Help is on the Web

Maybe your car needs a tune-up. Or maybe your tabby cat has kittens on the way. Need advice on what to do? Help on these - and almost any other topic - is on the Web from online advice giver eHow.

But are you ever going to find what you're looking for on a site that offers advice on so many subjects? For that very reason, eHow recently reorganised itself into a channels format that makes navigation easier.

"Originally we had a home page with indexes of all how-tos," says Joe Vause, vice president of business development. "It was pretty extensive, so now we've rolled out 15 channel centres that provide a broader view of what we offer."

The site offers thousands of tips on handling everyday events such as buying a car, fixing a computer, or buying a home if you have bad credit. The site also delves into less-conventional territory, offering advice on how to tell if a co-worker is flirting with you and how to date your spouse. You can now more easily find these bits of advice by surfing the new centres, which include Automotive, Careers and Education, Computers and Home Electronics, and Health.

If you can't find what you're looking for, says Vause, your search is noted by the service, which requests your e-mail address. Someone from eHow will look into the matter and send you an answer to your question.

"We respond to something close to 98 per cent of all inquiries," claims Vause. "Unless someone is asking something completely inappropriate." You won't, for instance, find any bomb making tips on eHow.

What you will find is a set of how-tos with brief step-by-step instructions. Advice tends to run on the vague side, but the service offers tips on just about anything you can think of, from what Vause calls expert peers.

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Paul Heltze

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