Guruza brings IM to expert questioning

Sites that allow users to post questions for other users are growing in popularity and Guruza looks like an especially interactive one. It was created by Rich Collins, Adam Thorsen and friends under the name One Room Software in Palo Alto.

Here’s how it works. You ask a question and set a price you’ll pay for an answer that satisfies you. Users can scan the list of questions, leave their replies and the person who posed the question decides which if any answer they like best. That person receives the financial reward, transactions performed in PayPal. Guruza takes 20% when you cash out with the money you make answering questions.

How do you know people will pay? Each person who poses a question has the number of questions they’ve asked and the number of answers they’ve paid on displayed below their name. How simple is that? It’s an active little community already, with most but not all questions being about software development.

The best part is AIM, GTalk or Jabber IM notification when users you’re watching come online or when some one wants to discuss your question. You get a link to an inline chat sent via your IM client. All the answers and discussions are viewable by users even after the question is closed, so there’s a lot of potential for building a cool public knowledge base here.

The site developers say we should watch for a major design upgrade next week. I think it’s a pretty nice system already.

There are any number of different ways to get a question answered online, but I like this one. If free information is what you’re looking for, it’s hard to beat the sheer mass of brain power at Yahoo Answers. Ask.Metafilter costs five dollars to get in once and you’ll get lots of answers of varying quality. Google Answers has a fifty cent listing fee per question and is tough if you suffer from Google exhaustion. Oyogi is free but rarely used. Qunu requires a jabber compatible IM client.

I like the simplicity and interactive features in Guruza. I also like that it was put together by a couple of guys and their friends. I’ve already put it to use in asking one question and I may continue to do so if it works out well for me.