A new startup called Tinbag launched last week. They’ve entered the very crowded Q&A market, dominated by Yahoo Answers. Tinbag’s business model, oddly, is to charge people asking questions and deliver part of the fee to the person answering the question.
This is a model that flat out failed at Google, which pushed their own version of a for-pay Q&A site for 4+ years before finally killing it off late last year (See “Yahoo’s Big Win“).
Tinbag’s approach is only slightly different than Google’s. The idea is to allow experts to set up a site (example) on Tinbag and let people ask questions for a fee. It reminds me of Ether, which allows people to set up a phone number and take calls for a fee, but is purely text based.
There’s nothing at Tinbag that is different enough from Google Answers to suggest that it will be successful. A simple Google search or a trip to Yahoo Answers is all most people need to do for online help. Normally we’d pass on writing about a startup like Tinbag, but I want to point out that if Google failed at a business model after 4 years of trying, there’s a good chance you’ll fail with a look alike service, too.