RealTime IT News

BTinternet to Offer Questico's Live Answers

[London, ENGLAND] Already popular in the U.S., live answers from experts are being introduced to the users of BTinternet, the U.K. ISP announced this week.

BTinternet has agreed a content deal to integrate Questico.co.uk's live answer information service into its portal. Users will be able to quiz experts about topics including astrology, IT and health, in live one-to-one phone conversations.

"Advice is by far the most sought after resource on the Web today," said Tony Harris, senior vice president of BTopenworld, the division of BT that runs BTinternet.

"By teaming up with Questico, we're able to provide a means to an end for many, and our users will be able to get advice and direction on everything from property surveying to how to cook the perfect summer pudding," said Harris.

Apparently, there are experts on all kinds of subjects who are willing to talk to enquirers and provide the benefit of their wisdom for a relatively small fee.

The service from Questico has experts in astrology, legal, business, health, pets and personal finance. Users pay 65 pence (approx. US $1) per minute, although the first £3 (US $4.25) of calls are free.

Reports from the U.S. say that the live answer sector is now generating significant revenues for some Web sites. By 2005, according to researchers at Datamonitor, the sector will be worth around US $6 billion globally.

"Experts with answers is what the next killer Internet application will provide," said the Datamonitor report.

The success of the industry in the U.K. and elsewhere will clearly depend on its ability to provide accurate answers to the sort of questions people will ask. There is surely a limit to the billions that can be derived from issuing horoscopes or giving instructions for cooking summer puddings.

However, the lure of what Questico UK Managing Director Richard Barker calls "a new revenue stream not reliant upon advertising or shopping" is a powerful one -- and undoubtedly someone will make it work.