Ask the Xpert anything

There's no such thing as a dumb question. Especially not to XpertSite.com, a consumer-oriented service dedicated to providing those ultra-inquisitive Web surfers with real answers from real people. Really.

XpertSite.com launched a preview beta version last month and is gearing up to kick off the real thing at the end of October.

"This couldn't happen without the Internet," says Ramesh Parameswaran, XpertSite.com's co-founder and chief operating officer. "How do you find the right person around the world?"

The service is free, unlike some other advice sites, and contains a selection of 20,000 expert profiles. You also can choose among almost 20 topics covering areas like business, the arts, health, tax and travel.

Expert profiles will include brief biographies, information on how long it takes for them to answer a question, and even user ratings.

"We let the free market decide" whose advice to take, Parameswaran says.

XpertSite.com offers an alternative to endlessly sifting through search engine results. And it's personal, compared to blindly throwing out questions in newsgroups. It's word-of-mouth online.

What do you want to know? Maybe one of the site's featured experts can help you. Want to know what makes a seahorse a horse? Ask Shamu, the animal expert from Sea World. Have a burning mythology question? The Oracle from Bedford, England can give you an answer in 48 hours.

XpertSite.com will remain a free service in general but will also incorporate a more premium-fee-based service in the near future.

"It's almost like we know what the users want," Parameswaran says.

Or maybe that's better left to the Oracle.

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Eileen Smith

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