BountyStorms, the crowdsourced Q&A service, now comes GuruStorms, a new twist on the brainstorming concept which connects you with subject-matter experts instead of with the general public. Making its debut at this week's DEMOfall 09 conference, the new site lets anyone post a question along with a monetary "reward" for answers. Then all you have to do is wait for the experts to weigh in. And don't worry - unlike on Twitter, where anyone can call themselves an "expert," this site offers the real deal. Before any of the gurus can join, they're carefully vetted to make sure they're legit. So whether you need a geologist, a data analyst, or anyone else, GuruStorms plans to have you covered.From the same company that delivered
The process for posting a question is simple and, although it will likely appeal mainly to the SMB market, asking questions is something that's open to anyone and everyone who's interested. The idea is that you post your question on the site along with a monetary reward (up to $2000) of your choosing. To encourage responses, the first 30% of the reward is divvied up among the first 10 responders, each receiving 3%. The brainstorming session remains open for 30 days, allowing all the gurus the chance to weigh in. At the end of that period, the question asker decides which experts were responsible for the top three answers. Those experts receive a 40/20/10% split of the remaining reward for the number 1, 2, and 3 answers, respectively.
In addition to the basic Q&A structure of the brainstorming sessions, the site also allows for commenting so discussions can take place as well as a thumbs up/thumbs down feature which allows users to vote on the answers provided.
Before being accepted into the site as a "guru," the potential experts are vetted through a process where their credentials are checked. Specifically, each member of this curated crowd should have a body of work which shows their expertise in an area. Also helpful is whether or not they've received some sort of acclaim like an award, a press mention, etc. It's worth noting that site founder Edward Cruz isn't waiting for the gurus to come to him. He's actively recruiting them now and has already seeded the site with several to choose from. Site users can also recommend a guru by clicking a button at the top of the page.
GuruStorms itself makes money by retaining the listing fees. While on the publicly available BountyStorms, the fee to post a question is only $4.95, on GuruStorms it's $295.00. In other words, this site is for serious business only.
There are, of course, analog equivalents to what GuruStorms offers. For example, the Gerson Lehrman Group is a leading brokerage for connecting businesses with experts, and made $284 million last year doing so. GuruStorms takes that concept online, but doesn't just connect you with one qualified expert, but a whole site filled with them. Essentially, the goal here is to make expert-based consulting a service which you can buy into without having to ever pick up a phone.
GuruStorms opens today. Question askers and gurus can join now at www.gurustorms.com.