ChaCha Guides Now Paid $0.10-$0.20 Per Guided Search

ChaCha, the world’s first human powered search engine is nickeling-and-diming the guides that are the heart of the company.  ChaCha has raised about $16 million in funding within the last year and a half and cannot get a solid business model going.  According to TechCrunch, good ChaCha guides make 20 cents per answer given to those who want to search and bad ChaCha guides make 10 cents per answer. 

Let’s say that an average guide can answer 30 questions in the span of an hour, given that the traffic is there.  On the low-end, the guide will make $3 in an hour.  On the high-end, the guide will make $6 per hour.  This is less than minimum wage in all of the United States that have minimum wage laws (except for Georgia, Kansas, Wyoming).

Clearly the guides and potential guides aren’t happy about it.  On a message board of ChaCha guides, here are some of the comments:
“I just started this last week and I’m pretty disappointed. 15 cents is a stretch but 10 cents is definitely not worth the time.”
I kinda eyerolled it when I saw the note in my e-mail. It’s understandable that they want every Guide to be dedicated to the clients, but you can’t rally the troops and then cut some of them off at the knees if they’re not getting “volume”.
One of the reasons I have not gotten on board yet is I did the math and figured out that it takes 500 answers to earn $100 at $.20 each. At 3 minutes a question, that’s 20 questions an hour, it would take 25 hours to earn $100! That’s ridiculous! I’ve seen some comments on here that you should be able to do many of them in a minute, and if you averaged 40 questions in an hour, that’s $8/hr, which is minimum wage here in CA. That’s not bad, but there’s no guarantee you will be able to do that many questions, and if you’re in it for the money (which, face it, we are), you could get a job in the mall or anywhere else and have the money guaranteed!

I’ve seen ChaCha change their business model so many times that it’s not even funny any more.  Perhaps ChaCha should use their funding and build a real search engine that doesn’t depend heavily on constant underpaid manual labor.

Related Links:
1. TechCrunch

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at

ChaCha Guides Now Paid $0.10-$0.20 Per Guided Search Comments

  1. Ari says:

    I am a ChaCha guide and I found the paycut offensive. You can go to
    to petition the paycut (this is for everyone, guides and customers alike)

  2. Amber says:

    That’s ridiculous. I suppose they get away with it because Guides are not their “employees,” instead, they’re “independent contractors.” It’s insulting! I just became a Guide last week figuring it would be nice to make a little extra cash while my baby napped. I’m worth FAR MORE than a measly $3.

  3. Nate says:

    So this seemed liked a good way to make extra money on the side, since I’m a full-time student. I figured that without the cost of gas or commute time, it would even out just a bit. I worked for 5 hours and did some math. I had made $8.80 after 100 questions. That’s about $1.81 an hour. That is such a ridiculously low wage, not to mention nowhere near the $3-$9 I was told I would make while going through the training. I think this is a terrible way to treat the “independent contractors.” I’m out.

  4. Amit Chowdhry says:

    Not cool. I think ChaCha should use the money from the funding that they have and hire salaried white collars to make more strategic decisions about their company rather than under-paying their search guides.

  5. Scorpion™ says:

    Want to become a ChaCha Guide. I have many invites left with me. Kindly send me an email to for more details. I can also give you free tips on cracking the test. Note: Applicants must be 18 or above Should be a US citizen Should have a valid SSN for payment purposes.

  6. Heath says:

    I can give you the tools/tips to become top guide every week so that you can earn .20 every week. If you are interested email me at

  7. Gerald Burdine says:

    This is the OLD pay for ChaCha guides. Recently it has changed. There are many different guide types. Vetters, Expedites, and Gerneralist/Specialist. As a Vetter I make 1/2 a cent for each question. Expedites make 2 cents. The rest make 3 to 4 cents a question. I make a little money, but it could be better.

Leave a Comment