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.

45 thoughts on “Is ChaCha.com a Scam?”

  1. I worked for ChaCha for several years as an expeditor and then later as a vetter and a voice transcriber. I really loved it, and no it was in no way a scam…I got paid on a debit card whenever I wanted to pay myself. I learned a lot of useless and useful, fun information. It was a fun gig while it lasted, and I miss the old days of ChaCha.

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  2. I have been a ChaCha Guide since 2008. As some have said below, some guides make .01 per question. They are Vetters. Expeditors make .02 per question. Voice Transcribers make .03 per question. Generalist/Specialists make .10 to .20 per question. ChaCha is not a scam in any way. No one is ever terminated from ChaCha unless they are violating their contract. Gaming the system is not tolerated. Some people try to get through the questions as fast as they can and don’t care about answer quality. Those people don’t stay around long.

    Reply
  3. I was fired for “fraudulent behavior” right before a contest payment came in. Issac is right, they only pay 1 cent per question you can answer, but most you can’t because they’re questions that either don’t make sense or the system refuses to load the previously answered questions list.

    They pretty much jacked me, won’t pay me my final payment and won’t respond to anything I email them except to tell me I was engaging in suspicious behavior.. I assume that’s because I worked for about 10 hours a day for 2 days in a row to make a payment on something.. then got stiffed and so I found Amazon’s MTurk and pull in about 6 times what they pay me so I got everything taken care of.

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  4. I used to work for ChaCha they fired most of the expeditors and gave them a  position  valled a “vetter” which only pays 1 cent if you answer a question and 0 cent if you have to press no suitable answer… Wouldn’t be a problem but most of the questions these days are mostly “no suitable”. So the pay is really really bad now!  

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  5. 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!!!

    Reply
    • 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!

  6. 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

    Reply
  7. 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.

    Reply
  8. ChaCha was a scam in my experience. They have this new role called “Vetter”, which is what they’ve been hiring lately. You get $0.005 a question, (half a cent), you are not allowed to research questions, and you basically have to choose a pre – made answer in the database or hit a button called “No Suitable Answer”. Vetters take care of customers on their last question, which means their limit is up and they’re on their last lifeline, so if a Vetter can’t find an already written answer to help them, they get “NSA”, which sends them a message telling them that they’ve reached their question limit. I got deactivated as a Vetter for “fraudulent searches” the other day. They told me this:  Your ChaCha Guide account was permanently deactivated due to inappropriate overuse of the No Suitable Answers button.  After reviewing your account, it was determined that you were fraudulently and inappropriately using the No Suitable Answer button over 84% of the time, which resulted in bad customer experiences.

    Unfortunately once an account has been deactivated, it cannot be reactivated, and you may not apply for any other Guide roles with ChaCha.

    Thank you,

    Katie P.
    ChaCha Guide Care

    As a Vetter, I was not allowed to research, mind you. So how could I as a Vetter have given customers a bad experience when I was strictly told “NO research, just pick an answer from the list, and if it isn’t there, hit NSA”? I had $43 in my account, meaning I had answered 8, 000 questions to earn that money, and they refused to pay me for those countless days spent in front of the computer because it was “fraudulent money”. The Vetter role has no limit on how many NSA’s you are allowed to have because it requires no research, just a simple click of a pre – made answer or you HAVE to hit NSA…or so they tell you. I was deactivated for “hitting NSA too many times”, even though they sent me an e – mail AFTER I was deactivated telling me what I great job I was doing. Shady. Very shady.

    Reply
  9. 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.

    Reply
  10. I signed up with ChaCha the day I read this article. I actually like it. It’s definitely not a way to make a steady income, but at least I have a few bucks in my pocket each week on a regular basis. Yes, it does take a long time to earn the money, but then that depends on how fast and accurate you are. The ChaCha staff does pull a small handful of your completed questions and grades you on them. So this way you’ll know how well you’re doing daily. Some questions are easy to answer, and some may take you a bit longer to answer. You have up to 4 minutes to spend on each question, and if you can’t answer it as an Expeditor, you send it on to a Specialist. Many of the questions are very informative (which I like since I’m a trivia buff), and then there are the dumb ones. ChaCha also has a policy on how to handle customers who are abusive. All in all, I’ve found it a great way to earn a few bucks while also looking for a higher paying job.

    Reply
  11. I was interested in being a ChaCha guide, but wasn’t able to apply. While they don’t say you must be an American citizen to apply, you need to fill out an IRS tax form complete with social security number. Since I’m Canadian, I can’t do that…too bad. It looked like a fun way to make a little pocket money.

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  12. I worked for ChaCha and absolutely hate them. Their pay sucks it takes forever to make anything and then if a customer asks a question they usually get a wrong answer because the guides are just clicking on whatever just to get money faster. I don’t recommend anyone using them

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  13. 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!

    Reply
  14. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

    • 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!

  15. 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.

    Reply
  16. Hey Eddy!
    I used to be a ChaCha guide and my daughter was an avid ChaCha Guide. Please clarify that the statement made about “$100 minimum per month to get paid” applies ONLY to those that elect to be paid by “paper check”. When you have the debit card you get paid each time you select to be paid.

    I see Larry made a comment regarding earning $3.00 per month at 30 days equaling $90/mth. THIS is feasible IF you are FAST and ACCURATE. Your ACCURACY is graded. He also stated: “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.”

    Sorry Larry or anyone who has that preception, ChaCha has a FORMAT that you MUST use 10 words when answering questions… AGAIN…remember your job performance IS graded on your percentage of accuracy.

    Another point to consider…depending on how many guides, generalists, transcribers and expediters are working at any one time, that determines how many questions you get, which in tern influences the amount you make.

    With regard to getting questions…You will hear a like door bell…ding dong…you must be fast to accept it because yes you are in competition with other guides who hear THAT ding dong for that question at the very same time.

    So say there are 1,000 guides working…10 questions come in…10 ding dongs are heard by ALL 1000 guides…think of musical chairs when the music stops. Got it?

    During your signing process with ChaCha…you answer questions pertaining to “Your Interests”, say math, history, sports, cooking, entertainment, etc. Each area of interest (at least when we were doing this) was paid a certain amount, say $.04 for cooking, $.10 for sports, $.10 for math, each area was given a worth (for lack of a better term), anyway…voice transcribers were the lowest paid, expediters were next to lowest (these do not answer questions), there are no generalists, and specialists are guides. The guides are paid the highest…BUT again ALL depends on your “Interests”.

    These INTERESTS/CATEGORIES determine how much you are paid per each question IS PAID on it’s level of difficulty…understandably an Algebra question would rank MORE knowledge than a “who won the game today” question.

    ChaCha HAS seen it’s fair share of changes and revamping. I remember my daughter getting so frustrated because the system would constantly FREEZE up…or earnings weren’t be credited. That is the cost of evolving.

    Then you get guides, transcribers or expediters that either don’t have a clue, or just sluff it off any ol’ way and the customer is the recipient of the product, or the transcriber doesn’t quite hear the question correctly sends it to the guides and they either can’t make hide nor hair of it, or completely provide the wrong answer as a result and so on and so on and so on.

    Yet…ChaCha is and does provide a service vital for those times when you just gotta know right now…and you don’t have the time or just don’t want to look it up. But, alas we can only wait and see how the new and ever advancing SmartPhones impact will be on ChaCha and KGBKGB.

    After all…ChaCha NEVER said they were an income opportunity…they originally were for say pizza money, gas money, a way for say high school and college kids to make some quick money.

    I do have to say…my daughter has worked it as much as 16 to 18 hours per day and night and early morning 7 days a week…for well over a year…AND she paid CASH for two trips to California to the StarGate and Farscape Conventions, PLUS her hotel, foods, goodies, and one year a trip to DisneyLand for a week along with hers and my round trip airline tickets!!! Over $1800.00. Now that is a SOLID work ethic.

    Oh, yes…Eddy, remind people that IF you are receiving any sort of Unemployment or other assistance…they may have income reporting regulations and THIS will surely apply.

    Ok…now you can all breathe.

    Reply
  17. 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 type