Does paying for information make you a sucker?

3:16 AM

 (or, how else valuable information can be reached beyond Google’s search results)

Information is exploding (Help!)

Technology made it easy to produce and publish content. Lots of startups and established companies are looking for solutions to enable effective data consumption. The blast of information caused data search algorithms to integrate context awareness and human characteristics understanding: if you are a male over 20 from London looking for something to do @night,You will probably get different search results from those of a woman in her 40’s looking for the exact same phrase.

This evolution in search algorithms (see Google Hummingbird) should help us get better and faster search results, saving us time while looking for what we are interested in.

And everyone are connected

Let’s take a look at the way information consumption changed in recent years from a different angle: The internet and mobile devices made us available anytime and anywhere, it became a non issue to connect and reach almost anyone in theory. Social networks, reviews services, groups and forums, enabled us to get connected with our friends, family and people with similar interests to ours.

When you think about it, we are social animals who loves to communicate with others and love to be admired and recognized for our skills and the things we do. The success of online social interactions is a living proof that we love to consume firsthand information from experts and people we trust instead of doing our own research using the good old search engine.

And now that almost anyone is connected this option seems to make a lot of sense.

An interesting related fact is a recent research by eMarketer that show how Google loses searches on mobile (especially when it comes to local search) to Yelp which is a review service based on crowd wisdom

Connecting is sharing

The rise of sharing consumption is a great example to the huge influence technology has on global economy. Being able to connect with anyone anytime contributed to the rise of online marketplaces, enabling to trade your belonging and talent with anyone all over the globe.

Here are just a few examples: AirBnB, Lyft, Fiverr, Dribbble, odesk, EatWith.

But what about knowledge and information trading?

Will we be willing to connect with a certain person for advice and pay for it?

wouldnt it be just great to get a customized recommendation for a restaurant directly from the NY Times Restaurants Critics?

Let’s try to remember how we used to get information before Google (Assuming you are over thirty ;) We actually used to BUY encyclopedias and guidebooks and had to invest a lot of time and energy to research and look for information and experts we trust.

Thankfully, today, experts are just a mouse click away from us (or a touch on a screen), enabling us more time to stare at our facebook timeline or talk nonsense with our friends on Whatsapp…

Don't be a sucker

Will you pay for information that can be found for free (by searching with Google)?

I am not a sucker — I am an early adapter ☺

Personally I don’t like to pay for something that is given for free!

However:

The time I have to spend researching.
The notion that I can be connected with someone that might just have the answers I am looking for.
And …. (this one is off the record please) the sad but true fact that I can get pretty lazy when an affordable shortcut is in the reach,
Might just make me consider the payment option as long as:

I will get access to quality, updated & customized information:

Really fast — on demand
Really easy — with just a click
Fair price — that doesn’t costs much
This concept is nothing new, but lately with the rise of sharing economy, even some of the internet behemoth are testing this ground:

1. Google with Google Helpouts

2. Ebay with Ebay Hire

Making this segment even more interesting and something worth exploring.

And how all of this is related to my latest venture?

When you come to think about it, the concept of connecting users with local experts seems to make a lot of sense and it looks like a great tool to use when planning a trip to a new place. The option to connect with locals with similar interests for advice can boost your travel experience and this is exactly what my current venture LocalYoo meant to enable.

Taking trip related decisions based on crowd wisdom is already a proven concept executed by TripAdvisor with great success, but what about a one-on one-connection with locals for tips and advices? this is yet to be proven…

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