Uclue

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Uclue is a fee-based research service staffed by former Google Answers Researchers (GARs). Uclue launched on February 28, 2007.[1] As of May 2007, 37 former Google Answers Researchers have signed on to answer questions at Uclue.[2] Researchers are located in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Japan, and the Philippines. Thanks to this international diversity, Uclue is able to provide research and translation in English, German, Spanish, Tagalog, and conversational French.[1] Over 1000 people from 6 continents have registered at Uclue as both clients and commentators.[3] (Commentators are non-researchers who post helpful comments on questions and answers.) As of May 2014, over 6,000 questions have been posted at Uclue.[4]

Services[edit]

Uclue's researchers can provide answers spanning a broad and eclectic array of topics. Categories include Business, Genealogy, all the Sciences, Technology, Computer/Software Help, Health, and the Arts.[5] Questions range from high-level business research: "Research on the NGO sector,"[6] to locating equipment and other items: "Color NTSC video camera for low-light usage,"[7] to the quirky: "How to Amuse a cat."[8]

The fee range is $10 to $400, and customers select the fee based on the complexity and/or obscurity of the requested information. Customers are encouraged to use the lower end of the fee scale only for relatively simple questions.[9] Customers also have the option of tipping researchers.[10] Uclue customers pay via PayPal when they post a question. (There is no question listing fee.) If the question isn't answered within 14 days, the customer will receive a refund. Customers also have 30 days to request a refund if dissatisfied with an answer; however, customers are encouraged to use the Clarification process to refine the answer to their satisfaction before seeking a refund.[11]

Origins[edit]

Uclue's origins are rooted in the closing of Google Answers to new questions on November 30, 2006. Shortly after Google announced that Google Answers was being retired, Tomi Poutanen, Yahoo's Product Manager for Social Search, set up a group discussion with Google Answers Researchers (GARs).[12] Poutanen explained Yahoo! was considering augmenting Yahoo! Answers with a "Premium" paid research service to be staffed by displaced GARs. Poutanen sought GARs' input on the proposal, but discussions soon fizzled.[13] (To date, Yahoo! Answers has not added a fee-based "Premium" tier to Yahoo! Answers.)

Even before Yahoo's short-lived overture, ex-GARs were already focusing on plans to form their own fee-based Q&A service. Computer programmer and former GAR Roger Browne (known as eiffel-ga at Google Answers) announced he was starting a new Q&A service, Uclue.[14][15]

Startup of Uclue in Beta began on February 28, 2007, and the launch was publicly announced on March 7, 2007. Browne explained, "We were all saddened at the demise of GA, but we know there is a terrific need for a place where users can get fast, professional, high-quality research at a surprisingly low cost. Uclue is that place, and we're thrilled to announce that we're now in business".[16]

In Computerworld's March 8, 2007 feature article on Uclue, Emily Moore (Uclue researcher "journalist") expanded on Uclue's mission, which is "to assist people who don't have the time to search for themselves, or don't know how to search, [or] how to get into the deep Web. . .The niche that Uclue fills is for quality detailed, comprehensive information. People are quite willing to pay for that."

Comparison of Uclue to Google Answers[edit]

Uclue explained the differences in response to a question from Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped. (Lenssen is a former GAR known as j_philipp-ga): Question: How does Uclue compare to Google Answers? [17][18]

Currently, only former Google Answers Researchers may apply to become Uclue Researchers.[19]

Business model[edit]

Uclue founder Roger Browne explained Uclue's business model in his answer to the question "Uclue itself":[20]

"The financial basis for the business is straightforward. The income comes from question fees and tips. A few percent are lost due to payment processing costs. Of the remainder, 100% of tips and 75% of question fees goes to the researchers, and 25% of question fees goes to the service where it pays for hosting, software development, software maintenance, administration, marketing, legal expenses, etc. ... Apart from software development, the other costs are roughly proportional to question volume. Therefore, in the long term once the software development costs are amortized, the business is financially sustainable at any size - large or small."

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b nancylynn-ga's research: Many of Your Favorite GARs are Back at Uclue!
  2. ^ Roger Browne, librarian.net, first response to Google Answerers, a tally, May 3, 2007
  3. ^ Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  4. ^ (Includes the number of questions at bottom of page.)
  5. ^ Browse Categories
  6. ^ Question: Research on the NGO sector
  7. ^ Question: Color NTSC video camera for low-light usage
  8. ^ Question: Amusing a cat
  9. ^ (See "What Price Should I Set for My Question?")
  10. ^ (See "Can I Tip the Researcher?")
  11. ^ (See "What If I'm Not Satisfied with the Answer Provided?)
  12. ^ Yahoo Answers to Ex-Google Researchers: Come Play With Us
  13. ^ "Answers Marketplace: Google Folds, Yahoo! Explodes, and Helium Rises," by Parry Social, Jack Myer's Media Village, December 04, 2006: http://blogs.mediavillage.com/bloom/archives/2006/12/answers_marketp.html See paragraphs: "While there was a real sense of community on Google Answers, researchers were frustrated that the upper limit of a transaction in GA was $200..." And: "Since the Google announcement, Yahoo!'s Poutanen has taken the initiative to set up a Yahoo! group for ex-GARs to float a trial balloon of how Yahoo! might best use their expertise…"[dead link]
  14. ^ Web Owls » Blog Archive » A new paid research service?
  15. ^ "Ex Google Answers Researchers Launch New Q&A Site": http://www.vivavip.com/go/w12511
  16. ^ VIP Wire: Ex Google Answers Researchers Launch New Q&A S[dead link]
  17. ^ Google Answers Shuts Down
  18. ^ " I'm a contractor for Google Answers as Researcher j_philipp"
  19. ^ Welcome to Uclue (Beta) Archived 24 September 2009 at WebCite
  20. ^ Question: Uclue itself

External links[edit]