As a thought leader, you’re likely regarded as an expert in your field by your colleagues and customers. Now Google is giving you a new way to profit from these talents online with a new service called Helpouts.
Still undergoing testing, Helpouts are described as “a new way to connect people who need help with people who can give help, over live video, anytime, anywhere.” Functionally it’s similar to Hangouts, which makes sense considering this service will be integrated into Google+.
Google is currently gathering people with expertise across a variety of topics, including Home & Garden, Computers & Electronics, Health & Counseling, Nutrition & Fitness, Fashion & Beauty, Art & Music, Cooking, and Education. Those interested in creating a Helpout can request more information, but be prepared to provide evidence of qualifications — such as certificates, training, and experience. If you’re offering any medical service, the company will also get a third party to check your certificate or licensure.
Helpouts can require payment (handled through Google Wallet) or be offered for free. Google will take a platform fee of 20 percent for any paid Helpouts, which includes credit card transaction and Wallet fees. You can also profit in other ways, not just monetary. For example, brands that fall into one of the above categories can demonstrate their knowledge within their industry by having one of their community managers or even VPs register to create Helpouts.
Last month, TechCrunch reported that Google had partnered with brands like Sears and Weight Watchers during testing. Although we don’t know exactly what these tests involve, it’s easy to see how a company like Sears could benefit from Helpouts — by offering home improvement and DIY advice. Weight Watchers could also capture its target audience by offering cooking tutorials and quick access to dietitians and other motivational individuals.
Google certainly isn’t the first to build a market around the expertise of consumers and businesses, but its scale could certainly put it ahead of alternatives. Currently there’s no word on when Helpouts will be live, but you can sign up to be notified or express interest in creating your own on its website.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.