AVC regular and all around fun and smart guy Andy Swan and his brother Landon have built Voomly. Andy came into USV yesterday to tell me and Andy about it. As you would expect, he also brought a signed bottle of Pappy. As JLM would say, it was well played.

Voomly is a service that folks who have expertise can use to build followings and sell subscriptions to newsletters and Q&A services. I joined the service during our meeting yesterday but I chose not to sell any Q&A services at this time. I did pay and subscribe to Andy and JLM on Voomly and have already asked both of them a question and received a reply.

The service is not (yet) a marketplace. It is really just a utility today. But it can certainly become a marketplace over time if this idea takes off.

I can see this being really useful in high value applications like stock trading (a web native GLG?) and betting (a web native tip sheet?). I also think tech support is an interesting category. I am sure there are many others.

Anyway, I like what they have built and think the AVC community ought to know about it. Check Voomly out.


Comments (Archived):

  1. kenberger

    Andy: anything like keen.com?

    1. William Mougayar

      Keen.com goes to a psychic readings site ???

      1. kenberger

        thanks for checking my work!Forgot that they changed the name to http://www.ingenio.com, Or it’s also possible that the whole thing or part indeed morphed into a place for psychics (Om Malik reported this theory at one point).They started in 1999 by Karl Jacob when he was an EIR at Benchmark.

        1. William Mougayar

          Ingenio seems to have a bit of Voomly in it. I have no idea how their traction is.

          1. thinkdisruptive

            Except that the first impression you get when landing at Ingenio is psycho-therapy, counselling, social services. It is positioned to be something different, and not a place where I’d go to offer business or technical services.re: psychics being a sweet spot. It isn’t going to appeal to the same audience, and potential clients who don’t know you will sniff out the same “credibility” attributes. If psychics end up being (and being positioned as) big users of voomly, they will kill it for professional advisors.

          2. Richard Barker

            Aye, for sure, building a psychic readings business isn’t everyone’s HBS dream but it’s where the money is in “expert” exchange. Possibly the only money.Frequency of use/need will be critical for Voomly’s subscription model and psychic users will pay their subs each month come rain or shine if they trust the provider. Not sure the same can be said of professionallevel advice – a typically one-off or infrequent requirement for consumers.

          3. thinkdisruptive

            Not disputing that there is money in psychic readings, only that a) it doesn’t ever make sense for everyone to go after the same market, b) professionals and psychics will not hang out in the same places.I don’t agree about what you say regarding professional advice. There are many things which i should consult my accountant or lawyer for, but don’t because I know I’m going to get a bill for a few hundred dollars, and it doesn’t seem important enough to justify that until I have problems later. At the right price, I would pay a monthly or quarterly fee, both to get the newsletter and to be able to ask those quick questions. In those cases, where I don’t have a lawyer or accountant on staff, it’s like having an insurance policy, and that quick question might lead to a project engagement that’s worth a lot more to both sides.The reason that business professionals and psychics won’t patronize the same services are twofold:a) prospective clients of professionals will be put off by the presence of psychics and other low-end services — it diminishes credibility and trust in the higher end servicesb) their marketing needs are differentSpeaking personally, these things are important to me, so I, for example, would never hang my shingle out in a place that is clearly targeted at and positioned for psychics, or other similar services. On the other hand, I had a close look at voomly, and think it both looks the part and has the right feature set to be useful to professionals (and to attract them).I’d also say that earlier tools may have intended to attract professionals, but whether they lacked the right features or right business model, there wasn’t a market for that 5 years ago. Today, with many business professionals and consultants building sizable followings and a reputation on services like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn, Disqus, Twylah, etc, there is both an opportunity and a need to turn those efforts into revenue-producing activity. I think that Andy is hitting the market at exactly the right time.

          4. JLM

            .Why do psychics and economics profs live in such shitty houses?.

          5. thinkdisruptive

            Because they are selling the same thing?

          6. kidmercury

            not all live in shitty houses; if they’re good at what they do, they can make money in the market. but there is still the issue that making money in the market requires a capital base to start. so the process can be slow if one is starting with a small base.

          7. LE

            “money in the market requires a capital base to start.”Agree.And at least if you are another type professional (not investment advisor) you get to meet potentially high end net worth people that you can do deals with or will cut you into deals. So an attorney can team up with a real estate investor and invest in real estate (his investment paid partly by legal work so he picks up a client as well) and the client could have been his on a prior deal. So he’s got the network. For an investment professional there would certainly be more of a conflict. Same reason you aren’t going to do a business deal with your therapist.

          8. Wavelengths

            I had a neighbor who was a psychic of some renown. As I heard it, she did a big consulting job, collected the check, and went to Europe on vacation.The check bounced.How come she didn’t expect that? 🙂

          9. Richard Barker

            As long as Voomly creates distinct vertical channels andoptimises itself properly there’s no reason why JLM’s customers and Gypsy Rose Lee’s customers can’t share the same marketplace without bumping into each other in the hallways.Once engaged with an expert presumably there’s no reason forthe customer to go back through the Voomly site so they ought to be able to keep the brand fairly category agnostic.A moderately (medium…!) successful astro category could give Voomlythe runway to discover which of the other categories work.

          10. JLM

            .I would have absolutely no interest in being involved with a site that was offering psychic readings.Except as a client?.

          11. thinkdisruptive

            Likewise. And, that’s exactly the point.

          12. thinkdisruptive

            Andy has already said above that discovery, and leads that they create for you are part of the plan. In that scenario, experts and sex chat do not co-exist. Whether in the real or virtual worlds, they don’t both set up shop in the Chrysler building.Isn’t just about where their customers look for them, although that’s a big part of it, but their needs to service their customers are different as well. The features and organization needed for each are different applications.

          13. Alex Shartsis

            Ingenio was acquired by AT&T interactive for a princely sum in 2007. It turned out to be a pretty massive business – psychics, phone chat, etc. – but not a respectable one. Apparently AT&T was able to hold its nose to take the cash flow.There are worse outcomes.

          14. thinkdisruptive

            As noted earlier, I understand that there is a business for psychics. It isn’t the same as the business for professionals, and it isn’t the same place that I would choose to inhabit. AT&T has been grubbing around in the pig trough for years, selling your data to every scummy telemarketer, fraudulent call back scheme and autocharge callers, so it doesn’t surprise me at all — psychics are almost good clean fun in comparison.

          15. LE

            “prospective clients of professionals will be put off by the presence of psychics and other low-end services — it diminishes credibility and trust in the higher end services”Agree. And that’s the one thing that many marketplaces fail to see in taking any and all comers. The neighborhood matters.

      2. kenberger

        just refreshed my memory a bit more: keen did set about to be an ebay of advice givers vs seekers, and in the end did wind up finding an unexpected sweet spot with the market for psychics. http://www.teleteria.net/pu…Goes to show that often times you’ll have no idea where your product/service will find its niche.Another good example is redbeacon.com They had some great technology, weren’t sure who would use it best. Wound up finding a niche in the market for home contractors and masseuses to match with individual clients in San Francisco. And that niche was big enough that Home Depot bought them. I’m sure they never expected that this would be their eventual exit.

    2. Richard Barker

      I was involved with a competitor to Keen.com back in 2000+. Like Keen we invested (massively) in all the categories you’d think might work in a marketplace for experts including stocks, sports betting, tech support et al. The only thing that worked was astrology and tarot – the rest were a complete wash out.Andy, I suggest you seriously look at the astro market as a potential breakout category.

  2. Avi Deitcher

    Bite-sized consulting tips? How does it scale for the advisors?

    1. andyswan

      Scales well. Three reasons:Can blast to all subscribers anytime, or schedule for future time/date.Can set up auto sequence: Send Lesson 1 on day 3 of subscription, lesson 2 on day 10, etc.All Q&A handled through normal email inbox….we act as gatekeeper pass through but everything ends up exactly where you want to deal with it…. in gmail and on your iphone.

      1. Avi Deitcher

        So Andy, you get 100 subscribers, each of whom is in a startup. That’s $3k in fees for you (minus Voomly’s take), with each of them sending you 1 question every 2 days. Your month starts getting pretty full, and you have $3k a month. How do you scale?

        1. andyswan

          My experience as seller with close to that number is that it’s no problem and potential sellers completely overestimate the burden. My ratio so far is 1 email per 10 subscribers per WEEK.Obviously, when we start talking about guys with 2500 subscribers there will be scale problems, to which I reply “either don’t over-promise on the Q&A or raise your price and get less subscribers.”Summary: Only promise what you can deliver and use price to influence demand.

          1. Avi Deitcher

            Good point. Clearing price.How do you find people are using it? Are they signing up and then building rep? Or are they using it to monetize existing rep?

          2. Avi Deitcher

            Also, is there a search engine / browse? I would like to see what people are there now.

          3. andyswan

            Existing rep right now

          4. Fernando Gutierrez

            In the future you could also provide some tools to make it easier to deal with a lot of subscribers. I’m thinking on a shared inbox with assignment rules so teams/companies can work jointly, a tool to manage template emails… it may get less personal, but maybe in some cases that would not be a problem.

        2. lindsaycampbell

          One thing I love about Voomly is that it’s a play for the little guy as much as the big guy. 3K may not be much to big baller Andy but it’s a life-changing amount to some. It’s not passive income but it’s a hell of a lot more passive than a 9-5 + a commute.

          1. Avi Deitcher

            I wasn’t belittling 3K. I’ll take an extra 3K/month, too, thanks.But if you are spending full-time (100+ customers) to get 3K/month, that can be a different story. Pricing solves that, as Andy said.What I am struggling with is the marketing. I know how to market and sell myself as an $x per month retainer consultant to a few select firms, done it for 7+ years now after a decade and change inside those companies. And when I am approached with a question that doesn’t fit that model (i.e. not worth the time / enough revenue), it ends up becoming a freebie. What I don’t know is how to market myself in the context of lots of individual users at a few $tens / month.BTW, very impressed, Michael Branch reached out to me after I signed up to see my interest, how I would use it, etc.

          2. LE

            “3K may not be much to big baller”Yeah there’s an interesting paradox there.Take any “big baller” and ask them if you can pay them $20 to drive out and pick you up dinner. They will of course say no. As even a little baller would. But the same “big baller” or little baller will take three times as much of their time to save $20. This of course isn’t limited to “big ballers” because just about everyone is like this.In a sense a service like voomly in the day and age of the internet is just a way to trade some of your money to save time. Time that it would take you by a free method to learn, find, or be helped with the same thing you can get from a voomler.By the way @andyswan:disqus you should get that “voomler.com” and “voomeler.com” as well. And for that matter voomely.com and voomli.com (that’s taken you’d have to buy it from the owner).

          3. mgalpert

            this is what excites me most about voomly

        3. Aaron Klein

          I’m looking forward to Voomly offering a way to limit Q&A.I’d like to do a serialized series on topic X, and then accept one question a week from each sub (limited to 500 characters so subscribers can’t write me books).And I agree with Andy. In practice, subscribers are going to passively read premium content and a small % are going to actually use the Q&A part, but it’s the Q&A possibility that sells.CC @andyswan:disqus

          1. Avi Deitcher

            OK, so again I ask, how do you market it? Most advisory services are custom-molded to each customer. Or does this model only work if you are a writer with a large following, i.e. already in the large customers space, and want to monetize some of it?

  3. William Mougayar

    Congrats Andy. It does look promising and simple enough that any one can start something.Can it be used for non-recurring services, eg I’m offering this for 3 months only?What dispute resolution process do you have under way if the subscriber isn’t happy or the provider stops delivering? (It strikes me scaling might be challenging. What if you or JLM received 1,000 emails per day. Can you respond?Will there be a directory or discovery piece where I can search & discover what’s available?Have you thought about a widget that the provider places on their site to promote their service?Almost to the day, Engagio made its debut in a similar way on AVC, so I see the déjà vu potential :)All the best with Voomly!

    1. awaldstein

      Anything that is tied to a transaction gateway speaks to the pain and the opportunity for someone to crack the online transaction bottleneck.Andy can chime in but I bet there are issues with whatever the gateway underneath this is to do per event.I personally just built a store on Shopfy (www.lulitonix,com). Great service, Gateway restrictions were a nightmare building a shopping cart.Adding paid for events to theLocalSip and using Stripe probably. Better, still will be issues.This is a huge disruptor to crack the gateway issues.

    2. andyswan

      Thanks William!Non-recurring is coming soon. We’ll probably go one-time, monthly, annual as next step.Disputes go through us and we are fair. Right now it’s not an issue because we’re not providing a marketplace….people are truly going out to their own existing audience and putting their own reputation on the line. As for the burden on seller….let me just say I’ve been shocked at how low it is… my subscribers are EXTREMELY thoughtful and ask great questions relatively rarely.Discovery/marketplace is on roadmap…just starting with “to your audience” until we’ve got mass & squashed 99.7% of bugs (we’re probably at 94% now)Yes on widget… love it.Thanks man.

  4. awaldstein

    I’ve been doing monthly fee based office hours as a ‘lite’ consulting offer in the city now for a few months.It’s on the plan to put it up on Voomly soon shortly. I like the idea and will give it a shot.

    1. andyswan

      Can’t wait

  5. John Best

    I’m certainly going to have a look at this. The day job sells itself on the basis of the quality of its tech support. It has created web tools for internal and partner use which generate a lot of external requests to use, which are always denied (usually on the basis that they’re unofficial, and not of sufficient quality to sell). I wonder if Voomly could be used to create a separate value-add Q&A for partners, or even sell on subscription based expertise direct to non customers.I like the concept anyway. Leveraging reputation and quality of knowledge could scale really well as a marketplace.

    1. andyswan

      We have a lot of people using Voomly as add-on, secondary revenue stream to existing client relationships. Example: Fitness bootcamp instructor upsells access to Q&A for diet/exercise

  6. John Revay

    HUMMI have been visiting Andy’s site over the last month or so…Not sure if I have all of my facts correct….It seems like Andy launched this a few months ago on his site – special access to ask him questions, plus I think he has access to a special news letter w/ a subscription.When he first launched – he had a special < $10, and then it went up to the $25/month point.His tumblr site is worth scanning ( http://andyswan.com )- very Motivational and easy on the eyes.#WIN

  7. maxniederhofer

    Have always liked the idea of a more general GLG. Funnily enough in mainstream this has always ended up going from a general “ask the expert” service towards horoscope/psychics (see keen.com as cited elsewhere).The product as it stands needs a better prompt/call to action. Being asked to set a price when I’m not even sure what it is I’m selling in the sign-up flow is a little odd. I am not sure I buy this as a subscription model in the beginning – perhaps better to have the option of a one-off in the beginning to get a taste. Finally, this may be better as a vertical play (legal/accounting, product/marketing, DIY/repairs, … hmmm).

    1. andyswan

      Agree on almost all points —we’re going there– and thank you for keen feedback

    2. Susan Rubinsky

      The idea of one-offs in very compelling. it allows buyers to give it a try without committing to a subscription.

  8. falicon

    Awesome job by Andy and team! Looking forward to watching it develop into a true marketplace – the potential for magic is def. there!

  9. andyswan

    Wow thanks Fred I didn’t see this coming. Love having the early and smart eyes of AVC on our product.I will use this opportunity to highlight some interesting use-cases of Voomly:Apple product tips, tricks and online help: http://www.voomly.com/juddf…Real time trade alerts: https://www.voomly.com/bust…25-year federal prisoner turned motivator and winner: https://www.voomly.com/mich…I’ll let some of our most prolific AVCers leave their own links in comments if they choose…As many of you know, I’m extremely passionate about helping individuals win. I would LOVE to help you setup, create, & promote your product.Travelling much of today & and we are a “go to market before perfect” group… so please comment here on the things you love about Voomly… and email me andy at andyswan dot com anything you don’t like :)Win.

    1. andyswan

      Common questions:Yes can start one with price point of free.Yes can have all earnings sent to charity.Our only fee is % of transactions– 10% if you bring buyer to you, 30% if we bring buyer to you (future state)Recurring options (one-time, annual) are coming.Text & voice messaging are built but not deployed… we’ll see what demand is like.Marketplace/discovery when we have mass of proven people we’re comfortable promoting.

      1. Wavelengths

        % of transactions: An entrepreneur friend of mine called that “dipping the cup in the stream.Seems like a win-win.

        1. andyswan

          “We don’t make a dime until you make a dollar” 🙂

    2. aarondelcohen

      Andy one of these businesses just has to make it. great to see a fresh perspective. seems more interesting and structured than quora. I can’t remember what happened to keen. But anyway very cool. congrats

    3. Charlie Crystle

      nicely done…signed up when you announced it…still playing with it

    4. takingpitches

      “I’m extremely passionate about helping individuals win.”Word

    5. Gordon Bowman

      I really like this Andy. Have you thought about about adding a “discover” tab to highlight these use cases? I think users would love to browse (to both subscribe and get ideas for their own) but it’s not clear how to do that at first.

      1. andyswan

        Yes coming…

    6. leigh

      Congrats Andy. As close as you will ever come to giving birth! Keep us up to date with progress 🙂

    7. Mark Essel

      I gotta check this out, so it’s a variation of Quora/Twitter with a focus on personal paid for support and answers?The types of questions I need answers too are usually only found in obscure IRC channels with generous experts sharing their knowledge – after stackoverflow and Google fail to deliver. It’s common that I don’t know an expert in the particular arcane technical matter I’m researching a rapid resolution for.I’ve never been shy of asking, it’s hard wired into my boundless curiosity, but I’m open to the idea of paying for the right attention and knowledge at an essential moment. Discovering trusted/reliable sources is going to be critical to Voomly’s success.Didn’t Chris Dixon get wild about a free site like this a while back, formspring.me? Assume the paid service factor makes this an entirely different feel.

  10. Laurent Boncenne

    Congrats Andy, This looks very promising!Forgive my ignorance though, what is GLG exactly?

    1. fredwilson

      Gerson Lehrman Group. An “expert network” for institutional investors

      1. takingpitches

        And more recently — along with other expert networks — the unwilling, perhaps conduits for a whole number of insider trading cases…

      2. Laurent Boncenne

        Thanks, I’ve found a few possible candidates for the GLG acronym and wasn’t sure which one you guys were talking about…

    2. kenberger

      GLG and their breakout rival Vista Research both made absolute killings. They had very different business models than what we’re discussing here. They did not at first seem scalable/venturable at all, and were perceived as too high-touch and services-oriented (rather than really being an ebay-like website).But they managed to (barely) make it through huge regulatory hurdles and successfully dominated a formidable hedge fund client base. (I was 1 of their “experts for hire”, and did some due diligence on 1 of them.)

      1. ShanaC

        isn’t the whole model about to go kablooy though

        1. kenberger

          this is a VC blog, and we’re talking company formation through exit. Both companies had nice exits, no idea about their futures.

      2. JLM

        .Of course, the downside to “expert networks” is the jail time?Once you get into public securities, the game is very, very, very dangerous.Rightfully so..

        1. kenberger

          I can vouch they went exhaustively out of their way to coach people to be in compliance. Almost annoyingly so.

          1. JLM

            .The problem with “tipping” is like the challenge of promiscuous safe sex.Sometimes it is too late to be effective..

          2. pointsnfigures

            The do a good job of making sure you aren’t giving out inside information. For example I consult on CFTC regulation, exchange structure etc-but haven’t been on the inside since 2001. So it’s an educated opinion. If they use my knowledge, it’s buyer beware.

  11. Tom Labus

    NIce shot, Andy. Go for it!!There is an issue when you try to log in via twitter.

  12. Matt A. Myers

    Hi @andyswan:disqus 🙂 Curious about the origin of the name Voomly?

    1. Aaron Klein

      I think Win.ly was taken.

      1. Charlie Crystle

        and Rand.ly 🙂

        1. Aaron Klein


        2. karen_e

          HIGH-larious comment, Charlie! Good luck, Andy!

        3. Donna Brewington White


      2. Matt A. Myers

        Hehe. So was pappy.com

    2. andyswan

      Some loved it, some hated it, but everyone remembered it the next day.So we took it.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Good test.

      2. LE

        Sounds like what happens when a man

      3. JamesHRH

        Good rationale.

  13. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Anything that is published on a tip sheet for betting is not worth listening to and better not to listen to.Case 1) – It is wrong or unfounded – Betting on this tip is stupid – paying for the tip and not betting is stupid, paying for the tip and betting is most stupid. The tipper is a crook.Case 2) – It is correct.The tipper has either priced his knowledge or not – If not the information value is arbitraged very rapidly by the market (the prices shift to absorb the unarbitrated value as people buy and hence consume value). If you do not know the price history and the price at which the tip was passed you cannot recognise this factor and should not bet.However the first to receive the tip might benefit (but the provider was this person and was free to bet). In so far as the insider leaves the tip unfinanced it is of potential initial value but he is stupid (or wise enough not to bet on his meaningless information) If he puts his money where his mouth is so long as there is value in the tip. The tip is worthless once it is passed,Conclusion – Under no situation should you ever act on an insider tip unless the insider is blocked from backing his position. In this second case he is blocked by law or lack of finances. If lack of finances his value is questionable. If not lack of finances he is a criminal.TL;DR – Acting on an insider tip is generally and exhaustively either stupid, immoral or both.

    1. JLM

      .On sports betting what you do get from tip sheets is a broad discussion from someone who is following the nitty gritty basics.It helps organize and inform your own logic and thinking.In the beginning of any college sports season before everyone really knows who is going to be good, you can find some unbelievable bets out there.As the season winds down and the cream makes its inevitable journey to the top, the opportunities are less obvious.Of course, Alabama beat Notre Dame like a rented mule and those who knew the SEC knew it was going to happen.Long Alabama put you deliriously in the chips..

      1. pointsnfigures

        the reason Bama won is they play real football and date real women.

        1. JLM

          .They do not date “real” women, they date EXTRAORDINARY Southern Belles who move to wherever their QB lives in accordance with the rules of primogeniture and Southern football excellence.The recruiting advantage created by being able to deliver Miss Alabama for your QB when he wins a National Championship will gain more than a bit of traction in my view.BTW, did you know that Miss Alabama originally competed for Miss Georgia? Showing that she is both smart and lovely. She understood her market. And her marketing.There is just so much love in this story that I can’t stand it.[Do not tell anyone else that this is how the South works.].

          1. PhilipSugar

            T’eo was not missing tackles he was hugging his girlfriend. Shameless stolen joke

          2. JLM

            .Hey, wasn’t that some weird stuff?.

    2. andyswan

      This is fantastically incorrect.It completely ignores liquidity of the underlying (HUGE issue) and educational value of the process. I can teach ANYONE to be a decent stock trader or horse handicapper by exposing them to my picks and the thought process behind them….and with zero or near-zero impact on pricing of position.

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        So on the one hand we have the fantastically gifted AndySwanAnd on the other wikipedia – re Ponzi”The promoter sells shares to investors by taking advantage of a lack of investor knowledge or competence, or using claims of a proprietary investment strategy which must be kept secret to ensure a competitive edge.”So Andy seeks to promote a system designed to enable this process for money. Indeed he claims material knowledge of such a process himself…So Andy whatever basis you choose your “picks” ANYONE who claims to be able to teach ANYONE a “thought process” for stock picking that is of general value is by definition making claims of “a proprietary investment strategy” with no underlying credibility.So I must concur with the SEC”With little or no legitimate earnings, the schemes require a consistent flow of money from new investors to continue. Ponzi schemes tend to collapse when it becomes difficult to recruit new investors or when a large number of investors ask to cash out.”My advice – don’t buy into anything you don’t understand. If however, it transpires that Mr Swan can elucidate a strategy that he maintains he can give to anyone to beat market fundamentals without effecting market price materially – then I wish him well he will have outplayed Bunker Hunt and many of his ilk before him. In fact he can defy the laws of Supply and demand – Indeed- He can corner the world market in all things of value.However, if not – he can stick to making unverifiable claims that fly in the face of common sense. To which I will continue to call BS when I see it !

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Good luck with the SEC if you enable the sale of stock tips !!!

          2. JLM

            .Having actually run a public company and having to deal with the specter of “material non-public information” I must agree completely with you.Life is way too short to be peddling information which is even a distant relative of “tipping”.The huge exception is the world of financial analysts who do this professionally for a living and engage in detailed analysis based on public information in the ordinary course of business.Whether they publish it or not is not really the issue. The best stuff, of course, is not publicly published but is touted and peddled like a betting tip sheet.Where once upon a time they could develop “inside sources” which implied they had some superior information which was not generally available to the public at large, this is now completely verboten.The overarching umbrella of Reg FD is both a hindrance and a help.The advent of the Internet and CEOs writing blogs is beyond the ability of the SEC to embrace, comprehend and regulate. They are still stuck back with the fax machines.There may still be some inefficiencies to mine on that front but I would not want to stick my neck out there.The SEC cannot get the JOBS Act rules out of the oven, so they have other cakes to attend to..

          3. kidmercury

            there are countless people selling stock research, complete with buy/sell signals, on the web. the SEC doesn’t come hounding them all down (at least not yet, though with the pace we’re on i wouldn’t find it surprising). i just setup a page on voomly to sell my investment ideas, among other things: https://voomly.com/globalmacro

          4. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            I think there is a huge difference behind three areas here -Non-real time technical analysis (which implies algorithmic trading and is very slow relative to automatic trading is increasingly discreditedfor this reason)Fundamental analysis (accessing and interpreting public data is valuable work and can make money) and is the basis of legitimate reports etc (including recommendations) but the value judgement of the purchaser is required – so its OK. – I think this is what you are talking about, and agree fully legit.Finally selling trading tips without fundamental reasoning (h looks indistinguishable from insider trading) and so is very questionable.I’m pretty sure the SEC have worked this out.All I’m saying is that if you enable this without careful controls, you will hurt innocent parties and it will end in tars if it succeeds!

          5. PhilipSugar

            I am too stupid to get this inside joke..

          6. LE

            Phil – Might be the remediation of all that lead based paint in the old house.

      2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        Andy – you should not take my position as opposing Voomly – it does not (and I wish you luck with Voomly – it looks pretty cool).However promoting that you can support betting tips or stock tips and even claiming to be able to offer these yourself is seriously dangerous ground.I simply suggest you check your vulnerabilities – Heck even Shark Tank have to publish a warning that they are not stock tipping – and that’s stupid!

      3. PhilipSugar

        Working in the horse racing and sports book business I agree with you 100%.Getting an individual tip for one event = giving a man a fishTeaching somebody how to fish….totally different.

  14. thinkdisruptive

    @andyswan:disqus Congratulations — this looks like a brilliant service, and very well-designed. I see your comments to others about the q+a not presenting a burden, but there is always the squeaky wheel that demands more grease (the one in 50 who sends 5 questions a day). Do you envision a way of metering services (hourly, daily) such that people that want more can get more and the seller is fairly compensated? I can see disputes arising (admittedly rarely) where some buyers want more than the seller can reasonably offer. Maybe there is a natural threshold where someone needs more attention and converts to a retainer client with a deeper relationship — I’ve often thought about having a starter service, where people could gain access to time or services at low cost/risk as a way of deciding whether they want/need more. Curious what you think of this, and how you’d see that kind of upsell happening (especially since it appears that the buyer and seller aren’t known to each other).

    1. Fred Hutchison

      Andy, I’m curious about this, too…

  15. Aaron Klein

    As I’ve told Andy before, the thing I love about Voomly is that everybody is good at something. I’ve got a few ideas I’m thinking of using for my own Voomly product. And it’s even easier to think of people around this community.Arnold for example – I’d love to see a Voomly with one awesome actionable idea every week for building community around your business.But even outside of business…my wife is probably going to sign up. She’s really passionate about party planning, even thought about starting a business around it. A Voomly product to share her expertise would be a great foundation.I’m pretty long on this Swan. Nice win!

    1. fredwilson

      “everyone is good at something”i totally agree.that’s also the premise behind skillshare

      1. andyswan

        Maybe we should also have a “Costanza section”… Listing of people who you should do exactly the opposite of…

        1. Modernist

          everyone is bad at something too, no reason not to embrace this for the betterment of societyfor example http://www.sec.gov/Archives…imagine if we could graph all of the “dumb money” into one big brain to take the other side of

          1. pointsnfigures

            Or just list all the Goldman customers.

          2. Modernist

            the holy grail. i’ll bet we could reverse-engineer patterns in stocks to infer exactly how to short Goldman. the problem with quants is they were trained inside finance and lack the outsider instinct to disrupt it.

        2. Dasher

          Ha ha. Or Cosmo Kramer section – How to totally screw up something but totally passionate about it 🙂

          1. Guest

            @4771033d988f1c992e5032b9c46cc0bf:disqus But I’d be interested how to enter a room in a different a thousand different ways. Kramer could teach me that. Everyone is good at something 🙂

          2. AndrewsProject

            Dahser Re: Kramer, I’d be interested to know how he manages to enter a room in a thousand different ways. Everyone is good at something 🙂

        3. Dave Pinsen

          You should sign me up for that. I think you’ve done the opposite of all the suggestions I made last year when you asked for feedback on Voomly — and it seems to be working out pretty well for you.

      2. howardlindzon

        ‘special purpose’

        1. falicon

          Wait…isn’t that only for when you hook up with a daredevil biker?

    2. takingpitches

      “everyone is good at something”Yes! So many great platforms for folks out there to find out what that is and nurture it: blogging, etsy, Youtube, kickstarter, kaggle, sidetour, and on and on.In a word, networks. I think Voomly fits in there.That is, tools that continue to move away from the world in which used to live in where non-networked institutions have the ability (on top of their continuing incentive) to thwart the supply of individual talent to generate market power for themselves.Talent elevation and opportunity platforms!

      1. Aaron Klein

        Well said.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        I read kaggle as kegel every time without fail.

        1. Wavelengths

          Wait! What do YOU know about it!

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Kaggle? No idea. Kegels – when engaging mula banda (pelvic floor) during asanas (yoga postures), kegels is one of the muscle (groups?) that is referring to the vaginal muscles in women, and the muscles attached to the scrotum in men (?I don’t think I am describing that properly?); Apparently kegel muscle exercises are good to help with premature ejaculation – did a bit more research to understand it all better… I plan to talk about all of this when I start teaching yoga. 😛 Using words like vagina and scrotum in class gets everyone’s attention and sometimes some giggles. All fun!

    3. Fernando Gutierrez

      Everyone is good at something, but not everyone has an audience. The marketplace @andyswan:disqus talks about for the future is needed to tap those hidden knowledge sources.

      1. Aaron Klein

        Absolutely agree. I have a feeling the Voomly marketplace is going to be killer.

        1. LE

          As I said when I first heard of this idea (when Andy mentioned on AVC) if Andy doesn’t pull this off it is he that sucks because the idea doesn’t.

          1. Aaron Klein


          2. LE

            While I am trying to be funny there is also a message in there from my experience.People tend to slack off when they think something is in the can (and of course I’m not implying Andy would I don’t know him other than what I see on AVC.) When they know on the other hand they have a battle on their hands they are on high alert. So my feeling is that you always have to be in that state. I’m not a sports fan (as I’ve mentioned numerous times) but always note how some games are “more important” and somehow are taken more seriously. Isn’t every game important? Look at how Obama slacked off in the first debate until failure and what that almost cost him?I had a situation a few years ago where a legal matter that I was involved with my attorney seemed to think that the case wasn’t difficult and that we should win (how many times do you hear an attorney say that!?).I told him to stop thinking that way and to put in all the effort as if it was a difficult case. It bothered me that he thought the case wasn’t difficult.The other side of the transaction was a pretty big company. I’m sure they felt they could easily squash this and they had hired a pretty good law firm as well. They perceived us as small and in fact we were small. So they didn’t try as hard and they made a big mistake.While I relied on the attorney legally I spent countless hours of my own time (as any entrepreneur should) making sure that no stone was left unturned. And constantly giving ideas to the attorney as far as things we should be doing. It was actually quite upsetting when he agreed so much I thought “why isn’t he thinking of this stuff what if I hadn’t said anything”.Obviously we won the case and I’m sure the other side was completely blindsided. Because they underestimated the opposing party and thought they had it “in the can”.Now someone might say “well your attorney said it was easy so he is right”. And that could be true. [1] But it didn’t take me anymore other than time to insure the highest level of success. Something the other side should have done or they shouldn’t have pursued the action.[1] It wasn’t true though because in understanding the enemy (the first step in any battle) I also understood what they could do to win and they didn’t do it.

          3. Wavelengths

            Bravo!!!! I hate when, in some relatively simple conversation, someone tells me they are going to ask their attorney for an opinion. Attorneys are tools. Some are “straight-edge screwdrivers,” some are “phillips-head,” some are “torx.” Some are a drill with no bits!Anyone who hires an attorney should expect to be doing legwork — even great attorneys can’t be experts at everything, and those of us in the trenches know more about the details of the contest than others.For anyone who can stomach the raw theatre of the show, I recommend “Spartacus.” Intrigue, deceit, audacity … business!

          4. Wavelengths

            I think my first question is about quality control.Who is the expert? When I was traveling in third-world countries, I used Lonely Plant and Moon publications. I liked Moon better because the comments were more down-to-earth and honest. If I totally disagreed with the writer, I at least had better info than from the “diplomatic” Lonely Planet. For example …

    4. Donna Brewington White

      One of my clients once created a new game built on the premise that everyone should have a moment to shine — and this was also part of the company culture. Game was a huge hit.As I read the things Andy is saying about Voomly here and elsewhere, I’m hearing something similar. He and @FakeGrimlock:disqus should co-brand: Be awesome. Win..

      1. Aaron Klein

        Love that! 😉

  16. Kirsten Lambertsen

    As someone who has used JustAnswer.com two or three times (with great results), I like what you’re doing a lot.I do think one-off will be important to getting usage. I think it’s more of a match with how the need for this kind of thing works. A problem is not the same as otaku. Subscriptions are for otaku, I think.Because I’m roughly at the same stage with a product, I’m curious what your distribution strategy is (the million dollar question)? Although, maybe you don’t want to air that here :)I couldn’t help but think of Smarterer as a great integration for you…What was your initial inspiration for Voomly? And where did the name come from?

    1. andyswan

      I agree with you more than you agree with yourself on the one-offs.The inspiration is from personal experience. I simply love talking to people and helping them figure out how to monetize what they’re great at. I literally never get tired of it. That’s the core of the business. Voomly.com is the first technical output of that passion.

  17. awaldstein

    Love the name Andy?Want to share the backstory about how you came up with it?

  18. Brandon Burns

    Congrats on the progress, Andy. Many kudos.

  19. David A. Frankel

    Interesting. Not to be a naysayer, but I would strongly caution the founders to stay away from positioning Voomly as a resource in highly regulated markets like stock trading. Building an infrastructure to meet compliance requirements to shield from Reg FD scrutiny would kill them. That is the biggest problem with the expert network business.This seems to be a crowded space, but no one has gotten significant traction because they haven’t had focus. Great opportunity if Voomly can create an intuitive use experience & simple pay model for service provider and consumer.

  20. Dave Goldberg

    OK, I’m giving it a shot. I set up a Voomly page here https://voomly.com/dave. I am focusing on APIs, from strategy to implementation.Andy, I have a couple of questions for you:1) I set my pricing at $25/month but honestly, I have no idea what is appropriate. I read your pricing guide, but didn’t get a great sense of how to charge. Initially I’m thinking this will be straight Q&A. I’m happy to take any feedback at all on it.2) Can I change my URL? I went with voomly.com/dave but I think something more descriptive may be better.This is a cool idea and I’m looking forward to testing it out!

    1. andyswan

      1) It is trial and error. I started at $9 and moved to $29 based on demand. There’s no right answer other than figuring out what people will pay, unfortunately.2) Michael will contact you about the URL….it’s not something we support online for various tech reasons but can do manually.Thanks Dave….I will do all I can to help make this a success for you and I’m excited to have you on board.

      1. JamesHRH

        I think there is a right answer.

        1. thinkdisruptive

          I think it depends ona) what you’re offering (product)b) how many followers you have that are clamoring for assistance and how many questions/month they’re likely to ask (demand)c) how much time you have to sell (supply)d) how well known you are and how valued your advice is (quality and reputation)I suspect most small consultancies/experts should price at around $29. But $49, $99, $149 and $199 could also be good price points depending on the answers to the above. You’d have to be God to charge more than $199/month. e.g. Seth Godin would probably get enough takers at the high end to stay fully occupied giving advice, but most of us, me included, should think much lower.

          1. JamesHRH

            Seth Godin is actually the source of the answer.3 tiers of adoption (# of clients); 3 tiers of reputation (known, high profile experience, God0 = 9 pricing tiers.no Voomly clients + unknown = free100 Voomly clients + God = $999.Roughly speaking.

          2. Dave Goldberg

            Interesting take James. I have no subscribers yet on Voomly, and I can’t say I’m particularly well known. However, I am qualified, and within the very small world of APIs, a number of influencers know me. I’m trying to increase my standing. Do you recommend free?

          3. JamesHRH

            Yes, but state it out front that you will raise the rates when you prove you are worth it.

          4. thinkdisruptive

            Do you have a link to this bon mot from Seth? I’d be curious to read the context surrounding this. It seems pretty unlikely to me, but more power to you if you can get it.I think you would need to offer priceless advice that came with a bottle of fine wine and the keys to the kingdom to charge 999/month for the privilege of asking a couple of questions via email. I’d stand by my original suggestion — the market won’t bear more than a couple of hundred dollars/month for this service, with the possible exception of a high-end and exclusive investment newsletter. But even that is hard these days — too much info is available for free online, and products like Riskalyze are providing value that used to come from personal relationships and doing it better at lower cost.By the time you’re at 999, you’re talking about high value research service + personal advice from analysts + newsletter + etc — like a Gartner Group. But they will run their own private service, not go through something like voomly.

          5. JamesHRH

            Seth has a post on his blog somewhere that is focused on pricing + publishing. The thesis is that you start @ $0 & when you pass through certain readership thresholds, you increase the price.The 3×3 structure is my take on his thesis: the more market credibility you can demonstrate, the higher you can price.

    2. Wavelengths

      I tried the link twice. Error 404, Voomly not found. Since we do a lot of Alpha testing here, I’m mentioning this as helpful info, not criticism.

  21. pointsnfigures

    sad when I read a blog and know all the inside stuff in the first paragraph….I signed up, but am having trouble linking my social media accounts to Voomly. And, I am going to try that Pappy. #winning

  22. howardlindzon

    nice job for tall people. 🙂

    1. fredwilson


  23. howardlindzon

    How do I get people to pay for me after years of being free….thats the question….

    1. fredwilson

      that was my first thought too

      1. howardlindzon

        i will eventually try this with some coaching…just need to figure out how to charge and what the packaging is…likely how to read the markets and use stocktwits

        1. pointsnfigures

          exactly. we do office hours all the time, leave all kinds of information on stocktwits, for free. I signed up, will see how it works. I was/am on GLG-but don’t get a lot of action there since the insider trading scandal (Goldman, not Congress)

        2. LE

          (Feel free to contact me to throw around some ideas on that).One of the problems you will find is that in general it is very hard to get individuals to fork over any significant dollars for help unless you are an attorney. And attorney’s only get it because when someone contacts an attorney they have a legal problem that only an attorney can solve (I dispute that by the way but it’s what people think) and other attorneys also make you bogu. So there is no price competition and the price remains what it is.A business customer on the other hand, or more exactly people spending other people’s money, well that’s different. Then the cash register is open! That’s the reason that a repair man that comes to your house can only charge $35 per hour while one that comes to your business can charge $200 per hour. It’s what the market will bear (figures are arbitrary to prove a point).From what I’ve noticed people’s desire to pay isn’t even directly linked to their financial situation either or at least as much as would seem to make sense.This seems to just be a perspective bias that people have towards spending money a certain way.One way around the bias is to charge a fee all inclusive and not by the hour. People tend to be more willing to pay $1000 or 10,000 total rather than $250 per hour x 4 hours or 40 hours. Price by project not by hour.

    2. lindsaycampbell

      This is the way all premium content is headed. Don’t fear the dropoff. Charge and they will (still) come. If they don’t, it wasn’t of value in the first place. (Though clearly it is.)

      1. howardlindzon

        look at you lindsayyyyyyy

    3. Aaron Klein

      I’m thinking your Voomly URL should clearly be /HowToUseSnapchat. 😉

    4. FlavioGomes

      You’ll still have to have free to get to paid. http://www.andyswan.comFree perspectives….paid targeted advice. I wouldn’t have subscribed to swantastic…if I hadn’t been exposed to andy’s blog.

      1. AndrewsProject

        @FlavioGomes:disqus Good point. Step 1. build a reputation, Step 2. Get paid. Step 1 is critical but I don’t think it needs to be achieved on the platform. If Tom Brady ran a course on how to throw a touchdown pass, he would have thousands of subscribers.The Freemium model is most important when the product or service is new and people are unsure of the value will receive.

    5. andyswan

      Valid concern.To be clear, we are NOT advocating a switch to paid only. We’re advocating the addition of premium content and an interactive relationship. My twitter and blog followers are getting no less for free than they did prior to my starting a voomly…. I just do a little more for more money now.

      1. LE

        I’ve helped many people for the longest time and haven’t charged a thing This predates the internet.I did just start to charge though. Why? In order to do a good job the work involved is quite extensive. Even then, just looking at it financially it doesn’t make much sense as it takes one away from what they do to really earn a living. I’m not talking about a simple question (or three) that’s always easy if you type fast and know your stuff.On a small scale helping a person or two (even extensively), well, it’s easy to make the time. This is similar to any inefficiency that you can easily shoehorn into the rest of your day. If you need to fold 10 letters and mail them you can fit that in. Try to do the same with 500 letters, stamps and envelopes. Every day. That takes time. Something that takes research and investigation takes time.On the buy side I almost never want to not pay for something if it involves more than trivial time or effort or a limited resource. If you pay for something then you can have expectations and get appropriate service. If you don’t pay you don’t have any control and you are up to the whims of the person giving you the help. And you aren’t competing with others getting free help. This is similar to how I would rather be at a hotel that rents sailboats then one that lets you use them for free. When they are free you have to wait and then they frequently run out of capacity. If they charge, you walk down when you want and go out. At least that’s been my experience in life.

  24. ShanaC

    It is interesting. I think one issue is that you might want to know what you want out of it first.

  25. RichardF

    Great idea. I can see the day when voomly profiles are linked to from people’s Disqus and forum profiles.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Sounds like a logical hook-in to about.me, also.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Howard Tullman calls this “mocial”, where your real person intersects with your online person and they become one and the same.

    2. andyswan

      Yes. We want this in every profile on the web!

  26. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Takes me back … http://www.prweb.com/releas…As an aside, anyone else having problems loading Disqus on A VC? Is only blog I can’t load OK – all other are OK (Safari) – all OK with Chrome. Tried everything, to no avail…

  27. JLM

    .OK, so I am one of Andy Swan’s acolytes and an early adopter of Voomly.Why?No idea. Just like Andy and it seems like fun. Not really in it for the money and will donate every penny I ever make to charity. I am slowly evolving from a second stage adopter to a plunger.I have a few collaborations underway already — folks you know named Fred, Aaron, Andy, etc. I am honored by the notion that they would pay me a penny for advice I would give them for free.Well not for free, there would have to be BBQ, right? I am not a slut giving it away for free. You do have to have some standards.I had a couple of particularly useful conversations — one with a collaborator who has a real estate website which should be successful as he has identified a problem that should be solved at a substantially lower cost and one with an accomplished entrepreneur finalizing, perfecting his pitch deck to go wield his tin cup.In both instances, I was able to assist just because I knew a bit of something about both subjects. It was easy for me and I was careful to provide advice that was organized and focused. I thought about every word before I said them but I had done this kind of stuff hundreds of times. It was low hanging fruit.In both instances, I was coaxing the information out of them. Kind of like working with a therapist drawing your feelings out while lying on the couch.I had a couple of particularly useful and enjoyable Skype calls in which the interplay was just pure damn fun. I like people.From the micro to the macro — the world is getting smaller and the AVC.com community — Freddie’s Place — is a work of genius. Voomly is a train station on that journey at which folks can stop to give a bit of advice and to get a bit of advice.The potential is limitless.Recently I have become completely enamored with video. This springs from a young guy I hired about 2 years ago who is just brilliant. In a single year, he created 600 pieces of video content at an increasingly higher level of quality.All of this information and technology is becoming convergent and the ability to learn from individuals is going to become fantastic. It already is fantastic.Maybe Swantastic? You owe me, dude.The entire information web — the Internet writ large, Freddie’s Place, Skype, Voomly — is just getting better and better.It is changing folks lives..

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Come on, say if you like it, JLM… 😉

      1. JLM

        .Carl, Mr Griffith, remember when I put stuff in [brackets] only you and I can actually see it.[I think this could be big. Don’t tell anyone.]JLM.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          [Cool. I’m in. Shhhh…]

          1. pointsnfigures

            I thought you were a slut…..

          2. JLM

            .You may want to check the re-education policy on your charm school diploma, eh? You may have slipped out a semester early.Just kidding..

          3. pointsnfigures

            I was kidding, forgot to put the smiley face on the end….

          4. Wavelengths

            He might be easy, but i don’t really think he’s free.

          5. pointsnfigures

            He’s a capitalist. No way is he free.

        2. Wavelengths

          [I won’t either. I know how to keep my mouth shut and my eyes and ears open. :-)]

        3. Charles Butler

          This post got me to sign up, but I don’t think the potential “bigness” really occurred to me until I did. It struck me that the signup process just assumes that everyone will be selling something. That felt odd for a second, then brilliant! I would guess that it’s intentional, but even if not, I think it makes everyone who registers stop for a second and consider what value they might have to offer someone else.There are certainly other ways to sell a subscription service, but this seems so simple that it almost feels stupid not to put a product out there. This is going to make a LOT of people jump into the game who would have never bothered to do so otherwise.

    2. Drew Meyers

      “real estate website which should be successful as he has identified a problem that should be solved at a substantially lower cost”Curious if that entrepreneur was the same one I spoke with today? Peyman Aleagha at WebsiteBox, which just launched at Inman Connect (a large real estate conference happening in NYC this week). Though I’m migrating to travel industry now, I’ve spent 6 years in the real estate industry – 5 at zillow and 1 at Virtual Results (a wordpress website vendor for RE). From my experience, the best product is not guaranteed to win in real estate. The amount of time and money it takes to sell to the real estate industry is crazy…the Zillow’s the world have sales teams of several hundred, which of course takes considerable capital and time to scale up to.

      1. Wavelengths

        15 years in real estate and mortgage financing. More if you include what I learned from other family members who were in the same or similar businesses.Much of the RE-targeted products don’t have any nuance. Remember — it’s LOCATIONx3!!! This house is on a bluff with a view, the next house is behind a power station.Also, many RE folks are good at cookie-cutter evaluations and sales, but not good at adopting a new tool.A realistic metaphor: years ago I was a typesetter, just at the time of transition from “hot type” to “cold type,” if anyone remembers those terms. One of the most frustrating things I found as I adopted the new tools was the way that programmers who DIDN’T understand the vernacular or the standards, prevented me from doing things to adjust type that were commonplace in the business at the time.I wonder if this is a point where someone with tech-savvy and RE experience can help bridge the gap so the new product serves the old-school market better. ???

        1. Drew Meyers

          Perhaps, but I don’t have bandwidth to think about doing that right now.

  28. Richard

    Why the 4 minute promise? Are you sure that the UX/UI supports this? I found it a little choppy.

    1. karen_e

      And a little copywriting finesse would be a nice touch. Le kiss of web-friendly wordsmithing.

      1. andyswan


      2. Richard

        Yep, I got a little queasy after a few minutes. Are you a writer?

        1. karen_e

          I write for work all day, every day, so in that sense, yes. Not a fiction writer for the New Yorker or anything like that. But what Andy will need to do before anyone rewrites the main copy, and I know he knows this, is to put some time into Grimlock’s Minimum Viable Personality exercise. If Voomly were a person, who would she be? Etc.

          1. Richard

            You and I are on the same page on this. Just felt like there were a few personalities fighting to be the lead dog.

          2. andyswan


    2. JLM

      .I suspect that Andy was in the “ship it” mode and got the product stood up before getting it perfect.Good v perfect is expensive and consumes a lot of time.There are a couple of areas in which the chain saw marks are still visible. You can smell the sawdust.Needs some graphic arts, copy editing and some paint.But I like the lines. It seems to shed water..

      1. andyswan


      2. LE

        The design is really nice. And I’m impressed with the amount of stuff that’s there at this stage.My only concern is the vig. I think 10% is going to attract other players quicker then if it were a lower number.

        1. kidmercury

          reminds of me of a jeff bezos quote: “either you cut your prices or your competition does it for you”unless of course you can differentiate, and can persuade others you have.

  29. joewheeler

    Like many others have said here, the integration points into other apps/services are endless. Will be exciting to see what happens when marketplace and API launch. Props to Andy, Landon and Brandon for the early traction and seeing this idea through to launch.

  30. JamesHRH

    Andy. I like a whole lot of the UX and the idea is very sound.I think there is a lot of the service you should turn off & you should focus on getting the core idea totally baked for new users (i.e., here is how you set it up, here is a pricing guideline, here are the 10 best ways to market a Voomly, …… ).

    1. LE

      The UX is great. (Just squatted on my name and tested it out.)I noticed that if you do, say http://www.voomly.com/andy (or a number of other names I choose at random to see if that had been taken) that it gives you a 404 page with no info.Might be an idea to hook that up to a search and say”did you mean:”Andy SwanAndy Smith.Dave Jones in Andy Ohio

      1. andyswan

        Yes good point

        1. LE

          Aliases might also be good. Essentially multiple URL’s that go to the same (or I guess even) different user pages.https://www.voomly.com/swan…same ashttps://www.voomly.com/andy…To get around the problem of someone tieing up URL’s that others want can allow only a set low number of extra aliases per account.Of course people can always register a domain and have that cloak forwarded or non-cloaked forward to the URL as well.

  31. awaldstein

    As I read this thread, it strikes me that the social web has allowed many become rather large brands in themselves. Large gatherings of friends or followers around stuff that defines you, stuff that you know and share.Can Voomly help turn popularity into money for some of them? Is so, that alchemy that has some chops.

    1. thinkdisruptive


    1. Aaron Klein


    2. Richard

      Ok, Im game.

    3. fredwilson


  32. jimmystone

    Is this similar to Pearl.com? Sounds like it. They raised $26mm series b recently and reported $100mm in revs. Good luck guys!

    1. Richard

      Nice UX.

    2. Fred Hutchison

      From the Pearl.com site (re: cost):On Pearl.com, you can choose what you’d like to pay by selecting how soon you’d like a response and how much detail you need. If you’re not in a rush and don’t need a lot of detail, you’ll pay less. If your question is urgent and you need a detailed response, you’ll pay a little more. Prices typically start around $15, but may be higher for some types of professionals. The average question costs about $30.

  33. Modernist

    voomly’s branded unit of monetization right now is the relationship (although that’s not the only option you’re offering). if you can make it more about each idea (at least for a trial period) i think it would be more actionable for stocksto clarify, you offer both parties option to participate as pseudonyms?my stock ideas are syndicated in news feeds and this would be an interesting compliment, but my unit of monetization would have to be idea-by-idea because that is my philosophy of investing i can see a lot of traders putting voomly links on their twitter and stocktwits profiles. ideally you would have your own ticker symbol like howard’s $ tag.btw, disintermediation of professions is yet another reason to short LNKD (nothing against reid, but this valuation needs to correct very much in the months ahead)

  34. nickgs

    Pretty cool service, congrats Andy and team!I don’t want to be a pessimist in a sea of optimism but after seeing the cost to process transactions what is keeping me on the service? For example, I have an expertise in the Drupal CMS, people find me through this additional medium and after I build a relationship why wouldn’t I take them off the platform and enjoy 30% more in my pocket? This is actually a problem I find in alot these marketplace type businesses (voices.com, 99designs.com, etc, etc)In any event, seems very cool and I look forward to giving it a spin.Thanks.Nickhttps://voomly.com/drupal

    1. kidmercury

      i think ultimately it will boil down to creating bundles, rewards programs, etc. it goes back to tuesday’s conversation on AVC on marketplaces and retailers. in order to continue taking a cut, the marketplace has to1. adopt characteristics of a retaileror2. become a payment processor (with those same margins)

      1. Modernist

        mercury, what existing comparables do you expect their traffic funnel will look like?

        1. kidmercury

          whose traffic funnel, voomly? i’m not sure — have to ask andy about that 🙂 but it seems to have the standard network effect ideology baked into it, in that you start with a few people who list a service, they naturally have incentive to promote the platform, etc. skillshare, udemy, shopify and many others have the same dynamic. seed it with a few to start, get promoted on a blog like fred’s to get a few more, and watch the virality take off…….

  35. Modernist

    critiqued linkedin’s ecosystemic culture a few months ago and said something twitter-like would replace them. indeed and facebook and skillshare come to mind, but could voomly be part of this? could money perhaps be a more honest endorsement system than the quid pro quo of trading recs on linkedin?—-Too PoliteLinkedIn’s skill-level endorsement capability is not an inspirational tool for users to provide critical appraisals of each other. Unlike the scroll of teletype paper inspiring Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, LinkedIn will never inspire users to take constructive risks in their expression. Intelligent interpersonal criticism will never flourish within Facebook-like person-level social networks. Instead these criticisms will emerge on Twitter-like idea-level thinking networks.Until such a service (probably on Twitter itself) emerges in the professional networking realm, skill-level endorsements will not flourish in an organized manner on the Internet. It is simply too awkward to rank people on LinkedIn. History has shown that we can be nudged to share more and more publicly, if enticed by the right tools. But looking at the fluffy articles in my LinkedIn news feed, and the vacuous network of acquaintances, I think LinkedIn finds its strength in “weak connections” and will never establish itself across intellectual ones.http://seekingalpha.com/art

    1. Dan T

      agreed completely. linkedin is best for discovering people that “might” be good, that you “might” be able to verify through a relationship > but hey, that’s still pretty good for me. I’ve had a fair amount of success finding good people that I was able to verify through relationships. i’m sure other, different approaches will offer a different, complementary set of results.

      1. Modernist


  36. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    sounds interesting. I may have missed it but will voomly be providiing a verified account for its experts. Something similar to how twitter verifies its top accounts. Also, you might want to check out clarity.fm as it seems to have the same principle but they are focusing on phone conversations.

    1. andyswan

      With marketplace/discovery will come verified accounts, yes.

    2. Richard

      Got to like the power of the AVC Due Diligence Community!

  37. Jon Thompson

    Fred, can you please, please introduce these guys to Dwolla. It’ll help your portfolio, as well as save money for everyone all around.

    1. andyswan

      He did yesterday. We’re looking hard at it.

    2. fredwilson

      i told andy that he should use dwolla. he was interested. i will make the connection.

  38. Youssef Rahoui

    A french company has been around for several years in this space with a nice traction: Wengo: http://www.wengo.fr/

  39. LE

    @andyswan curious what the logic (other than the obvious “don’t stiff us”) is behind this:”All sales are final. No refunds.”Are those terms changeable by individual users or are they set by voomly and fixed site wide?

  40. AndrewsProject

    Well done @andyswan:disqus Great work @fredwilson:disqus. Posts like this are the reason that AVC has hundreds of comments/reactions and other uncrunched blogs don’t. (Assuming USV hasn’t invested in Voomly) It is the difference between ‘a genuine interest to test and discuss new ideas’ v’s ‘the push of products for personal gain’.note. I’m sure there are alot of other reasons we all read AVC, but just thought I’d pull this one out

    1. fredwilson

      i do not nor does USV have any interest in Voomly. of course that could change at some point. the discussion here will certainly help everyone figure out if that makes sense.

  41. Drew Meyers

    @andyswan:disqus really awesome chatting with you yesterday (right after your meeting w/ Fred)As we discussed, I’m certainly with you that there is an opportunity, and a big one, in this space. Looking forward to working with you to make it happen.

  42. bernardlunn

    I like Voomly a lot for one simple reason. It is about helping people make money. Too many sites just make us better consumers, but we need to make money before we can consume (err, unless we just load up on credit cards). It is great that lots of the innovation these days is moving towards helping people make extra money eg AirBNB.

  43. Donna Brewington White

    Hey @andyswan:disqus as you know I am already a fan. Voomly came at exactly the right time because I have been playing around with some ideas about how to expand my services. One of my dilemmas is that many of the people that I most want to help (i.e., startup founders) can’t afford my full services so I am thinking of ways to make my services more accessible. I’ve also been thinking of ways to transfer my knowledge, such as a course for founders taught at one of the local coworking spaces. I like the idea of the online course through Voomly — just need the time to put it together.One thing I’d like to explore is different service offerings through different accounts. I like the idea of starting at a lower rate and grandfathering in the initial clients as demand builds and rates increase. Still I wonder about being able to give a “free sample” in some way.I’ve just redone my Voomly page yet again. It’s fun/easy to play around with. But how can I find other pages to compare with?

    1. thinkdisruptive

      It would be a nice future feature to have multiple price points supported within the same account. e.g. just emails, emails + newsletter, emails + newsletter + online chat + teaching. Or, volume-based (1 person in a company vs 10 people in a company, 5 minutes of time vs 5 hours of time). Different clients have different needs, but one brand + one account should be enough. I’m sure Andy will get there if enough of us sign up with similar needs.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        You raise an excellent point about price points for different service types or levels. It would be great rather than having different accounts to be able shift from one service type or level to another within the same account — let’s say I offer 3 hours of assistance but the subscriber needs 5 for a while. It would also provide greater incentive to keep the account in Voomly rather than Voomly merely being the launching point — i.e., someone starts with a Voomly subscription but then moves into a consulting relationship beyond the Voomly subscription. This could happen anyway, but not as likely if the relationship doesn’t feel constrained by the product.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Added: Although in some instances, it will be feasible to have different accounts. Like I will want a different account for my dating advice service.

        1. thinkdisruptive

          Oh good. I’ll come to that one.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            I’m kidding I think.

          2. thinkdisruptive

            Damn, i was so looking forward to it.

  44. Ernst-Jan Pfauth

    Hi andyswan , I think it’s honorable that you introduce people to the merits of entrepreneurship.Would be great if you’d Paypal support, so that folks who are not from the States could also use your service.Cheers from Amsterdam, the Netherlands 🙂

  45. Semil Shah

    I’ve seen a few platforms try this after Yahoo Answers, like Quora, Formspring, and a few others. I’m an avid Quora user so these comments will be biased. The Voomly model, as it stands now, may not draw out people with the expertise commensurate with the rate they may charge, for this to work at scale. That said, the site “Fiverr” is doing really well, so maybe Voomly could beat them on price and not need as much volume.

    1. William Mougayar

      There are some silly things on that Fiverr.”I will teach you how to easily peel an onion for $5.”Lmao, Is it for people that can’t google stuff?

      1. Semil Shah

        Hi William, yes — there is lots of silly stuff on Fiverr, but I can assure you that they make a lot of money. It’s a volume game for them.

        1. William Mougayar

          yes. there are suckers every where ! 🙂