Thursday, May 15, 2008

Answer this

There has been a rise of services that claim to either 'answer anything' or give you some personal information about someone you know. These services are often text/sms driven and charge around £1 (US$2) to answer your question. Examples in the UK include, AQA and Texperts. Judging by the advertising, their target market is typically the young, drunk or bored - hardly a professional audience.

The most dubious and least reliable services are those that try to tell you something about someone you know. You can ask them about yourself, a partner or close friend, and you'll get some obvious or eerily accurate 'how did they know that?' response, or perhaps a false accusation loosely based on exaggerated truths.

There is absolutely no credibility associated with the answers you get. The people answering the question are arguably no more qualified than you are to do so, but they have access to Internet search engines, social network data and other publicly available information. They can also make stuff up. Why would you trust them to answer your question? Why would you pay for such a service?

There is a market for this but not if you need to depend on the answer you get, or cite the source of the information. I'd pay for a service I could trust.

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