In for a penny, in for a pound.
The question is did I get a pound’s worth of value from AskWonder.com?
Let me explain how and why I played the AskWonder.com game.
I stumbled on AskWonder.com, which is a research service via a friend who asked whether I had ever used it.
I said I never heard of it but since I’m on the constant quest for more and better content, I placed an order inside 10 minutes. I wanted to see what they could deliver and how much it would cost.
The first order was $59 as a non-member. I figured I routinely spend $120 to $200 per article so dropping $59 on research was worth trying.
Inside 24 hours they delivered their results.
I can’t say I was overly impressed. There wasn’t much research completed. They suggested more research for you guessed it, another $59.
I paid and waited.
The plus side is they’re fast. Within a few hours, they completed round 2. I checked it out and progress was made. But it wasn’t finished. I paid again. At this point, I’ve fallen for the sunk cost fallacy.
But then I remember Fat Stacks and thought “I’ll see this through because no matter the outcome, this will make for a decent Fat Stacks post.”
After a few more rounds, AskWonder.com completed the research. It was good, but it cost a ton.
But this is where the service is wicked smart.
They suggested further research on a related topic that would enhance the project.
Turns out the suggestion was very good. I agreed. I paid another $59.
Then I paid again, again, again… in sum I paid twelve times.
That’s $59 X 12 = $708 USD.
My Experience with AskWonder.com
Is the resulting research good?
Yes, it’s good. But realize they likely Google it. My completed research as far as I could tell by the references that it included any information something other than a website. There were no offline source documents, books or private database sources.
Can I use it on my website?
Yes, I’ll have the article published tomorrow on one of my niche sites.
Is the research I received worth $708?
Remains to be seen. If the article ranks #1 in Google, I’ll make a killing from it because it targets very good keywords with decent commercial viability.
Will I use the service again?
Maybe. I haven’t yet placed another order because it is very expensive. I can’t possibly spend $500+ on research for every article. Besides, the writers I hire do research AND write the article.
IMO, the best way to use this service is for very, very pointed research questions you add to articles (either newly delivered articles or already-published). This way you can use the research to enhance your content instead of it forming the meat and potatoes of it. The more pointed your question, the less it should cost. That said, given it seems they use Google as their research method, you could probably do the same. So too can your writers.
Can writers do the same level of research for content?
Yes, and that’s the main reason I haven’t placed more orders with AskWonder.com. I pay writers $.06 to $.10 per word so requiring in-depth research is expected which means I get the research and a ready-to-publish article for under $200.
Does AskWonder.com write the article?
No, at least not for me. The final version was delivered in a spreadsheet. I didn’t mind the spreadsheet. It made it pretty easy to turn it into an article.
- Fast turnaround. On some days, the turnaround was 2 to 3 hours for each hour of research.
- The research is good and very well referenced.
- Excellent suggestions for further research. This increased the cost considerably, but the suggestions were very good.
- No up-front idea how much it will ultimately cost. The starting cost is $59. In fact, the site makes it look like you’ll get all your research done for $59. This is NOT the case. I have to admit I was disappointed with what was completed after one hour of research (costing me $59). The service could be much improved if they provided some upfront estimate. Maybe they do if you join as a member; I’m not sure. This is my biggest beef.
- No completed article. Fortunately the nature of the topic was such that the spreadsheet provided pretty much all the content except for an intro. However, this won’t always be the case so on top of the research cost, you’d need to pay a writer (or do it yourself).
- Research is conducted via Google. All sources used were other websites which means the research was done via Google. That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s not like they have a private database of data that isn’t public.
- Not terribly efficient. After a few rounds I started paying attention to how much research they completed in one hour. It wasn’t all that much. I could do more.
Should you use it?
If you need heavy-duty research that you don’t think your writers can handle, go for it but be prepared to pay for it. Chances are it’ll cost more than the initial $59 you pay to get started.
2 types of media where AskWonder.com excels:
- Infographic content: I think it could also make for terrific infographic content. Please note they do NOT create the graphics. They only provide the research.
- Tables/Spreadsheets: If you want to add a table of data to an article, AskWonder’s research should do the job nicely.
How to use AskWonder.com efficiently?
I learned a lot with my first go-around. The service is brilliant at suggesting further work which I agreed to. They will not stop making suggestions so be prepared for that.
The best way to keep costs reasonable is to know exactly what you want researched and limit it to those parameters. Just like placing article orders, the more detailed your instructions, the better results you get.
Please note that I used AskWonder.com for research to be used in content published on a niche site. I’m sure there are many other uses for this service and in fact, perhaps better uses.
Learn more at AskWonder.com.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.