Just as I was making fun of LookSmart for looking for volunteers, here's an article reminding me about the Google Answers service that uses humans to answer questions for people who can't find stuff themselves. Of course, the major difference there is that it's set up so that the people who find the answers get paid. I've always thought this was a nice service to offer, though I wonder how sustainable it is. As the article points out, for some people it seems like a fun hobby to try to help others with their searching needs for a few extra dollars. However, when it starts to feel more like a job people start to get annoyed with it. Some of the "researchers" were also upset that the person asking the question gets to decide if the question was sufficiently answered and if they agree to pay for it. Once the answer has been given, I can see a lot of less-than-honest people taking the answer, complaining about it, and refusing to pay.
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