Call 1-900-Ask-Ed

When I go to dinner parties and tell people what I do for a living, they sometimes say, “Oh, I should call you next time I have a problem with my computer.” My standard reply is, “Sure. Let me give you my 900 number.” We all laugh. Ha ha ha.

So imagine my surprise when I got this message:

Dear Ed,

My Name is [deleted to protect the clueless] and I represent, a website that links advice seekers with experts in a wide variety of fields.

We have recently launched a Voice and Video “Talk to/Ask an Expert” service which is included as plug-in software in Skype 3.0 version.

After doing much internet research, I found you to be an excellent potential candidate as an advisor in your field of expertise. This service is a tool to connect you with your audience (via voice/video) and will enable you to earn a consulting fee per minute.

For more details about how this free of charge and commission free service works, please take a look at Feel free to address me with any question you have.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope to discuss the various possibilities for partnership. Join us in starting a new era in Expert-Viewer relationships as the Web2.0 continues to evolve.

Hey, maybe I don’t need that 900 number after all!

Two problems with this offer:

  1. It was posted as a comment on my weblog, in response to a completely unrelated post. Yep, this company’s PR representative thinks comment spam is an effective way to reach potential partners. Bad idea.
  2. When I went to the company’s website and clicked the About Us link, I found nothing but a bunch of psychobabble. Not a single name of an actual person behind this company. “BitWine is a privately-held company operated by a team of professionals who believe deeply that each one of us possesses talents that can be shared beyond our own immediate boundaries.” No bios. No address. Nothing to indicate that this is a legitimate organization that I should trust. In fact, this looks like a scam site. Seriously, what kind of company doesn’t include a listing of its founders, officers, and backers on its website? Especially when that company’s tagline is “Trusted advice from real people”?

When I did a little research, I found that the founders of the company do indeed have a track record and that the company might indeed be legitimate. At least they’ve convinced the Silicon Valley echo chamber to take them seriously. But in their initial fumbling contacts with me they look like complete amateurs.

Guess I’ll have to stick with that 900 number.

2 thoughts on “Call 1-900-Ask-Ed

  1. I once did something vaguely like this through the Keen service, but I had ti discontinue it when I no longer had the spare time for it. But I also got a fair number of phone calls from people who couldn’t even articulate their problem clearly enough to be helped.

  2. Yep, great idea in theory, but in my experience as a computer repair guy, the majority of users needing phone guidance are unlikely to be tech-aware enough to be using Skype.
    I also echo Serdar’s comments – some people are just extraordinary and should not be allowed within 5 miles of a computer…

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