work is a little unusual.
He gets paid to answer questions about sexual positions, the weather, sports, recipes and virtually anything else you can think of.
Jones, a 21-year-old electrical-engineering major at the
""I needed a job, and I looked around, but with the downturn, things weren't looking too good,"" said Jones, of
He is one of hundreds of
And in this economy, a low-paying job is better than no job at all.
""There's no boss breathing down my back, no rigid schedule to stick to and I can take off whenever I want. Is that not the perfect job?""
, a 34-year-old KGB agent from
Gore has five children, ranging in age from 3 to 15, whom she home schools. She says she prepares lesson plans the night before and works while the kids study.
Gore, who typically works about 30 to 40 hours a week, said her husband's job covers the family's expenses, so she uses the
Calling or texting a question to ChaCha is free, but there are limits to the number of questions you can ask. You can only send questions to KGB via text message and are charged
Many questions have been asked before, so it doesn't take much work for the researchers to verify the answer and send it back. Others require a
People interested in becoming KGB agents take a quiz at KGB.com, and if they pass and are hired, there's training that includes shadowing and simulation. ChaCha is not currently hiring any new ""guides,"" according to the company's Web site.
In an age of iPhones, BlackBerrys and ubiquitous access to information, the existence of these services may seem surprising. But KGB officials said even smart-phone owners use the service.
""When you are sitting at your PC and you have multiple windows open, it's a much more easy experience to navigate in, to search in, to go through multiple windows,"" said
, CEO of mobile and digital for KGB. ""That same dynamic doesn't exist on your mobile phone. And frankly, when we are on our mobile phones, we're doing things, we're busy. If we have a quick question, we'd like a quick and accurate answer.""
The questions range from practical information such as addresses and phone numbers to fun facts that might be used to settle a bar bet.
—Who was the world's tallest man? (
at 8 feet 11 inches, who died in 1940.)
—What is the fastest car in the world? (The SSC Ultimate Aero, which can go 257 mph.).
Other queries seek timeless advice, such as ""How do you get a guy to like you?"" ChaCha's response: ""You've got to show this person how awesome you are, but first you need to know how awesome you are. Build up your self-confidence.""
Jones said the weirdest question he tackled was from someone who wanted to know ""what has"" the largest male sex organ (blue whale).
, a 33-year-old
Stewart, the KGB executive, said that while some of the questions are trivial, others can really help people out of a bind. For instance, someone once asked, ""How do I start my (
It turns out that when the user rented the car, it was already running, but when he turned it off, he didn't know how to start it back up. A KGB agent sent him the information he needed.
HOW TO USE THE SERVICES
—ChaCha: From a mobile phone that can send and receive text messages, call 1-800-2-CHACHA and ask your question, or text it to 242242 (CHACHA). The service is free, but standard text-messaging rates apply and there is a limit to the number of questions you can ask.
—KGB: Text your question to 542542 (KGBKGB). Each answer the service provides costs
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