Using free sites like Google or Quora to search for granular information like homes for rent in Chennai is a lot of like gold panning; you have to sift through tons of ore before you find the nugget you need. And even then, there's no guarantee that the information you've found is accurate and up-to-date. Information is like any other commodity — you get what you pay for.
There's a new paid online information service that provides those answers with a money-back guarantee. Called Mancx, the service enables private individuals to securely buy and sell information. It's an online information agora.
The service is loosely named after Manfred Macx, the protagonist in the sci-fi novel "Accelerando." Macx is a "venture altruist" who brokers information.
It works much like a Priceline for information: buyers ask questions and name the price they are willing to pay for an answer. Queries are matched with five to 10 information sellers with relevant credentials by Mancx's proprietary algorithm and the parties are connected by email for further information exchange and price negotiation.
The Mancx platform manages all elements of the transaction and receives 20 percent of the negotiated fee.
Since its launch in the summer of 2011, Mancx has fielded more than 10,000 questions and has attracted a community of more than 600,000 registered buyers and sellers, Mattias Guilotte, a Mancx founder and the company's CMO, told BusinessNewsDaily. The average question asked carries a $150 price, he said. The highest price posted has been $270.
Mancx's sweet spot is the long tail of information where information can get very specific and very arcane, Guilotte said. The greatest demand for information is for business intelligence such as contact information, organizational information and the competitive market environment, he said.
Mancx handles answers in almost any form, ranging from pictures, sound files and CAD/CAM drawings to Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and everything in between, Guillote said.
There is no cost to post or answer a question. Buyers pay through Visa, MasterCard or PayPal and sellers are reimbursed through PayPal.
Users sign up using their LinkedIn, Facebook or Viadeo accounts, which automatically populates your Mancx profile. Community members can then add additional information, which helps the service better match information buyer and information provider.
Approximately half the registered community is in the U.S., with the majority of the other half coming from Northern Europe, India and China, Guilotte said.
Launched in Sweden, the company has dual headquarters in Stockholm and San Francisco.