell it’s a guide who answers it, it’s different from the original first 5 answers, but 8 times out of 10, it’s incorrect too. 

    Make sure when you get a bad answer you respond with FB F so that ChaCha knows that it was a bad answer.  And if I ever got a correct answer, I gave FB A or FB B, because after waiting that long to get a right answer, someone deserved the credit for finally hunting it down.

  23. Patric Welch

    Heather, thanks for the explanation. I continue to learn from this discussion. I had no idea you could reply with “FB “ and a letter grade to provide feedback.

  24. Susan

    2 words, Chacha sucks.  You have all already stated the obvious.  It is extremely frustrating to deal with them so I don’t.  I will pay the $99 to ask KGB and get a correct answer with ONE text message for a response not 90.

    Sorry Chacha, it just isn’t working out with us.  It’s time to part.

  25. Annyomous Bill

    Well being a chacha guide im not going to lie i do a lot of things wrong.

    I just graduated highschool and was trying to make some extra money before college, after a while i was only making like $10 after staying up from 12am-7am. So I wasn’t really answering a lot of questions if someone asked for a date i would just make it up :(,.

  26. zinger

    Patric,

    The roles have changed quite a bit since you worked there. Expediters are now responsible for answering at least 58% of the questions that are sent through to them, the other 42%, or less, can be sent on to a Generalist or Specialist for research.

    Expediters are given ‘PAQ’s which were previously answered questions. They then choice the one that fits to send on to the answer seeker. The problem with that is with no research the expediter is not sure if the information is correct or not. They just send it on because it “fits”. This is why a lot of people get outdated or incorrect information. Of course, ‘EX’ get paid less then Specialists, so ChaCha prefers that they handle the questions.

  27. Amy Stark

    Hello Shawn Schwegman— tap tap tap…. is this thing on?—Are You Listening?  One canned response 5 hours ago is not sufficient Social Media attention to this discussion, it’s already spread to other platforms. I’m just sayin’

  28. Brian W.

    I also work for ChaCha.  Believe me, there are plenty of great guides who get just as frustrated with the incorrect answers – be they automated or simply bad guides – as does our customers.  Many of us are working diligently to identify and report bad answers to ChaCha’s HQ in addition to maintaining our regular duties.  We don’t receive any additional compensation for it.  We do it because we care about quality and care about ChaCha.

  29. Archer

    Just a thought, but there could be legal ramifications in discussing the inner workings of ChaCha if you are/were contracted with them.

  30. Heather

    No doubt Amy!  They’ve been using that response since I was there, I was a guide when I was pregnant with my 18 month old.  It’s been the same thing, we’re listening, we’re listening, listening so much that we have dropped the wages down to nothing so that many of the good guides leave.  When it went down to 10 cents a question, I was out of there.  There is plenty of other ways that I have been able to make money at home without having to bust my tail at $2.00/hr.  It was ridiculous.

    Brian, I can imagine the frustration of the good guides, the ones who actually get together and ask questions, talk amongst themselves with staff, trying to fix things.  We got frustrated by gamers back then and the bad answers were much fewer and far between then they are now.

  31. Cat Enagonio

    Hi, this is Cat Enagonio from ChaCha.  I am the VP of Marketing for ChaCha, and I would like to share that we do hear you and appreciate comments.  And that we have a deep passion for quality and care about your feedback. 

    We take it very seriously when we see poor comments, and we have implemented many changes to our quality system, with more in the works.  We apologize for any less than awesome experience you may have had recently.

    We survey our users via mobile on a regular basis and carefully monitor the results.  Our users experience is and will continue to be a keen focus for all of us here.

    Several of us have shared your comments to the team here so we can address these areas. 

    Thank you for time in commenting.  Please know that this is what helps continue to drive the company to being the best answers service available.  We appreciate it.

    Best, Cat Enagonio

    VP of Marketing

    ChaCha

    • Jennifer Marquess

      Hi Cat,

      I can’t believe that your company is actually serious about the accuracy of the answers that are starting to show up in web searches. I’m replying three years later, because I finally got disgusted enough to look for answers as to why I’m getting all of this wrong info every time I do a web search. Luckily I found out about ChaCha’s wrong answers because I was searching things that had related keywords to the question being asked, because I was in the position where I was able to spot the ChaCha answers as being “noise”–that is, people answering questions because they want to answer a question, not because they know what the answer is.

      If ChaCha had any interest in fixing this, it would be fixed by now. It’s just getting worse. Between ChaCha and other answer type sites, it’s making page 1 of search results less and less useful. ChaCha answers=Noise, not Information.

  32. zinger

    Archer – if they put more resources into finding out who is behind exposing their inner workings and perusing it legally, then fixing thier service then ChaCha is worse business people then I thought!

  33. Patric Welch

    Cat, I appreciate you leaving a comment here on my blog but I can’t help but question how much of your answer you actually typed and how much of it you copy and pasted. Same goes for Shawn earlier.

    Every person who has left a comment here has been completely open and genuine. I find it difficult to believe you regularly talk to other people using phrases such as “We apologize for any less than awesome experience you may have had recently” or “Our users experience is and will continue to be a keen focus for all of us here.”

    I think I speak for the majority of people who have commented on this blog post when I say we would rather hear a personal, individualized response than a canned form-letter reply with a few words changed here and there.

  34. George Simpson

    Patric: I am ChaCha’s external PR guy so I hear from EVERYBODY who is pissed off at ChaCha. And as a Chacha user, I am just as frustrated that on occasion I get a wrong answer too. (I simply ask it again and generally the second time I get the right answer). When you are tasked with answering nearly 2 million questions a day, mistakes will be made. That is no excuse and trust me when I tell you there are lots of internal audits and checks to try and cut down on the mistakes. The folks I DON’T hear from are the vast majority of users who are happy with the fact that ChaCha is free and they (most of the time) get answers that are right. This is a vast business that is growing like crazy and we need to do a better job of making sure every user is well served.

  35. Patric Welch

    George, THANK YOU!! That is by far the most genuine and openly honest response I have heard from ChaCha. I appreciate your candor.

    Hopefully some of the comments on this blog post will help pinpoint what issues could be addressed. Although, I’m guessing you already know what they are :)

  36. George Simpson

    I want to know if Susan is really prepared to pay $99 an answer to kgb: if so we need to quickly rethink our business plan….:-)

  37. Cat Enagonio

    Hi Patric, you can’t tell much from a posted comment about someone about a person, but we are honestly working very hard at quality and are taking every comment here to heart.  These are very honest, candid responses from people here know our ChaCha users are the reason we do what we do and are commited to improving the service.  If we don’t, where are we?  We would welcome you to come in and visit with us anytime and give input.  Seriously and very honestly – come on by.  :-) Tx and best, Cat

  38. Patric Welch

    Cat, I would love a tour!

    And my apologies if your responses were truly typed word for word. From where I’m sitting they read like canned form-letter type responses.

  39. Shawn Schwegman

    Amy, I felt the gentle tap, tap, tap, THUMP… ;) Yes, I am listening and my initial response was not canned.  That was from the heart.  We care about our brand and our customers, and it pains me to see folks frustrated with our service.  We have a lot of work to do.

    Our entire management staff met today for quite some time to specifically discuss quality.  Scott, Cat, myself, and the entire management team have been following this conversation.  Again, quality is very important to us, and we get frustrated ourselves.  We aren’t perfect and never will be, but we do strive for perfection and clearly we need to be doing a better job.  We hear you loud and clear, and I’m not just saying that.

    The comments and feedback from this blog are not falling on deaf ears.  We have been focusing on quality, but clearly we can and should be doing more.  We WILL be doing more in the coming months, and if you ask me, we can’t possibly move fast enough.  So, again, thank you for helping us with your candid feedback. 

    Thanks again,

    Shawn

  40. Shawn Schwegman

    Patrick, we’d love to have you on site!  How can we get in touch with you?

  41. cat.enagonio@chacha.com

    Patric, hey thank you. Can imagine how things come across typed…. and we agree – a bad answer is frustrating and we get that.  Meeting in person would be great!  How can we get in touch, give you a tour of the place, and get more input from you live?  Tx!  Cat

  42. Dorothy

    Cha Cha is forbidden in my family, ever since my daughter innocently asked why critics called Joyce Carol Oates’ play “Black” a joke, and received this vile response: “What’s the difference between a [n-word] and a snow tire? A snow tire doesn’t sing when you put chains on it.” Really.

  43. Heather

    George, I don’t understand how you can get the correct answer most of the time on the second call when I have not gotten the correct answer on the second call in perhaps 10 months.  It takes a minimum of 5 calls to get a correct answer period for me.  Which is why I gave up.  Every once in awhile when I am desperate, am nowhere near my computer, and have to find an answer, I’ll try again.  For example – 2 weeks ago I wanted to know what movies were playing at a certain theater in my area.  First 3 calls got me completely different theaters than the one I asked for.  4th call gave me a theater in Wisconsin, how close is that to the theater, in the city I specified in IOWA?  Wisconsin doesn’t even sound like Iowa.  5th call I just specified a movie I wanted times for at this same theater.  Got times finally.  Pulled up to the theater and guess what?  The times they listed were completely incorrect.  I had upset kids who had been stoked to see movie a.  I had told them about movie a when ChaCha finally gave me answers.  Movie a didn’t start for another hour and 10 minutes. 

    Another time, at the store, finding new fruits for my parakeets.  Is it ok to give parakeets mangoes?  Something came back about divorce lawyers – 4 times. I told them my parakeets didn’t want to get a divorce, they just wanted to know if they could have mangoes. Wrong answer, wrong answer, wrong answer.  I called back again and told them to send me to an actual guide and stop sending me auto answers.  Finally got a correct answer about it being ok to give them mangoes.

    There’s so many more.  Those are just the last 2.  It is impossible for me to get a correct answer out of ChaCha without multiple calls, how are you able to get it on the 2nd one?

  44. Shawn Schwegman

    All,

    I know you are frustrated, and I really want to help.  I hate to be all Jerry Maguire, but I’d be in your debt if you could help me help you… ;) What are the exact questions that are being asked that get a wrong answer?  That would arm me with data I need to replicate the problems you are experiencing so that I can help to fix the root of the problem.  If you don’t want to provide that information, I understand, but it sure would help me isolate and resolve the issues at hand.

    Thanks again,

    Shawn

  45. Lacey Jenkins

    Shawn, that’s nice of you to offer to help those of us who don’t receive the stellar answers that you do, but isn’t it a tad disingenuous? You, Cat, and the “external PR” guy are supposed to have a pretty good handle on how Chacha’s doing, right? So why such utter shock that everyone (or everyone but you three) is receiving wrong answers? Have you used Chacha in the past six months?  If so, you’d know what everyone’s talking about. Don’t try to spin it that we’re the exception because we surely are not. Why doesn’t your team sit down with your BlackBerries and each text a random question to Chacha. Then you’ll have exactly the evidence you need.

    • Jennifer Marquess

      I’m not even a ChaCha user and I see wrong answers all the time. They must be paying Google (though I use Swagbucks most often for play money). Any search for pretty much any household subject will return a wrong ChaCha answer, usually on page 1. The whole model is flawed for ChaCha. You can’t really do a reward system based on quantity rather than quality. You get dregs.

      I suggest Shawn do some web searches for subjects that (s)he’s acquainted with and see if the ChaCha answers that come up on a regular web search are correct or not.

  46. Heather

    I’m with Lacey.  There is no way with as many bad answers my family gets over and over again that we are the only ones who get them.  And I just gave you 2 examples, those were the most recent ones that popped in my head.  I haven’t used ChaCha since the movie time answer debacle.

  47. Susan Sacramento

    Dorothy #42 above, this is the most disgusting thing I’ve seen in a long time.  Even if they substitute “black person” or something else for “the N word”, it’s repugnant that anyone would say that in this day and age, let alone send it out to children.  What kind of business is this ChaCHa?

  48. Adam Cmejla

    I would have to agree with the article. When ChaCha first came out, I was telling everyone and their mother about the service and thought it was great. Now, whenever I send in a question, I usually get a text that says “hold on, we’re cha-cha’ing for your response” or something like that, followed by a wrong answer. It’s been my experience that, with my iPhone 4, by the time I ChaCha’d, I can find an app that will do the same thing faster and more accurate. Sorry, chacha…great idea, but needs to clean up the quality somehow.

  49. Robby Slaughter

    @Shawn: If you’re looking for examples of problems with ChaCha, just scroll up! The problem is that you have answered the question ”How old is Barack Obama? over 700 times! Of course most of these answers are wrong.

    @Patric, if you do have the chance to visit ChaCha in person, this is the essential question. There have got to be millions (maybe hundreds of millions?) of answers in ChaCha’s database and there is no apparent effort to try to consolidate questions or to have guides embed formulas or metadata into their answers.

    @Cat, @Shawn: Here’s how to reply to a comment like this. “Yeah, we’ve got some issues. Sorry. We’re working on it. Please come over to our blog to learn more.”

  50. It's too late

    Please understand one thing ChaCha couldn’t care less about the quality of it’s answers. The only purpose of the question answering is to produces calls to their service and hits to their website. Their guides get little training and their quality control process is a joke, They have no screening of their potential employee so it’s quite likely that your questions are being handled by a high school dropout or even worse, a convicted felon. I too worked for ChaCha when you used to be able make money doing the “ChaCha”. I actually answered over 100,000 questions for them . Sadly the pay cuts and automation have driven many of the educated and quality guides to work elsewhere.

  51. It's too late

    In reply to Dorothy Question #42. The issue of racist jokes is a prime example of the total lack of caring that ChaCha has for it’s employees. Ever since that beginning of the service many guides have complained about having to put up with and provide racist jokes. These guides argue that these jokes create a hostile environment to work in. I don’t expect the CEO of ChaCha to have it’s employees over for dinner but I do expect them to follow that laws of the country the company is based in.

  52. Dj

    You know if Cha Cha ould actually pay people something to actualy work for them, their quality would get alot better. But to make 2 cents a question? who would really care if it was correct? who would really care about losing $2 a hour to be blocked out of their site for incorrect answers? 2×8= $16 for 8 hours of work on a good day. Do you think you can make that by doing a number of other things?

    Raise the pay up for your guides, and quality will get better, until then keep getting the heat for lousy answers.

  53. ChaChaEX

    The only way ChaCha will EVER get better quality answers is if they raise pay for us, back to 3 cents is reasonable even. They can give us Guaranteed Cash, Golden tickets, etc but that is not even enough motivation to give out great answers. I work for 9 hours I make 20 dollars or less. Usually less. If traffic is OK then I make that 20. It’s ridiculous but a lot of us have no other choice so we slave over making that 2 cents per question.

    If the people who run ChaCha are reading PLEASE RAISE THE PAY, IF WE HAVE MORE PAY YOU WILL GIVE OUT BETTER ANSWERS.

  54. EXcellence

    I agree with ChaCha EX. The pay cuts were devastating to morale and now Guides have to do a speed run through answering questions to make any money.

    At 2 cents a question, you have to quickly glance at the question and rush out an answer just to make $2 an hour. When EX’s were being paid a little more, it was worth it to slow down and work on crafting a better answer.

    When ChaCha reps say they’ll work on quality, they just mean they’ll threaten workers with termination to make them provide better quality answers, not give then any monetary incentive to try harder or care.

  55. Janet

    I too am an Ex at ChaCha. I have been with the company for close to two years now. ChaCha was great to start with but the company has went down hill. One of the problems is the pay cut but the honest guides put up with the pay cut and still do a great job. The other and the biggest problem is the gamers. The guides who run bots or scripts ruining the company and no one seems to care. If I make a mistake (yes, I am human so it does happen though rarely) I get a cut in my percentage on accuracy while the gamers get away with giving out 95% bad answers. I always give out the best, most accurate, current answers possible regardless of how much I am paid. The customers deserve that much from any guide.

  56. ExGuide

    I worked for ChaCha in the beginning and found it horrible; both paywise and actual work.

    Not only did they seem random on what they docked Guides for; a lot of questions I got were basically pervy teenagers or racist a-holes.

  57. Austin

    I couldn’t agree more with all of the comments. I gave up on the service months ago after constantly getting incorrect answers. The most annoying thing of all was receiving questions in reply to my questions. It’s quicker and more accurate to just type the question in google on my phone’s browser.

    I find it disturbing that some employees such as “Annyomous Bill” (even more disturbing that he’s answering questions, but can’t spell “anonymous”) intentionally answer questions incorrectly because they don’t care or they’re being lazy. I’m sure there are employees that care about the accuracy of their answers, but I would assume the majority don’t. Two cents per answer doesn’t sound very motivating.

  58. Becky Parker

    Automation is what will lead to ChaCha’s downfall. While it’s true that some of those paid 2 cents per query can contribute to the embarrassing paucity of correct answers, ChaCha’s founder Scott Jones admitted in an Indianapolis Business Journal interview published September 4, 2010 (http://www.ibj.com/facebook-others-try-to-cut-in-on-chachas-answerservice-business/PARAMS/article/22073) that ChaCha has automated about 80% of its queries.

    While that might be fine were the database as extensive as, say, Google’s, ChaCha’s isn’t. Nor are there any controls to determine whether the answer to the previously answered question was ever correct in the first place.

  59. Jessica

    I have been a ChaCha Guide for over 2 years. I’ve worked both as a Specialist/Generalist and as an Expediter. When I first started working, I was making a flat .20 per question. I worked by butt off and was proud of the quality answers I sent. Then came the first pay cut- Top Guide. During the “Top Guide” days, those who made the cut as Top Guide made .20 a question as usual. All others had their pay dropped to .10 per question. This wasn’t a problem for me as I always made the cut, so my answers continued to be great quality. Then came the category pay. With this system, questions were worth between .10 and .22 per question. This is when I started getting frustrated. I was working hard to provide quality answers, but now making less money than I was before. Next, because we guides were doing such a good job, the category pay was cut to its current scale- .10 to .20 per question. Honestly, my quality has suffered. Since now I make 1/2 to 1/3 of what I was making before, I don’t take as much time to answer as before. I aim for all my answers to be completed in less than a minute, and if its a harder one and I’m reaching 2 min I just send on a wrong answer. This is not the kind of guide I want to be, but ChaCha has made it obvious with the pay cuts that I am just not that important.

    ChaCha, are you listening? If you want quality answers again you need to start paying Guides for the hard work they do providing these quality answers. I miss the ChaCha of years past, when I could put in an honest day’s work for honest pay.

  60. Mike

    Though sometimes ChaCha can get things totally wrong, if you get assigned the right guide it can be amazing and is obviously done by clever guides who are putting thought into their searches and answers. I’ve tested guides and had them solve old Calculus problems as well as answering trivia questions about when TV shows or movies premiered answered in record time. I’ve also had them answer similar questions to yours—about a festival in the small town where I grew up that didn’t have a website.  While they may need work, I’ve also learned you can rate your answers by responding back with FB and a letter grade. I’ve given some Fs but some definite As too.

  61. Susan

    To George Simpson, If my lack of a decimal is all you can choose to discuss from this whole page, you’re not going to change anyone’s mind about the Sucky service of ChaCha.

  62. Frustrated

    Have any of you seen the types of questions that come into ChaCha each day?  Most of them are teenagers or immature adults asking the same things over again, or asking for “black jokes”, questions about sex and drugs. i can honestly say that I have yet to receive a decent question that deserves a good answer.  I am not saying questions don’t deserved to be answered, but a ChaCha guide can get very frustrated from time to time. That is why there is a lack of quality in answers. People abuse ChaCha for their sick personal gain.

  63. LGFN

    I’m frustrated! I’m mad as hell! my blood is boiling! After HOURS of trying to get an answer (asked in all forms and ways) how many followers a certain Twitter account has, I’m still clueless! They answered my how many followers five other accounts have, and NEVER answered me straight my question! HOW HARD IS IT?? Okay, I’m really not clueless anymore, now I have an internet connection, and I actually took a LOAD of hard work off the heads of the ChaCha “guides”, and checked myself! Yes! I’m that talented! I’m not a trained guide and I can actually know how many followers some Twitter user has! Isn’t that amazing?? ChaCha, I need a gold medal! I solved the world problem!!

    Now, If someone would say I should reply FB F, I would tell you one thing, I think I can easily say it’s the most common text I send to ChaCha, all I get is an automated response “Thanks for your feedback blah blah blah”. Even the automated feedback reply is so static and clueless, that it send me the same thank you no difference if I send FB F or FB A! (Yes, I’ve actually used FB A, I think, 10 times…)

    I even filed a complaint on their website and got an automated (= sounded like one) reply: We’re sorry blah blah blah. We’ll investigate the matter blah blah blah. “Investigate” ahem, sounds professional, and if I may ask you, sir, who does the “investigation”? The same “intelligent” guide that killed my mood and appetite before with his senseless answer?? And, if I may ask you, how long does this “investigation” suppose to take? three months? or should I wait patiently till I rot to death, as I never got a followup message, and my answers just keep on getting worse and worse with the day!

    ChaCha, if you’ll allow me, I would like to offer a great marketing slogan for you, which, in four words, brings out beautifully and accurately the service as a whole:

    *ChaCha: The socially inept service.*

    It’s sad, isn’t it? Yes, I know.

  64. Frustrated

    OMG! Sometimes people just need to grow up and get over it! STOP USING IT IF YOUR NOT SATISFIED!!! It sounds like some of you just keep using ChaCha only to complain and send negative feedback. Maybe you time will be better spent doing something constructive with you life.

    “If you don’t like something change it.

    If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

    Don’t complain.”

    Maya Angelou

  65. Esther Friend

    Hi, I’d like to introduce myself.  I am Esther Friend, the VP of Guides and Content from ChaCha.  I thought it might be helpful to provide an overview of some of the quality processes here at ChaCha, and what you can do if you’ve received a bad answer.

    ChaCha – An Overview

    ChaCha is a free service that answers about 1.5 Million – 1.8 Million questions per day.  Our goal is to provide high quality answers every time – we think that the quality of our answers is one of the reasons we have experienced huge growth by word of mouth, surpassing Google as the top SMS search provider.  ChaCha leverages a combination of technology and people to provide dramatically better answers than our competitors who rely solely on algorithms and who make you sort through links to get an answer.

    Quality Control

    ChaCha’s Quality Control team samples hundreds of thousands of sessions weekly, and Guides receive feedback on those sessions real-time as they’re graded; we also have an online portal for Training called Search University, where Guides can improve their searching skills.  A stringent performance management process ensures that Guides who consistently miss the quality benchmark are removed from our system. This month was dubbed Spotlight on Quality Month at ChaCha, and we’ve held weekly contests for Guides to reward them for high quality answers and to drive additional focus on quality.

    Inputs to the Quality Control Process

    In addition to robust sampling, we also have various other inputs that feed into our quality control process, including feedback from Guides reporting bad answers (they can mark a previous session thumbs down, and even escalate an inappropriate response 24/7 through our Guide Forum), customer ratings via SMS and the website, as well as even capturing the responses from frustrated customers so that we can follow up with Guides.  We have systematic screening in place to flag any inappropriate answers or concerning Guide behavior.

    The Bigger Picture

    We survey our users regularly to benchmark our level of service, from the speediness of answers to the quality of answers, to overall customer experience and this helps drive our internal priorities for Guide Management as well as system enhancements.

    Feedback

    We welcome user feedback and in fact, user feedback is essential as we tune our service.  As a user mentioned, you may “grade” your answer by responding back FB and a letter grade (ie FB B).  This flags the session for our Quality Control team to review, and we follow up with the Guide if the rating is negative.  Currently the way that process works, it does not automatically resubmit your question to be answered again (the current experience is that we confirm that we received the feedback); however, we are planning to improve the experience to automatically re-submit your question to be answered by a different Guide.

    How to Ask for a New Answer

    We do have functionality in place so that if you have received an unsatisfactory answer and would like another Guide to answer it, you can respond with “Try Again” (no need to type out the full question again) and it will be routed to a different Guide.  I encourage you to try this and to see if that improves your overall experience.  We won’t get it right every time, but we will do our best!  Keeping in mind that our Independent Contractor Guides search for the answer to your question on the web – so if the answer can’t be found there, they will at least try to get you closer to the answer with what info is available.

    Summing Up

    Answer quality and our users’ experience with ChaCha is extremely important to us.  We continue to focus on enhancing the customer experience and appreciate your frank, unvarnished feedback. 

    Esther Friend

    VP of Guides and Content

    ChaCha Search Inc.

    • Jennifer Marquess

      I spent too long on this today. I just tried to get ChaCha guides to tell me how to get rid of ChaCha answers from the top pages of my web search results.

      Top answer: You can’t.
      Runner Up: Try another search engine. Not all search engines have indexed ChaCha.
      Second Runner Up: You have broken the terms of service, please call this number. (I surmise my breach was in suggesting that the answers showing up in the search engines were wrong. I did not call them infantile, though I was thinking that.)

      And so, I give up. I have written to the email address that was provided at the number that the “broken terms of service” answer gave.

      I really have gotten so tired of having to see ChaCha answers. I’m not a ChaCha user. I admit I played the training videos last year, but I realized just how bad it was going to turn out and I stopped playing them.

  66. Robby Slaughter

    This thread refuses to die, and ChaCha seems determined to offer condolences and PR-speak without actually fixing any problems.

    Note that I am not implying that fixing all of ChaCha is an easy task. Rather, ChaCha should spend a few hours addressing the specific problems that have been raised above. That way the comments are out dated and it shows that they are actually able to make progress and be responsive.

    So, please PLEASE ChaCha, correct your records about deaths by bowling (for example). If you can’t fix issues that people go to the trouble to note for free on a forum questioning your credibility, why should be believe you have any commitment to accuracy whatsoever?

  67. LGFN

    Upon replying with FB F and then “Try again”, ChaCha gets all confused, and somehow assumes that I’m crazy and replies accordingly (nothing shocking for them). So it seems that I’m supposed to respond with “Try again” sans the FB F beforehand, which in effect won’t send ChaCha the message how awful the previous guide behaved (in case someone around there is actually interested).

    Anyhow, the “Try again” doesn’t really work all the time. Try it. They just hit their heads in the wall trying to figure out what I’ve meant with the weird question I just sent them – “Try again”, and reply with three possible answers to the “tough” issue (yes, ChaCha has a unique way of its own to craft the most basic question “tough”, some soaring IQ there. – All right, I’ll give in this time [and this time only], I, too, would get perplexed when receiving a point blank text from a stranger “Try again”).

    Now, for a call to the public: will anyone perhaps create some sort of script that will loop send to ChaCha the words “Try again” till interrupted by the end-user? It’ll be a great deal of time saving! – You know, after retrying a number of times to find out from ChaCha how many followers @yossigestetner “currently” has on Twitter (oh, yes, those quotation marks, I got from them over and over again the number of followers of, perhaps, six months ago), they finally replied “Ask a librarian”, that’s it, he tried and tried to figure it out, and finally gave up and decided that the only way to figure this “tough” one out is by asking a librarian! Seems like librarians are the only ones able to use Twitter. Very interesting, Lindsay Lohan has over a million librarians following her. Today’s days…

    Basically, it seems to me like ChaCha benefits of poorly answered questions, as every time I reply with “Try again”; I get yet another additional text with an (irrelevant) ad on it! Brilliant idea, taking advantage of my disadvantage with them. ChaCha, if I send “Try again” that means I’m pissed off enough with you; I don’t need another reason for it. Oh, and just in case you’re a guide yourself and you don’t comprehend “hints”: when you get a text stating “Try again”, run as hell and try to calm the rage of the asker with a legit answer, the ad will wait this time (except, well, if you fear that as so, 50% of the time an ad won’t be likely.).

    I would never finish, just time isn’t currently on my side, I have to run. I hope you get the point, see you in better times. With appreciation, LGFN.

  68. fired in July

    Esther Friend,

    Your company sucks. I “worked” for them and was fired for making too much money. I would get QC for stupid things that had nothing to do with me giving accurate answers. You people doesn’t want to pay your guides but keeps increasing the work.

    You guys have a lot of negative press for the way you treat your guides. Since I was fired for made up reasons, I have told everybody not to use your service. Other disgruntled guides have done the same. Why make so many enemies?

    The reason why your answers now suck is because you’re too cheap to pay for good answers. Not to mention some of the idiots you have working there. You have people so stupid instead of doing their own work they run around trying to flag answers. Why worry about a company that doesn’t care about you?

    It all went downhill when you guys started your QC/top guide scheme to cut pay. ChaCha is a bad company to work for and I don’t recommend using them. The way they treat their guides is shameful. Like I stated, ChaCha will fire you if you make too much money. I have seen it happen to too many guides.

    I’m glad to see more and more bad press for you guys. Your whole QC process is a sham and you will continue to pump out horrible answers.

  69. Mr. Gardener

    What is the quality benchmark? Is it high enough to prevent gamers from sending out wrong answers to turn a quicker profit? Perhaps if there was some clarification as to how the scores are determined and what percentage of questions a guide must consistently answer correctly to avoid being terminated.

    Perhaps the benchmark is high enough, it’s just that chacha can’t fire gamers quick enough. Is that it? If that is the case, though, it shows chacha can’t retain quality workers, which leads us to the pay cut issue.

    I agree with what was said about the pay cuts. How can you expect serious honest workers to choose your company when they can just get a job in customer service and make money 4 times faster than if they worked for you? Perhaps if you could directly respond to the pay cut issue and explain the logic behind offering such low payment per hour.

    How much do you make on ad revenues per answer? That includes the ad revenues you generate when you display answers on your site. Who is keeping most of the profits? Did you need to cut the pay to make a profit at all or was it just, you know, greed? With expeditors now answering most of the questions for 2 cents instead of the original 20, I would think that would be enough for a good profit margin, but maybe I’m wrong.

  70. LGFN

    It’s been a while and I didn’t see any improvement with ChaCha whatsoever, their responses keep on being the same idiotic and insane, which keeps on enraging me and everyone more and more at times when I’m away of the internet and impossible to look up the info myself.

    Therefore I decided to turn to Twitter, and I began posting my rotten experience with them and tweeting their awful “answers” with the hashtag #chachafail. I hope and pray that this will actually help more than the infamous “FB F” which the only thing it achieves is to cause my F and B keys to be the most worn out keys on my keyboard.

    I urge anyone with poor experience with these so-called “guides” to do the same. Public broadcast may very likely be the only method for them to finally get it.

  71. Sylvia

    Hi all!  Just wanted to say that I’m a guide for ChaCha, and the quality benchmark is 95% quality, no exceptions.  A couple weeks below that, and you’re history.  Almost all of the wrong answers come from the automated system.  The money’s not great, but it’s not horrible for being able to wear what you want and work whenever you want, for as many hours as want or don’t want.  I make from $4-$6 an hour and more with bonuses and contests, which as a stay at home mom works out well to supplement our income.  Many, many ChaCha guides, myself included, work very hard to achieve high quality and to satisfy the customer.  If I ever see a bad answer in a customer’s history, I “thumbs down” it, in the hopes that the offending guide be scrutinized.

    I would urge you to give ChaCha a chance.

  72. Bob

    On Election Day we were having a discussion in the office about low voter turnout, and a colleague wondered aloud how many people in the world don’t even have the RIGHT to vote. So we asked that question on ChaCha: “What percentage of the world’s population does not have the right to vote?”

    First ChaCha reply: “There is no specific number listed as to the percent of Americans that don’t vote.”

    So I wrote back and said “That’s not the question. The question is what percentage of the world’s population do not have the RIGHT to vote.”

    And the reply: “Is there anything else that we can help you with today?”

    Sorry. I agree with Patric.

  73. LadyinRed

    I just want to say that it’s so hilarious that ALL of the ChaCha employees that have posted on this blog, have said “Sorry for our quality, blah blah blah, but NOT one of them has addressed the issue of guide pay.

    You guys wonder WHY you have all of the incorrect answers? It’s because for TWO CENTS PER QUESTION, would you care if it’s right or not? Honestly?

    RAISE THE PAY! You will find that you will have BETTER quality guides. That is a fact. Or you can choose to ignore this and you are going to find yourselves OUT OF BUSINESS.

  74. Heather

    LadyinRed you hit the nail on the head.  They kept lowering the pay and lowering the pay and lowering the pay.  2 years ago, I was able to completely cover Christmas for 4 kids and my husband on what I made in November and December – just working a few hours a day every day.  I would say most of the good guides, the ones who cared, the ones who worked hard on the answers so they could make top guide every week, they have most likely left because of it also.

  75. Dj

    Yea and now they have what is called Red alert. What it is is a pot of say $200 that all guides working during the time the do enough answers share. If a guide does 300 sessions during that time then they get a part of the pot.

    So i tested this one day, I did my quota one day just to see what the bonus would work out to be. I got a Whopping .45 cents extra. Im sorry, but its been months since I have even accessed cha cha, and until they do raise pay, I wont. Sorry but I dont see how anyone can make $6 a hour there, unless they just have no life outside their house.

    chacha raise the pay, and you will get one of your good guides back, and im sure many others. But until that happens your going to continue to lose out.

    Keep paying like trash, and trash is what you will get!

  76. fadeafterfall

    OH FOR HEAVENS SAKE ALREADY, it’s NOT 2 CENTS A QUESTION!!! I can’t believe I read to the bottom of this thread and STILL no one has addressed this incorrect statement. It’s 2 cents to TRANSCRIBE (3 cent’s for me but I have been around for years) 2 cents is not great but when it takes me literally about 5-8 SECONDS to type up the average question it’s NOT UNREASONABLE either!  GUIDES – the ones ANSWERING the questions, make 8-12 cents (depending on what they dropped it to recently. I don’t guide so I am not sure, but they do NOT get only 2 cents.  Most of what you all have said is true and I agree wholeheartedly.  I am ashamed to work for ChaCha but I persist and hope that eventually it WILL improve.  Might I say something though? It’s all fine and good to continue to complain here… it obviously got the ChaCha managers out here paying attention but it would do more to consistently send feedback and emails and FB texts to them… one time is not going to change a whole system. Keep it up, please!  On behalf of all us dis-satisfied and long-time guides, expiditors and transcribers

    PLEASE

    HELP

    CHACHA

    become better

    rather than just complaining.

    It’s a win-win situation for everyone!

    Thanks,

    A hopeful ChaCha Transcriber

  77. Patric Welch

    @fadeafterfall – Thanks for the explanation. Or should I say for giving your two cents? :)

    I thought two cents sounded low for answering questions. You’d be lucky to make a quarter an hour!

  78. Disgruntled ChaCha EX

    I would like to make a quick clarification. Expeditors, who are required to handle at least 58% of questions that actually make it to guides, only make $0.02 per question, therefor, the majority of the non automated responses are done at a pay rate of 2 cents.

    The Generalist/Specialist how answer the other at most 42% of questions get paid between $0.10 and $0.16 per question (they say the categories range from $0.10 to $0.20, but the highest paid categories only pay $0.16), but as stated above, less than half of the questions that go to guides actually get to a Gen/Spec.

    A quick break down: As post #58 mentioned, 80% of ChaCha answers are automated, which means 20% go to guides. Of that 20%, less than half of them are actually researched by someone who is receiving $0.10 to $0.16 per question.

    Regarding the 16 million answers to How old is Barack Obama and dates for events, ChaCha HQ needs to go through and remove outdated, irrelevant, and flat out wrong answers. This would dramatically help both the customers receive the correct answer, and help to speed up the number of questions the EX’s can answer, thus increasing overall pay while sending the customers the correct answers faster.

    Also a note on the Red Alerts, it depends on when you do them. The ones that go out at 6 AM sometimes pay over $7, which means that in an hour you could make $22 if the questions are coming in quick enough and you can quickly and accurately answer them. With a steady stream of questions I can do 400/hr while maintaining at least 95% for my Quality Rating.

  79. fadeafterfall

    @Disgruntled. I agree, thank you for the clarification. Since I started as a guide over 2 years ago I have filled every role that ChaCha has had so far and also disagree with the pay rates but I was just clarifying that they are not SO horrible (for me personally) given that it takes a matter of seconds to type and send them.  95% is not a bad rating to maintain and I really have no idea how people are managing to make a 95% when the answers continue to be this bad! ChaCha must be hiring as fast as they are firing.  Just tonight I asked for the nearest walmart in my area and gave a clear zipcode PLUS a city name, spelled out and got “the nearest state park is…”I was like… wtf??? ~sigh~ I have pretty much just resigned myself to asking a minimum of 3 times for any question and usually will not wait for the bad answer to come in before asking in a second or third time.

  80. LGFN

    Ha! I never thought of that, just sending a few texts one after another without waiting for response, and then seeing if any of those are correct, and if not – repeat. Maybe this way they got to their one billion milestone! If everyone does it, they’ll get to another billion in no time!

    ChaCha: One Billion Fails.

    With ChaCha boasting their one billion answers, we learn it’s the “quantity” that counts, not the “quality”.

    P.S. Again, I urge you and all your friends to broadcast all their failing answers on Twitter with the hashtag #chachafail. It will help more than expected, especially if it gets really popular and everyone does it, they won’t be left with any option but to improve their sucking service.

  81. fadeafterfall

    LOL, I’ve been doing that for a while now already: 

    http://capriciouschacha.tumblr.com/

    All the bizarre questions I get and the rare but awesome answers. It’s hilarious.

    New post every day.

  82. LadyinRed

    LGFN- I have to agree with you on them boasting about their billionth question. All the while they give some 14 year old kid over a thousand dollars worth of free stuff, yet they can’t find it fit to pay their GOOD guides more than 2 cents a query. LOL Whatever. This will all end up biting their you know what in the end.

  83. Fred

    To all those guides who are disgruntled with the pay, here is a novel idea:  Do Something Else.  Don’t work somewhere (anywhere) and then just complain about the pay, move on.  This is the land of opportunity after all, and, the last time I checked, nobody is requiring you to work for ChaCha. 

    With that being said, the biggest black mark for ChaCha (pun intended) is the propagation of racism to children with “jokes”.  Mexicans, blacks, etc.  – it’s disgusting stuff really and has no place in our society, especially in 2010, and particularly to the impressionable youth to whom most of these “jokes” are delivered to.

    I sense a class action lawsuit pending, so your legal team in Carmel, Indiana (which is lily white Pleasantville btw – I know, I grew up there) better sharpen their pencils.  There is no place for spreading racism and hate under the guise of “jokes”.

    If anybody doesn’t believe me, text a black joke request to ChaCha, and tell me if the response is funny – or just plain inappropriate. 

    Fred

  84. fadeafterfall

    I dislike the jokes as well but you have to keep in mind the USERS are asking for it.  ChaCha does a survey to make sure that users are over 13, legal age.  The jokes are the least of the problems though… over 50% of all the questions I transcribe are sex related and not just fact-seeking… We are talking things that are really vulgar and inappropriate in my opinion but it is up to human agency and up to parents of the children in question to keep this from happening, ChaCha is keeping it legal and above-board but it’s a question answer service… unless it’s direct abuse (multiple swear words, extremely vulgar etc.) towards ChaCha then we are required to answer… it’s the whole POINT of ChaCha… answering.  Regardless of the question.

  85. Fred

    Tell me a racist black joke is not a question.

  86. fadeafterfall

    You’re right, it’s not.  We as transcribers and Expiediters are trained to re-word everything coming in into a question.  IE: “I have a problem, my boyfriend, he was out really late last night and I think he is cheating.  What should I do?” We must reword it into “What should I do, my boyfriend, he was out really late last night and I think he is cheating?” That is part of our job.

    As for “racist” things, if it SAYS “racist” it is labeled abuse. Someone just asking for a black joke, yo mama joke or fate joke or any other kind of joke like blonde jokes etc. (all of which in my opinion are unflattering) then we are required to answer.

    For proof, AND for a list of all the things listed as abuse/not abuse refer to here: https://searchu.chacha.com/files/tipsheet_Abuse_QA2.pdf

  87. Johnny 4

    I’m a worker at ChaCha and I agree with what others have said. The low pay quite honestly forces you to pump and dump answers from the database as quick as possible. If they had a flex pay scheme, like switching to 10 cent/minute mode if you’re an expediter and need to rewrite an accurate answer with up-to-date information sitting in front of you it would be fine. But that doesn’t exist! If we spend 1 min 45 seconds on an answer, we get the same 2 cents as spending 5 seconds. See the massive problem with quality in that formula? To have quality you need fair pay for quality and it’s not part of their system right now.

    That said, I’m not going to lie I enjoy working on ChaCha and even in it’s current form where we can’t remove bad answers from the database (although I just saw a preview today that hints we will be able too soon) I work hard to be both fast and accurate. It’s simply not always possible to give everyone good service in the current system, but I hope it improves. Meanwhile it’s the ONLY work for home service I can find, which I desperately needed in my case, so doing a few hours a day is worth it to me.

  88. LGFN

    How about this:

    Hi, I’m working in a grocery, the pay is extremely low, so every so often I take off the shelves food for my family without paying without knowledge of the owner. The grocer is to blame. Not me.

    Sounds awfully familiar to those working at ChaCha, doesn’t it?

  89. Anon

    Haters gonna Hate.

  90. More like BlahBlah

    Maybe 2% of questions are intelligent and satisfying to answer. The rest of the job is being a babysitter to kids while they think up the most perverted sex questions. The whole thing is just a scam to make ad money for the founders.

  91. McF

    The analogy about the grocery store employee taking groceries off the shelves is NOT the same thing as ChaCha workers complaining of pay.  ChaCha workers are not stealing any more than someone who works a whole day at their job doing essentially nothing but still getting paid.  2 cents a questions is ridiculous.  Imagine someone who was excited to begin working for ChaCha being led to believe thinking they were going to be getting 20 cents a question, only to discover it was 2 cents!!  Imagine answering a ton of questions and having a 100% quality rating and getting NO incentive for 100% correct answers!  SHAWN OR ANY CHACHA “EMPLOYEES”.. please tell “bosses” than 2 cents a question is worse than child labor!!!!  Many probably were led to believe they would be getting paid a lot more than 2 cents a question.  You make them take a test with only one shot and 2 cents is all they get?? If you honestly CARE deeply about the customers, then I hope you sleep well at night NOT caring about the “contractors” that keep your business going.  2 cents a question is less than digging for change in the couch.  imagine the colossal waste of time someone feels working tirelessly for 8 HOURS and making $10!! THAT is what ChaCha should be ashamed of.

  92. J. Smith

    I actually work as a ChaCha guide now. They only pay us $0.02 a question, and we have to quickly answer questions without giving much thought to them in order to make $2.00 and hour (not during contest times obviously). I’m only doing this because I am currently unemployed. If I had a job, I probably wouldn’t be doing it. I pretty much get paid like the Chinese probably get paid for making Nike shoes! I heard back in the day they used to pay them like $0.20-$0.10 a question, but not anymore. I’ve noticed that most the questions I receive aren’t even serious questions, and a lot are either opinion oriented or inappropriate adult related questions, which of course do not need a serious answer. And those that do asks a serious question I notice more than too many times, they get a bad answer, or a wrong answer, or an irrelevant answer. I’ve used the service personally myself, and it is a pain to use. I would not recommend it.

  93. J. Smith

    I’ve actually read most of the comments on this blog, so this is the rest of what I have to say. (Don’t know how long before someone else replies). But one comment to the stay at home mom. Realize that you probably have a husband who works a FULL TIME job to support you. Try doing ChaCha, having noone to take care of you and not being able to find a job, and you’ll see how frustrating ChaCha can be, when you KNOW you can work in a real job and make so much more money for less work.

    Next, for the person who talked about the 95% quality rating everyone is supposed to have, and any lower they will get kicked off. Obviously it isn’t working, I just tested ChaCha now with a question that said “Why are gas prices rising so quickly?” You know how many BAD answers I had to go through before I got an even slightly relevant accurate one? SIX ANSWERS!!! 1 out of 6? That’s an F, FFFFFF!!!!! FAIL! So obviously their quality rating system isn’t working. When I’m guiding, I see tons of bad answers from guides ALL the time. I actually have a bad quality rating for stupid things like grammar and punctuation. Had nothing to do with my answer being wrong, it had to do with the fact the I didn’t capitalize the word “july” in a QUESTION sent to an SP, not to the customer. Maybe if you actually rate based on CORRECT answers instead of stupid grammatical and punctuation errors. That might get rid of the guides who send bad answers? Not one of the 0% rating I got on ANY of my answers was based on Answer accuracy, EVER.

    And for the person who said “racist” is labeled as abuse. They were talking about an ANSWER sent from a guide, not a question asked that was racist. Next time you should read the whole post. I actually had another fellow guide to tell me to not bother using ChaCha as a service because the service is terrible.

    I think it’s funny someone in the ChaCha forums was asking everyone why do they bother working for $2/hr, and of course they said “I don’t have to wear a uniform, I can choose my hours, blablabla…” I mean if you like working for $2/hr why not just move to a 3rd world country? And I said above, most of these people of course are being taken care of by someone who DOES have a full time REAL job.

  94. ChaChing

    I tend to stumble on ChaCha crap in searches, and I am always astonished with some of the moronic answers given to suckers who trust them.  Reading some of these comments on where theses idiots come from is enough proof that they need a disclaimer that they are mostly talking out of their ass.  Clearly this thing is run by out of season Renaissance Faire workers.

  95. J. Smith

    @ChaChing: And I like I said, their Quality Assurance system is NOT working obviously. And they will just let any bozo in who can pass their test, and the test is not that hard.

  96. Colene

    I will tell you exactly why. I am a guide on ChaCha and we are rated for our accuracy, but there are more than one type of guide at ChaCha.

    First there are the Generalist/Specialist, who personalize your answers and give the most accurate information (which is what I am).

    Then, there are the Expeditors/Transcriptionists that have to chose from a variety of preset answers.

    The problem is, questions are routed to the Expeditors first, who give the least accurate information. These guides don’t get paid as well, and this saves ChaCha money.

    It’s a shame, because I pay very close attention to making sure I give accurate and detailed information to all of the questions I answer, because I would live to keep my job at ChaCha. However, I rarely use the service because I nearly always get bad info.

  97. Kate

    I am done with ChaCha. They have recently put limits on expeditors and created a new, similar guide role called Vetters. Vetters get paid .005 for basically doing almost the same job as expeditors. So basically they cut pay in half yet again. I now make $1 an hour. You honestly have to be insane or a stay at home mother to work for this company. Slave labor!!!

  98. A person

    Do people realize how easy it is to create an automated program to answer these questions? The main reason why ChaCha is forced to cut wages is because of “smart” people exploiting ChaCha’s, well, exploits.

    ChaCha literally kicked them selves in the ass and now everyone is suffering.

  99. J. Smith

    Well, now that I have a full-time job making $12.50/hr, you aren’t going to be seeing me doing ChaCha anymore, if at all. I know about the Vetters, but I didn’t know of other limits they may have put on expeditors. And to get paid a $1/hr? Screw that. You’d get more money convincing passer-bys to let you wash their cars outside!

  100. Eire

    I am so tempted to start a website title stupid answers from Cha Cha.  I asked a simple question three times today and never did get the right answer.  The question was “What is the phone number for Walden University.  The first answer I got was the phone number for United House of Prayer.  So, I asked again, this time, I got the phone number for The University of Minnesota School of Medicine.  The third time I asked, I added “I’ve asked twice already didn’t get the right answer.” Surprise, surprise, Cha Cha suddenly became mentally challenged and couldn’t understand what I was asking.  This happens more often than not.  I will willingly pay the fee to use KGB because I will get the right answer without jumping through hoops.

    I used to work as a guide and I stopped because I was tried of answering vile sex questions, forwarding racist jokes and giving out medical advice I am not trained to.  Oh, and let’s not forget about the kids who find some pills and want us to tell them what they are.  We were expected to answer these questions regardless.  I could not do that anymore.  Their only “verification” to assure users are over 13 is your standard issue “I agree that I am over 13” check box.  That’s it.  Which explains why I had to answer a million questions about giving BJs to Justin Beiber.  Don’t kid yourself in to thinking that kids under 13 are not using Cha Cha, they are.  All this for 2 cents per question.  Oh, and don’t even get me started on the mysterious “bugs” which caused my earnings to never go up.  I worked essentially 3 days for free.

    One final thing, yes there are abuse policies, however, they are so stupid it’s hardly worth having them.  It’s abuse if somebody texts “I want to F*** you” but it’s not abuse if they ask “Do you want to F***?” Cha Cha’s shaky logic there is, they didn’t directly ask you with the first example, so it’s fine.  No, really, it isn’t.  Phone sex operators make a lot more than 2 cents.  If I wanted to talk dirty to some kid, I’d go that route.

  101. Mike Compton

    ChaCha is truly garbage. They give so many answers that are EASILY proven wrong, one wonders if it’s staff even has access to a search engine.

    It’s offensive that they get away with charging people for this utterly worthless ‘service’.

    PS: ChaCha? For the record, the study of moss is called ‘Bryology’. I know you really knocked yourself out to come up with ‘botany’, but specificity matters.

    • Jennifer Marquess

      It’s because all the search engines are indexing ChaCha now. They are having to deal with their own wrong answers.

  102. Kyle

    I have discovered that the *Law of Attraction* seems to apply to the internet as well like the movie The Secret which takes too long to get into.

    We all attract what we repress in ourselves and those who continue to have frustrating experiences such as Cha Cha users or Yahoo Answer users may have something that they are repressing themselves that the universe has to show in physical form somehow.

    Like if you hide a lot of anger chances increase strongly you will attract *Trolls* that will not be afraid to display it openly because it is you’re own *shadow* you are seeing. Thus the trolls sniff you out and home in on you once you light up.

    As time gets ready to end experiences will become stronger and faster until you learn you all learn you’re stupid lessons.

    In other words contrary to most materialistic scientists the universe is like a nagging mother telling you to clean you’re dirty clothes or you’ll smell like horse crap and it’s best you listen to her at least to get her to shaddup!.

    • Jennifer Marquess

      I don’t know about everyone else here, but I’m actually not annoyed with the people who answer the questions. It’s the paltry reward system that encourages mediocrity and causes a situation where real information is buried under useless nonsense.

      It actually was easier to find information 50 years ago. Faster too, provided adequate access to a library. Information isn’t what you get when you do a web search, I’m afraid. What we have today, when using the internet, is access to noise that we have to filter ourselves to dig down into information. It became better for a time, but every year since that time, it has become worse and worse. The scope of what I’m trying to explain here is huge, so bear with me.

      I’m going to start with first principles.

      1) Everything we know is wrong. (For a given value of “everything” and a given value of “wrong” that can change suddenly.)
      2) Everything ever recorded in books is therefore wrong (See the parenthetical above.)
      3) There is a given value of “right” (being the opposite of wrong, see above) that is generally accepted and agreed upon by humans (I assume humans are the ones writing books and using the internet, but please see #1)
      4) “Rightness” can be determined by trial and error in some cases, but most academic areas require peer review to confer “Rightness” upon a subject.
      5) Books, journals and other existing means of scientific communication receive peer review.
      6) Then there’s the rest of us. We used to form local clubs to pursue hobbies or attend university to share ideas or we just talk to family members, colleagues and people we know to spread the wealth of our experience. The other possibility is that we’re teachers in some respect, either by profession or association.
      7) The sum of every human’s (please see the parenthetical on #3) experience can be either right or wrong (but usually a mix), given the current, peer reviewed definition of “right” for any time period.
      8) The internet gives everyone with a connected computer the chance to have a voice.

      Look at what we’ve done with it.

      I found out from ChaCha (showing up on a web search) that I couldn’t make brownies from a Betty Crocker mix in my bread maker because the mix was not meant for bread maker. Guess I should throw these out then, but I’d hate to, because they came out great in my bread maker (don’t try it if you don’t have a bread maker with a “Batter Bread” setting).

      I found out from Ask.com that all homemade wine will make you go blind. Weird, because I’ve been making, sharing and using homemade wine for years. Not blind yet.

      I found out from Yahoo Answers that a rooster is needed to make hens lay eggs. Makes me wonder how commercial farms run, in that case, since most of the eggs sold commercially are unfertilized.

      There are a lot more examples out there. Some of them are potentially dangerous. A lot come from ChaCha and sites like it. Truthfully, you have to already know the answers yourself to wade through the dreck. Otherwise, you’d get stuck in it. I’ve seen enough wrong answers (and sometimes puerile answers) from answer sites (including ChaCha) that I know I have to pass these sites over when they wind up all over my search results. It would be nice for once to get a search engine that actually has peer reviewed information, so I wouldn’t have to spend all day sorting to find something I used to be able to locate within a few minutes at the library.

      A lot of us believe something because we were told it and that’s fine, to a point. That’s how we pass on knowledge, but we all have to be prepared to admit at any moment that what we know is wrong.

      I will submit that answer to the popular question of our president’s age may (or may not) have been true at the time the answer was written. Dates are important, because they help give context to an answer. It is not true that I am 38. It was true two months ago, though.

      If I could get my search engines to totally ignore at least the Question websites, it would be so much help. I asked ChaCha about that yesterday. One answer told me that it wasn’t possible. Another told me that I was in breach of the terms of service and to call a particular 800 number (I called and was given an email address to write to instead. I emailed and oddly the customer service person gave me a solution. Thank goodness!)

      Not all of it is the answer sites, either. Filtering them out only fixes part of the problem. I’m on my own for the rest. Sunkist’s website will tell you that citrus doesn’t grow true from seed and they use as an example an orange that does produce seeds that grow true to type. I’m betting ChaCha got their brownie answer from Betty Crocker’s website, though I’m probably wrong. (See above.)

      I’m assuming that your troll (good one, btw–bringing in psychology and all that. I’m sure that you’re patting yourself on the back for being very intelligent right now, not to mention spiritual, with the way you added in the bits about the Universe sending messages and alluding to either end of times or reincarnation) was meant to draw someone. Probably not me, but you’re probably enjoying the fact that someone is giving validation to your delusions of grandeur. Good for you. Unless I’m wrong (see above), but then, you probably are too (see above).

  103. Kyle

    P.S We can learn things a lot faster today then we could 50 years ago if we choose to and it’s not just because technology has changed but time/space is shifting.

  104. Rachel R.

    ChaCha continues to be absolute garbage. I’m also amazed Google AdSense still allows ads on there as there is hardly any content, just a webpage loaded with ads and one sentence answering a question (incorrectly about 90 percent of the time, I might add).

    I just checked some answers about Thailand, a country I’ve lived in for 10 years. Not one answer was correct as they were either out of date (the prime minister of Thailand is not Abhisit Vejjajiva and hasn’t been for over a year and a half, yet an answer from 9 months ago gave his name as PM), or just plain wrong.

    Guess it will be the last time I use ChaCha :)