Site Review: An Innovative Way To Buy And Sell Solutions Online

There’s a new site called SolutionAuctions.com which smartly allows people with questions to buy solutions and sellers to sell their solutions.  The site is very well designed and easy to use.  One of the main draws for sellers is that you can sell your solutions over and over again, earning a passive income stream for life.  Sounds great!  The real question is, will people go there to pay for answers?

The main thing the site lacks is credibility of the sellers.  It’s one thing to take advice online without having to pay for it.  It’s another thing to actually spend money for advice.  A brief glance shows that solutions are being sold for anywhere between $2 to $10.  That’s not a lot, but it’s $2 to $10 more than what many people will pay thanks to the invention of Google, Bing and other search engines out there.

LURE & DILEMMA

In order for buyers to spend money on the site, they need to see the profiles of the sellers and their credentials.  Here lies the chicken and the egg dilemma.  If you are a seller of solutions and are asking just $2 bucks a pop, perhaps your solution isn’t very unique?  As such, you will have competition from other sellers who will provide “better” solutions at perhaps a lower price.

You really can’t just rest on your solution, as the world is a competitive place.  The only time you will have out-sized gains on your solution is if there aren’t a lot of sellers because not many people go to SolutionAuctions.com.  But, if there isn’t much activity, you won’t be making much anyway!

Also, if you are busy spending time trying to sell something for $2 dollars, maybe you are not the authority you claim to be?  There is a perception out there that the price of something corresponds to the value of something.  Hence, you might want to price at a higher price to increase your perceived solution value.  But then again, given the competitive nature of markets, you will quickly be undercut by your selling rivals.

GOOD POTENTIAL

I agree with Solution Auction’s thesis that everybody is an expert in something, so why not sell it in a market place with buyers?  The trick is to convince people with lots of questions and problems to come to Solution Auction and sell them.  Solution Auction needs some to get some foremost experts in their respective fields to sign on – the expert plumber, auto mechanic, electrician, public policy expert and so forth.  The sellers can’t be any Joe Schmo.

There is a great company out there called The Gerson Lehrman Group, which basically hires true experts in their fields (Professors, Scientists, Consultants, Advisers, etc), and puts these experts in touch with investment groups.  The reason why Gerson Lehrman Group works is because their sellers are at the top of their game, and they charge an incredible amount.  Their network is huge, and as a result they generate a tremendous return.

When people turn to the Internet for advice, their problems are either not too serious, or too embarrassing to ask someone off-line.  Most people generally ask their friends, family, acquaintances, and then Google before going to a site to buy solutions.  Hence, Solution Auctions needs to find some way to convince their answers are better.  Solution Auctions will work if it has enough volume and credibility.  Here’s wishing them the best!

Readers, what do you think?  Will people pay for solutions online?

What are the suggestions and hurdles you can think of for this company?

Regards,

Sam

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. Financial Crisis says

    It’s more like Yahoo Answers but instead of points you get cash. What doesn’t fit is that people which are not accredited to give health advices sell their solutions on different medical conditions which is not good!

    • Financial Samurai says

      Yes, that would be a problem for medical answers! Like the “But, I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night” commercials!

      If you are a Doctor making $100-$1milion a year, would you sell your solutions for $2-$10? Maybe if it was unique, and you could get a reoccurring 1,000 buyers every month why not? Just gotta build the market place, and hope nobody else has the same answer.

  2. Sunil from The Extra Money Blog says

    Yahoo Answers was the first thing that came to mind as I was reading, and FC nailed it indeed. Yahoo can turn pts into cash and drive this baby out if it wanted. I don’t think that will happen because of the inherent challenges this business model has. Wish them well, but not sure how long the concept will be able to sustain itself…

  3. Dave says

    I don’t think people will pay for solutions online simply because they would think that they can get the solution elsewhere for free.

    However, in this cases I wish I am wrong. Good luck.

    • Mark says

      Dave,

      I was thinking the same thing. I would not pay for solutions to a problem unless I thought that the person that I was paying had some level of expertise on the issue.

  4. Andrew says

    I generally like this type of crowd-sourcing and collective intelligence (for a fee). I don’t think it will of much use through for folks who are adept at sifting useful information from the web.

  5. Darwin's Money says

    I often think something’s not going to work, no market for it, can get it free online, etc., and then I’m surprised to see people paying for it. I mean, who would have thought people would pay money for stupid ringtones for their phone and who’d think anyone gives a crap about where they are when they tweet. But these businesses have high enterprise value. So, maybe it will work. Sounds similar to Yahoo Answers, but maybe they can add some new facets to it that yahoo hasn’t.

      • Joey says

        Sam,
        It is funny you mentioned that because we have plans to recruit some professional consultants starting next week who will be offered to advertise their services for free if they if they at least post one canned solution on the site. We can then introduce such high profile sellers on our twitter, facebook etc.

  6. Joey says

    All,

    Thank you for your genuine and valuable inputs. It is fun to read a discussion about the value this concept can offer. I feel passionate about that of course so let me share my 2 cents with you. I happen to have a real hands-on experience with this topic as a regular user of the site:

    It was last year when my hard drive died with lots of valuable files and sensitive data stored in it like social security numbers and bank accounts. At first I called the repair shops and they quoted somewhere between $200 to a $1000 depending on the nature of the damage. So I decided to search the Internet to see if I could learn how to recover the data myself. My background is in Electrical Engineering and I used to own a electronic repair shop for years. I am also a heavy user of the Internet and use it daily to find answers so naturally I was going to give it a shot for that much money. After 3 days of searching I only got more confused because of so much conflicting answers from different postings and forums. One thing everyone agreed on was that I could risk having shop technicians steal my data without even knowing about it until it was too late. So, I decided to set the drive aside and live without my precious date until someone with the username: snthomas came along and posted a solution on our site titled: “199 ways to recover data from a dead hard drive”. The price was only $5 and the seller claimed to be a data forensic recovery expert so of course I had to try it. After sending payment and instantly downloading the solution file I got a .pdf with a list of 199 things to do. I quickly scanned the top 10 items and saw one that looked unusual but rather practical. It said to place the dead drive in a sandwich bag, take the air out and put it in a freezer for 24 hours then take it out and power it up right away! The claim was it would give me about 15 minutes working time to recover my data before dying again. Well…it worked just as described!

    So you see there are times where we all can benefit from this concept. Who would worry about paying $5 to try this in my situation? Unlike free info on the Internet these are canned solutions targeted to solve a very specific problem. Each canned solution comes with a specific title, an estimated-time-saving (ETS) in comparison to searching the net, a distinctive value description in comparison to similar solutions found on the net and the seller’s qualifications. But the best part of it is how each canned solution is backed up by the seller’s reputation and a 100% Money Back Guarantee through the site. In fact when it comes to similar solution sites where just about anyone can post something nobody dares to promise you 100% satisfaction guarantee.

    Did you know:

    – Sellers can easily raise the price as they build more reputation and credibility on the site. (Demand and Supply).

    – The reputation system combined with competition among the sellers will weed out the bad apples and raise the quality of the answers. Common and low quality answers will eventually disappear while the good ones will prevail.

    – Selling copyrighted solutions are not allowed. This means you can protect your solutions from buyers who want to sell them to others. All you need is a little statement in your description that the solution is for personal use only and if buyers abuse that we will handle it right away.

    So let me invite you to try it. Post your problems and see how quickly you can get answers. You set your own price and you dont have to pay the seller until you communicate with him/her first to make sure your expectations are going to be met. If you don’t think the provided answer will meet your expectations you can easily cancel payment and automatically relist your question back into the market.

    Also, next time you spend lots of time finding an answer on the Internet, dont let that time go to waste. Simply save the solution in a ms-word file and post it on our site for a few$$. If it took you a long time to find it then chances are you can save others time and hassle. They will thank you for it.

    My job is to serve you better by growing the size of the community but join me in posting your problems and solutions. We have worked hard to make that process fast and painless for you.

    Let me know what I can do to help

    Warm Wishes

    Joey Liender
    SolutionAuctions, LC
    Founder and CEO
    joey@solutionauctions.com
    801-856-4486

  7. Pam says

    I think this site has potential, especially because of the100% money back guarantee. It takes out the risk for the buyers. I think I would use this site if I really needed an answer and couldn’t find it online. Paying a couple of bucks is no big deal to me if it will save me time.

    I often find online answers unorganized and incomplete. After all, you get what you pay for. I agree with the founder that the 199 ways to recover data solution could be very valuable because of how comprehensive it seems to be.

    I hope this site takes off so I can benefit from it.

  8. Forest says

    Couldn’t agree more Sam…. Nice concept but they are going to have a hell of a time executing it and building a good rep….. If just 10 people buy ba solutions the whole thing could collapse at this early stage.

    I wish them luck too and hope they find a way through.

  9. Little House says

    Sounds a lot like Yahoo Answers; answers to questions from random people. I’d have to agree with your take; for Solution Auction to taken seriously, they’d have to assure that the people answering the questions have some qualifications!

    • Joey says

      @Little House

      Hi Little House,

      You made a good point. That is why every single solution auction page includes a ‘My Expertise’ section where the seller background and qualifications are listed there. On top of that, the seller’s reputation is rated by other buyers and visible to all viewers. Besides, the website is 100% money back guaranteed and the average cost of a solution is about $2.

      Everyone is an expert at something which is why this website brings the people of certification and those of personal knowledge and experience under the same umbrella.

      Do you have any more suggestions on what else can be done to raise the credibility of the site? I would appreciate your valuable input.

      Thanks
      Joey

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