Nov 1 2010
It happens all the time. The ideas. They pour out of you. You may be in the shower, or on your way to work, or daydreaming in your cube. They come fast and furious: a toaster that doubles as a sundial. A taco truck with a hot tub attached. A fool-proof methodology to outperform the S&P 500 involving lunar cycles, Tiger Woods’ golf scores, and witch hazel.
My point: you have ideas – potentially lucrative ones – and a lot of advice to give. So why not get paid for it?
Introducing Megascopes, a community-led idea sharing site where users post compelling ideas and can get paid for providing answers to questions posed by others.
Megascope’s model is simple: a free platform of where people post their ideas. But don’t be fooled: while in theory it resembles certain “answer” or “idea” sites on the Web. Megascopes adds a twist, and it’s green and it comes in small, delectable bills: you can make money by conveying ideas and knowledge. So with that as a tantalizing introduction, let’s take a spin (and please note: the taco truck hot tub thing has already been trademarked.)
On their home page, I was drawn to their “Ask a Question” and “Post an Idea” boxes at the top. I clicked on the former. Upon registering, I received a confirmation email providing helpful links. Then I went back to the “Ask a Question” page, where I was prompted to provide the question title, additional details, and applicable category (Animal Life, Cars and Vehicles, Health, etc.) Most importantly, I checked the box that would alert me when the question is answered. On the flip side, I also clicked on “Post an Idea.” The layout was almost identical: Title and Category were first and foremost. Then came the interesting part, which necessitates a much-needed detour.
Megascopes is nifty because you can make money by submitting ideas or answering questions. At the same time it’s not a loosey-goosey free-for-all: Megascopes has a system in place to keep people stealing every good idea they see. To prevent this, Megascope’s model is comprised of three elements to a question or idea:
1. Public parts – The question or idea that the visitor sees.
2. Protected parts – This information is the teaser that gets people – the person who seeks an answer to a question, or wants more information on an idea – to pay.
So let’s say there’s a question you want to answer. You’re taken to a page where you enter the public part, and then, upon entering your Paypal information you enter the protected part, the teaser. Megascopes wisely warns, “if you decided to publish the protected part, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that the previous public part does not reveal all key point of your answer. You need to maintain a balance and use the public part to attract attention to your answer.”
Most importantly, the protected part has the price attached to it. The buyer only sees the price, public part and teaser (protected part). If they pay, they get the whole enchilada.
And again, we’re talking more than just answers here: the system is flexible and works for great ideas too (e.g. “As a stunningly successful writer with a vision for a future of taco truck hot tubs, I’m eager to speak more on this idea to someone who can help me make it happen.”) Please note, however if you like you don’t need to charge for your ideas or responses. You can provide both for free.
3. Private parts – If you have something tangible that clarifies your idea or makes it more complete, such as paper documentation, working models, or any such matter, you also can sell it for an additional fee and ship it. As with the protected part, you state the price.
This model is the secret ingredient that differentiates Megascopes from other sites out there. The site is easy to navigate and provides a diverse array of ideas and questions.
Ultimately, Megascopes has cracked the code by providing a collaborative platform that is a goldmine of stimulating, cutting edge thinking for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and creative individuals who wouldn’t mind an extra buck.
Now get out there and start idea-ing!