Is ChaCha.com a Scam?

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No, we are not heading off to the land of Dancing With the Stars to earn fame and fortune doing the Cha Cha. Although I suspect there would be a few of you who would like to see me make a fool of myself on the dance floor. Fortunately there will be none of that. It’s just another review of another way that you may be able to make money.

 
ChaCha has been around since 2006. It’s basically a Question & Answer site. It similar to Yahoo Answers. In essence anyone anywhere can call and/or text in a question and voila!, the ChaCha Guides will look up the answers and text you back. When they send the text answer, there will be an ad attached of course which is obviously how they make money. You “old timers” who prefer to actually talk to a human being can also call a ChaCha guide to ask your question. But their shtick is really for mobile devices. That is what makes this different from a Yahoo Answers. Think about times you’re arguing with friends about a sports or pop culture thing. It’s usually times you are away from your computer. But now you can get a text with the answer. I don’t know if this is a necessity per se. But I can see the occasional usage.
 

How To Make Money

 
Obviously if ChaCha is getting questions called or texted in, they need people to answer this stuff 24/7. That’s where we as legit work at home seekers come in. ChaCha hires us to be Guides that research and answer the questions that come in as quickly as possible. There are different type of guides you can work as.
 
1. You could be an Expediter who does the quick one word, phrase or sentence answers that can be found with a quick click on Google. 
 
2. Or you might qualify as a Generalist who can pretty much manage Google searches with ease and find out the answers to most any question on any topic. 
 
3. Specialists on the other hand show expertise in one of more particular areas due to their backgrounds, job or education. 
 
4. Another one is the Transcriber who takes the phone calls and turns them into text format for the Guides to answer. 
 
As expected each of these guides get different pay rates because some involve more work than others. So that’s pretty much how you make money with this company.
 

How much money can you make?

 
There are two ways to get paid: Pay as you go and Bonus Money.
 
1. Pay as you go is when you answer some questions and paid based on the level they have classified you as a guide. This basically works out to 2-3 cents per question. Questions that require more research and a more specialized guide to answer pay you about 10-20 cents per question. But from what I’ve heard these type of questions and topics are rarely available. So don’t bet on that amount.
 
2. The other way is their monthly point system. You can earn points for each search you complete. It could involve a minimum amount of searches a day to actually get these points. You and the rest of the guides can build the value of these points by putting more time in each month. The more points that the group accumulates the higher the value of each point at the end of the month. You get these credited to you account each month. It is a way to add some “oomph” to your monthly totals. Although they don’t really tell you exactly the value of these points. All we can ascertain is that the value of these points will increase when guides stay logged on for a set amount of time each day or meet a monthly level? Look I’m just as confused as you. What I can tell you is one happy guide said they made about $3 per hour by answering questions and with the bonus points it went to $4/hour with the bonus points.
 
 
At the end of the day, the general consensus from the chatter on the forums is overall you probably can get about $4 per hour by combining the two methods.
 

What are the qualifications?

 
Okay now that we know about the money, you might be interested in jumping right in. Well slow you roll there. They just don’t let anybody answer these questions There is a qualifying test you must take and pass or they just deny your application. Sadly once they disqualify you there is no second chance. Why would they implement such a policy? I have no idea. Either way be sure you’re on your “A” game before taking the test. 
 
In any event, once you’re accepted you get some video tutorials and a guide to use that shows you tips and tricks for fast and quick Internet searches. You also get suggestions of sites for certain topics. Spelling and grammar count big time with these folks so keep that in mind. Obviously I wouldn’t be right for this opportunity. lol
 
In any event, you also need a high-speed Internet computer that has 512 MB-1GB of RAM with Firefox and Flash installed. Most recent computers meet this hardware requirement so if your computer is relatively new, you should be fine. You may need to just download Firefox which is a better browser than Internet Explorer anyway. Fortunately Firefox is free. So from a technical point of view, you probably already have all the equipment you need or free access to it. That’s always a good thing!
 

What are the hours like?

 
You can work as much or a little as you want. There is no minimum requirement. So if you want to sit for 40 hours a week answering questions, that is just as fine as spending an hour or so a couple times a week. They consider this as a way to work for some extra spending money and do not in any way lead you to believe you can earn a full income by being a Guide. It is more than chump change but far from getting rich! At the end of the day, you already know my philosophy every cent counts and it all adds up to dollars. If you don’t see the value of this, you’ll be struggling to make it in this industry. 
 

How Do They Pay The Cha Cha Guides?

 
Cha Cha makes direct deposit payments once a month if there is $150 in your account. Yeah you read that correctly! That seems to be pretty high considering you’re only earning a few cents per question and text answered. Hopefully there is enough volume so you can meet this. 
 
The other option is to use their debit card system. With a click of a button, they just transfer the money into your debit account and you can use that debit card to make purchases at any time. Paypal has a debit card feature as well that I use all the time. So I like this option. Although I don’t think I should have to pay for the debit card. From what I read a whole lot of their guides use the debit card option which doesn’t surprise me. 
 

How To Get Started?

 
Click here to sign up to become a ChaCha Guide.
 
 

Questions?

 
I tried to address as many of the questions you may have as I could. But I'm sure you'll have more. Thats why there is an FAQ page you can check out by clicking here.
 

Cons

 
You’re not an employee.
Like most work at home opportunities out there you are an Independent Contractor not an employee. So all the legal and Uncle Sam tax stuff is up to you. This sounds a lot scarier than it really is. But any competent accountant can ease the pain for you in this regards. But it’s usually a con for most people. Although you may quickly learn from a CPA it’s actually a pro because of the write offs you can take that you couldn’t take as an employee.
 
High Payment Threshold
As I stated above, considering you’re only getting paid a few cents per text and answered questions, it may be really hard to meet that $150 minimum per month to get paid. There has been some talk they may actually raise it which seems to be going in the wrong direction if you ask me. It should definitely be lower! So that’s definitely a con in my mind and most that consider this opportunity. 
 
Failing The Test
There is no way to know what mistakes you made that caused you to fail their test or if they just don’t need people at your level at the moment. You just get some generic message about being notified at a later date if something were to open up based on your test scores. But from what I understand that rarely happens for most people. It just seems like a messed up policy and I don’t really know the reason behind it.
 
Low Earnings.
There are definitely going to be some people that read about earning $3-$4 an hour for typing answers and balk at it. Some will argue how the hell am I suppose to live off that? My response is you don’t. Like many of the non-traditional opportunities I discuss this should be one of many multiple streams of income you add to your bottom line. You can still look for a traditional job that pays you more. But in this day and age limiting yourself to one source of income is a recipe for disaster in my humble opinion. The millions of people who have been laid off can probably attest to my logic now. This isn’t meant to live off. It’s just an added source of income to any others you have or obtain as you work this. ChaCha makes this very clear. But nonetheless I know the pay is still something that people will bitch and moan about as a con so I felt compelled to mention it.
 
Damn Teenagers!
Apparently there has been some complaints from ChaCha guides about the number of silly and highly questionable content of, “How do you..?” questions that come from tweens.  Remember when you were a kid at a sleep over and how there was always some joker who had the idea to make crank calls? Well those same kids will use something like ChaCha to ask goofy questions.  As a guide, you have to answer them, and the concern is that it takes up a lot of your time and is just plain annoying.  The other things these tweens will do is ask questions of totally explicit and inappropriate nature.  Fill in the blanks of a  “How do you…?” with anything a hormonal tween or teen might be wondering and you get my drift….     
 
Cha Cha is supposed to have rules to prevent this kind of thing. The rules are you must be 12 to use this service, but this may come as a surprise to you, but kids have been known to lie about their age. Really, I know it is shocking…. There are also rules about these inappropriate topics. They should  just get deleted and the person asking should be immediately deleted from the system.  Either the complainers did not report these questions, the definition of inappropriate is too vague, or the system’s filters do not always work like they should,  It is hard to tell just by chitter chatter online.  I just think that it is something you should be aware of.  
 
At least pay close attention in your training materials on how to handle these things if and when it comes up.  On the one hand, you will get paid for your answers so who cares if the tweens are yankin’ your chains, that is what they do best! On the other you should not be put in an uncomfortable situation.
 

Conclusion

 
ChaCha comes across as totally legit to me. It pays the members, it is totally up front about the amount of money you can make and that is something I appreciate a lot. It doesn't seem like there are hidden costs beyond Internet and a computer that most people have already. The concept is simple which makes it easier for everyone involved. No complicated rules and procedures. Find the answers to questions as fast as you can and get paid after you earn $150, that’s pretty much it.
 
I can't help myself sometimes but I have to say what is running through my little old mind. The first thing that comes to mind is how sustainable is this business? Think about it, Don’t most of us have smart phones such as an iphone or tablets like the iPad that have Internet access? Well maybe I’m assuming everyone is like me who is gadget freak. But honestly a lot more people are “always connected” via their phones. So why does one need to Cha Cha? A Google Search from the mobile device would take less time…..
 
But what do I know? The company has been around since 2006. So maybe it will be around for a while. I’ll tell you a secret. I was a ChaCha guide when the company initially started and they were constantly updating the interface ChaCha guides were using. That showed me they always seem to be evolving which may keep them in business for a while. 
 
In any event, let me know what you think of this opportunity. By the way you may also be interested in KGBKGB  which is a similar opportunity that we've reviewed if ChaCha is appealing to you. 
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  • Sdouglass24

    Great article! I have been a ChaCha guide for 2 years now and I just wanted to add that while you do have to meet a minimum payout amount if you want to be paid every month, there is also an option called Pay Me Now (PMN) where you set up a separate bank account just for ChaCha earnings. They collaborate with a bank called First Internet Bank of Indiana to do this. After you’ve done that you can cash out your earnings whenever you want, with a $2 convenience fee tacked on each time you cash out. They give you a debit card as you explained above, but the $100 minimum threshold doesn’t apply with the Pay Me Now option.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CGGBTSDCNDNVF36EMANXOENY7A Christopher Price

    Having been both a generalist and an expeditor, I’ll just say that it takes a lot of good fortune and tons of practice to approach $3-4 per hour at ChaCha. They pay, but I wouldn’t recommend working there if you value your time…especially with that absurd payment threshold they have now.

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Thanks! I appreciate you filling in the gaps and correcting anything I may have missed.
    So do you like working for ChaCha?

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Thanks for sharing your experience Chris.The high payment threshold off is definitely a turn off which is why I named it a con. So I agree with you. But according to Sdouglass24 there is a way to work around this: http://www.workathomenoscams.com/2011/02/22/is-chacha-com-a-scam/#comment-154425606

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Shannon,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and providing some detailed insight about the company. I wasn’t aware of the contest so that’s a nice added feature.

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Hey Anna,
    Thanks for sharing your experience with this company. The few times I did give it a shot I did find it a bit tedious but that was early in the company when they’re interface was first being designed. Like any opportunity you have to evaluate what gives you the most bang for your time and enjoyment. I’ve made similar adjustments where I use to spend a lot of time on a given opportunity but later switched my attentions elsewhere because it just made more sense financially. It wasn’t a knock on the company but it was more an evaluation of where my time could be better spent to earn more money.

    We should always be evaluating the various sources of income we may have and shift focus when it makes “cents”. So I totally agree with you and what you did. Either way it’s good to know it’s a decent option for people who take on my multiple streams of income approach. Thanks for sharing.

  • Larry

    It actually doesn’t sound too bad of an opportunity… Doing a little math:
    $3 and hour * 1 hour per day * 30 days per month = $90 a month for working an hour each day.
    So the bonus money, or just a little more time could get you an extra $100 a month (considering that the volume is there). If the hourly rate is accurate, then the $100 threshold doesn’t seem so bad.

    So is $3 a good approximation? A little more math (for a simple question worth 2 cents):
    $0.02 per question * 1 question per minute * 60 minutes per hour = $1.20 per hour
    Not quite the $3 as expected…

    But if the question is truly simple (just a quick one-word look-up / answer) then you may be able to answer more questions each minute. If you answer those questions every 30 seconds (2 per minute) then the rate is $2.40, and a question every 20 seconds (3 per minute) is $3.60 which is on pace with what your research said. Now 20 seconds does seem to be pretty short, but it may not be totally out of the realm of possibility (heck, I used to be able to swim 50 yards in close to that amount of time). And I was taking worst case, so 3-cents a question at 1 every 30 seconds already puts you at $3.60…

    Even if you were a slow typer (like me, lol) and could only answer the 2-cent questions 1 per minute, working at an hour a day would give you the $100 in 3 months. For some extra “pocket change” that’s a lot better than other opportunities like PTC sites, GPT sites, surveys, etc. So I think it really depends on volume of questions — whether you’d be able to answer consistently for an hour each day, or if it is more like ClixSense where you have to be constantly checking the site to see if there’s a new question to answer, which would be another con for some people.

    I also noticed that you didn’t mention anything about referral income, which would be another con in my book. Although PTC / GPT / survey sites may not pay much for the time required, if they have a referral system, you can sometimes make more money from referrals than by your own effort.

    I also wonder whether the Guides are assigned questions or if all Guides compete in answering each question (so that the fastest Guide gets the mulla). Assigning the questions to each Guide is the most fair from a Guide’s point of view, but for the company they’d rather have the most accurate answer in the least amount of time, so having Guides compete would make more sense to the site. One other possibility I could see would be if all Guides are asked the same question, but instead of competing for the money, everyone that provides an answer (within, say a couple of minutes) gets some type of compensation, with the fastest Guides getting a bonus for their speed.

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Larry,

    Reading your response was like being in math class again and I sucked at math. lol Even though I’m not as analytical as you when it comes to numbers I can still appreciate the breakdown and I’m sure others will too. So thanks for that insight.

    Like most of these opportunities it really all depends on your needs. For some people this may not make “Cents” for their needs. But for others it’s a nice to have per month like many of the other little opportunities I recommend. So I totally agree with you.

    I couldn’t find any information about a referral program either. So you’re definitely right it’s a con for people like me that a make a living like this. But I have found most people aren’t really active in getting referrals to programs. They prefer to be able to just make money without that aspect. So I doubt a lot of others would view it as con like we would. But it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.

    Thanks for chiming in with such great insight.

  • Smckee0174

    Larry,
    Just a note. I’m an expeditor at the .02 cents mark. For us most of the questions we answer either have already been answered (so no typing needed) you just click on the one you want to send, you retype the question to send it on to a specialist (there is also a way to do this without typing), you use a finder (hardly any typing) or you answer the question (usually personal type questions like “what should I do about my cheating boyfriend, blah, blah, blah). So, it can be hard to calculate exactly how long each question may take you to finish up until you actually start doing the work. They do have a referral program as well. I think you get a percentage of their first month’s earnings or something along those lines. Also, those that refer the most people win the referral contest as well.
    Shannon

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Shannon,

    Where can we find information about this referral program? If you only earn on the first month’s earning of your referral, that sucks.

    Thanks for sharing further details.

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Damn Julia,
    You said a mouth full. Thanks for the further details and clarification. I made some edits on my article based on the information provided. It’s great to have people that have worked with the company chime in to share their experiences and clarify this. So thanks!

    Your daughter goes to show how a few cents can really add up! Applaud her and her work ethic with this.

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    No worries Shannon. Thanks anyway.

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Sis,
    Don’t get it twisted. I’m still black and have rhythm. lol But I limit it to an obligatory two step. You ain’t going to see anything more fancy than that from me. lol

  • MsEdrena

    Ah, well! Just as I suspected. Can’t last long enough to even pretend you can dance. No excuses please, just take the bet. This is EXACTLY why I only obligated myself to the tune of just one dollar and fifty cents.

    All jokes aside, thanks for the evaluation of this ChaCha business you’ve taken your time to evaluate and then feature here on your web site. You have been a true blessing to many! There’s nothing that means as much to me as the kind of truth and trustworthiness which you so vigilantly and constantly exhibit here on your web site. From a person who has lost so much in becoming caught up in various bogus, so-called, work from home scams and schemes, what you do is so refreshing. We thank God for you!

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    LOL,

    As always you’re welcome. We try our best to give you information to help you folks make the right decisions. Fortunately I have a great team and more importantly visitors that will happily chime in to fill in any voids I’ve left in my reviews. It’s a team effort. You guys are just as much of blessing to me as I am to you. So thanks big sis!

  • Cari

    I have worked for ChaCha as a voice transcriber for several years now, and in general I will say that your article is factual. I do want to point out your info on the minimum payout and method of payment is way out of date. They raised the minimum payout for the monthly payout to $150 about 6 months ago and they do not pay by check. The monthly payment is made by direct deposit only.

    Your comments on failing the test are misleading. While they do not tell you why you failed, they will notify you if another guide role opens up for hiring. And openings are posted in the forums. If they don’t need people for a particular guide role, they ‘close’ hiring and do not allow anyone to test for that role.

    That being said, I enjoy my work for ChaCha. I don’t answer the questions but I transcribe the questions that are called in to the message service. It is definitely not a way to support yourself, although there are guides that do, and it is advertised as ‘pizza money’ or extra money. I do it for luxury things and vacation money. I don’t count on it, because traffic levels vary from day to day and hour to hour. I can work whenever I want wearing whatever I want. The fun and fellowship in the forums is entertaining as well.

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Thanks Roy, I appreciate that!

  • http://jobleadsnow.blogspot.com/ MissA

    I definitely know ChaCha isnt a scam, but I do feel it’s a waste of time imo. It takes an endless about of working hours to get a very low return. Just my opinion though. I do still believe it’s great to inform ppl of all the ways of working from home and not just some..so thanks!

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Fair enough. Thanks for sharing your opinion! It’s appreciated.

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Thanks for sharing your experience with them. Most folks seem to like it. But you can’t please everyone.

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Try our international page:
    http://www.workathomenoscams.com/international it might help you.

    You might want to also try the other non-traditional opportunities listed here:
    http://www.workathomenoscams.com/recommendations

    The great thing about this industry is there are a lot more fish in the sea. lol

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Rubette,
    Thanks for sharing your experience with this company and adding some additional details. I agree, it’s not something that you’ll make a lot of money with. But it’s legitimate money and everything adds up so I’m happy you see it that way.

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Hi “Guest”,

    That is very shady! Thanks for sharing your experience. That’s definitely not cool but I’m sure they have their own side of the story to share. But either way based on what you’ve said it just doesn’t sound right.

  • Snow

    I just started as a vetter and this is my first work at home job. I was hoping to make a bit more money as i am up to 4 bucks and have working my bum off but all in all i dont mind it. It is fast and I can do it for 5 minutes or 5 hours and that is great because i never know when my kids are going to need me and i have to be able to attend to them. I have not gotten paid yet but the other people who do this site say its not hard to get paid once you reach the amount. I am hoping to find better paying options to add to it. I know they say no

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Thanks for sharing your experience snow. I’m glad to see that you enjoy this company.

  • Candi

    Some more shady behavior from ChaCha: I had been with them for a few years, finally reached the minimum payment ($150) and then, mysteriously, my account is gone. I had GOOD percentages as both a generalist/specialist and vetter. I emailed them once to find out why I was “terminated” and I got no answer. So, two or three days went by, and I sent it again. Still, no response! This job makes LESS than minimum wage and then…it doesn’t even PAY you once you get to the payout!!!

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Candi,
    That sucks! Man I really hope that’s the norm. Fortunately there are other ways to make money online. But if you fulfill a task, you should be paid! Sorry to hear this. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Thanks for sharing the recent news. That sucks. Thank goodness there are other ways to make money when stuff like this happens.

  • http://www.workathomenoscams.com Eddy Salomon

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It sucks that it went down like this for you. Although I’m sure there is two sides to every story. At the end of the day you’re making more with Amazon Mturk which is why it’s one of our top recommendations:
    http://www.workathomenoscams.com/recommendations

    Sometimes one door closes so another one can open! Thank goodness there are just so many other options out there.

  • Arielchevelle

    CHA CHA IS A SCAM!!! They make is extremely hard for you to discontinue your account and stop receiving emails from them. If you type in questions abiout your account they make it EXTREMELY difficult and give you the runaround and dodge answers. NOT LEGIT AND NOT PROFESSIONAL. They do not treat their vetters well.

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