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Why people pay for online advice

Asking for help, especially advice, is something many people avoid because they think it makes them look bad. When people are online, however, there's less risk involved because the internet provides a cloak of anonymity that doesn't exist face-to-face.
Asking for advice makes people feel better

Wharton School and Harvard Business School researchers released a report in August of 2014 on this subject. Their study found that people who make the effort to ask for advice are actually perceived to be more competent by the people they ask advice from.

The study discovered this by asking participants to perform a brain-teasing puzzle, and then engage in an anonymous instant messaging communication with a partner. Once their task was finished and they informed their anonymous partner they were done, they received an instant message from their partner that said one of two things: “I hope it went well. Do you have any advice?” Or simply, “I hope it went well.”

Later on, the researchers asked the participants to rate their anonymous partners on their level of competency, and the interesting discovery is that the partners who asked for advice were rated as more competent than the ones who didn’t ask for advice. They also discovered that the more difficult the puzzle was, the more competent the partner who asked for advice was rated.

The study doesn’t stop there. Researchers also found that when participants were asked to rate their own competency after they completed a complex task, the participants who were asked for advice by their anonymous partners rated themselves higher than those who had not been asked for advice.

This important study shows that asking for advice not only makes people appear more confident to others, but it makes them feel more confident about themselves – that’s exactly why you should be offering (and charging for) your expert advice online.

Online advice can provide the anonymity that creates confidence

As silly as it might sound – and although most of us know we don’t have all the answers – sometimes we still have a pesky aversion to seeking advice from others out of fear that we will be seen as less than. In the face-to-face world, this isn’t an easy fear to overcome, but in the online world where just about everything can be done anonymously, it’s much easier.

Examples of online advice regularly being sought

1. Medical advice

People search for medical symptoms all the time in an effort to self-diagnose. While some of the information might be extremely helpful, some of it can be questionable, since identical symptoms can have different causes. When someone without a medical background attempts to self-diagnose, there’s always the possibility that they’ll come across bad advice.

Telemedicine – as an alternative

Even if you’re asking advice from someone you regularly see in person, like your physician, asking questions online can eliminate a great deal of pressure and can be a great alternative to self-diagnosing. Perhaps that’s why more medical providers are giving patients online access to their physicians. If you’re experiencing some mild symptoms and don’t know where to turn, providers are making it easier for you to email your doctor and get a quick response. In this sense, online advice (from your doctor) could save your life.

2. Life advice

If people didn’t want advice on everything under the sun, there would be no Yahoo Answers, Quora, or other similar websites. The problem is these websites allow anyone to answer and you get a mixed bag of responses. That’s why websites like PopExpert exist. They provide a more professional arena for people to get expert advice on just about everything (from real experts).

You can sell your expert advice, too

If you’ve got inside information, life hacks, tips, tricks, or a complete knowledge of something others would find valuable, you can absolutely charge people for sharing it with them. There are a multitude of businesses popping up left and right that charge for advice, and rightfully so.

The truth is, we all have a wide range of experiences and expertise on this planet. Being willing to share your expertise with others isn’t just a way to make money, it’s also a way to help others succeed.

12 May 2017 11:24


About Boris Dzhingarov

Boris Dzhingarov graduated UNWE with a major in marketing. He is the CEO of ESBO ltd brand mentioning agency. He writes for several online sites such as,,, Boris is the founder of and