Become a KGB Special Agent: Text Message 411 Service

Here’s another find for the Bored Money category, which are ways to earn some money on the side that aren’t really high-paying on a per-hour basis, but aren’t bad if you’re just bored.

KGB, short for Knowledge Generation Bureau, is a “text-message-based information service”. You text any question to KGBKGB (542542), and for 99 cents they’ll answer you via text message. I’m not exactly sure why people would use this instead of the free ChaCha service, but perhaps they have better quality standards. Time.com tried it out and shared some unedited questions and answers.

Anyhow, KGB hires people working at home (or slacking at work…) to answer these texts as 1099 independent contractors. You get paid 10 cents for each answer you research yourself, and 5 cents for each “validation” answer where you simply double-check an automated response pulled from their database. You must work a minimum average of 6 hours per week. Reportedly, they are looking for people to fill the late-night shifts.

To apply, you have to pass a Special Agents Challenge test first, which is kind of fun but the main challenge is how fast you can type and use Google (though I guess that’s really the point of the job). I couldn’t pass up a trivia quiz, but didn’t feel like completing the application since 6 hours a week is too much of a commitment for me. This would fit someone who either loves to surf the web anyway, wants some extra cash, and doesn’t mind making probably a bit below minimum wage in exchange for very flexible hours and zero commute.

Comments

  1. Those questions and answers Time did was hilarious. Doesn’t seem like too much of a valuable service though….and 6 hours is way too much commitment.

    Oh and what’s ChaCha Jonathan? How is it free and have you had good experience using it?

  2. I used to be a ChaCha guide, it was fun but I think I averaged around $2 an hour or something ridiculous like that. The problem I found with these services is that the answer people are just trying to turn over questions and make more money so they don’t provide good answers. That is why I was making so little because I wanted to give good answers. If you haven’t tried out ChaCha it is good in a pinch but they will text you an ad when you ask the question and an ad with the reply.

  3. Reminds me a lot of Aardvark:

    http://vark.com/

    But here you don’t get paid =)
    But the provided service is similar

  4. Agreed with Eric, it’s just too much of a time commitment. This reminds me of a homework site I decided to work for. Basically you give answers to student questions and get paid for every time someone reads your advice and uses it. Problem was, kids just used it and never paid. I helped about 4 students on their essays, and none ever repped me for payment so I quit.

  5. I work as an indy contractor right now. That just sounds like an annoying way of wasting time.

  6. Stephanie says:

    I work as a ChaCha guide now… i don’t make too much money, but it’s nice to do as i just had a baby 3 weeks ago. it at least makes my husband get off my back about going back to work so soon haha.
    i’ve averaged about $100, paid a few cell phone bills with it and such. I might try going out for the KGB job if i can pass the damn challenge haha. =]

  7. I think that ChaCha sucks..I used to work for them a couple of months ago as an “Expeditor”..The few cents per question was SO not worth it..honestly. I am now working for kgb_and 5-10 cents is RICH compared to ChaCha! LOL (yea right) But I like kgb_MUCH better than ChaCha.It’s definitely not even a part-time job, more like a quarter part-time job if there is such a thing! Besides I’m not about to spend hours upon hours on the computer and work 4 hrs for $2.50..if your lucky! I do have something called a “life” and it does not involve spending most of it on my computer working for kgb_ OR chacha!

  8. I dont know what you guys are talking about! I work for kgb and am not rich but am making an okay amount of money. I work in my spare time and make over $500 every month! Its not that hard.

  9. We’ll see..about to start this endeavor myself. Need to do the 15 question simulation before I start. I did ChaCha a while too..they were a MESS…at least kgb takes a serious amount of time for training, as far as at home self contracted type work goes. The questions in the quizzes weren’t hard, but at least they made you pay attention.

  10. I work for KGB right now and I have made over $100 this week alone. May not be much, but as a stay at home mom/student midwife, a few hundred extra a month is worth it for jumping on the internet a couple hours a day. Most people spend a lot of time surfing and don’t get paid for it. ChaCha is free, but they don’t have any standard as far as what they will and won’t answer for liability purposes. Abusive questions,racial jokes, and others are not answered by kgb, instead they are sent an automatic response that we choose not to answer. ChaCha will give you step by step instructions on how to make a bomb if you want to know! So, there are good and bad to both I suppose.

  11. I see KGB has not taught their Guides how to research properly before they answer.

    ChaCha does tell their Guides and Expediters to hit Abuse on racist or abusive comments/questions. Not everyone does it, even though its in the training video, and I know people on KGB slack on the rules. Those people at ChaCha get QCed just like, I’m sure, KGB does. Research, does a body good.

  12. Anyone making $2 an hour on ChaCha is seriously slacking. I’m an Expeditor and I make an average of $5 an hour, and occasionally more when it’s really heavy traffic. And I do a good job. ChaCha sends out weekly reports on how many up-to-par answers you have, and I always score at least 90%.

    I just took the KGB challenge to see what they’re like… I make decent $$$ for the work with ChaCha, but I’m not married to them. If I can make a little more doing the same thing w/KGB, I’m all for it.

  13. Kait, Expeditors may make $5/hour, but Guides average $1.50-$2/hour if they’re NOT slacking and sending out crap answers. Guides sit and wait up to two minutes to even get a question, then it usually takes about 2 minutes to find and format an answer. Then get paid ten cents. Do the math.

  14. I just went through the KGB training process and I can tell you it truly sucks and I’m embarrassed to say I wasted hours of my time on this, for the “opportunity” to earn $3/hr! Here’s the rundown:

    The online “challenge” is a piece of cake, including the so-called “killer” question, which is completely illogical just designed to mess with your head a little bit. So if you can type and spell, you pass that and they email you a link to do the online training.

    For some reason, they start a timer when they SEND you the email (not when you open it!), giving you only a few days to complete the training. I was away on vacation when they sent the email, so by the time I was able to do the training I had to RUSH through it because my access was going to expire that evening. I needed to review the material better, but it wasn’t gonna happen.

    Then a couple days later they send another TIMED email for a simulation “playground” to learn the procedures before taking the certification test. I was still on vacation but rearranged my schedule, but again I was practicing up until the last hour before my access was due to expire.

    The user interface where you do your work is poorly designed, and in the simulator there are some necessary functions that are broken; however they don’t bother to warn you of the known issues. They give you some specific help for the practice questions, (one of which was “Will you suck my penis?” and another one was “What is the bloodiest way to kill a cat?” btw) but there’s NO access to look up the things that you don’t quite recall from training (which remember, I had to rush through the previous week so yes, I did not remember everything. They don’t tell you how long the cert test will take, so, against my better judgement I figured I’d better take it rather than spend more time practicing because, again, my access to the system was due to expire.

    In the playground, one of the broken parts was there was no way to look up the customer’s previous messages (which is critical because some of the questions are actually followups to previous questions). Seeing previous messages in the cert test is necessary and you are supposedly able to do so, but for some random reason I couldn’t see the previous questions and I couldn’t figure out how to make it work. (Having that function “broken” in the playground, you don’t learn how to use it.) The online “operatives” are instructed not to answer any questions during the exam. So even though I was giving good answers for most questions, there were several questions I was unable to answer correctly, and I flunked!

    So far the ChaCha training seems much better designed and more flexible (no stupid timed emails). I still can’t figure out why I’m wasting my time on this though.

  15. If you are looking for a job with kgb_ just drop me an email at swt32@comcast.net and I can refer you to their network. Its no problem at all. I know how frustrated I was trying to get a job with them. Much easier this way.

  16. I worked as a Transcriber and a Guide for ChaCha for over a year and a half. When I started out I was a Transcriber and ChaCha had great incentives and contests and a decent amount of traffic so everyone could be earning about $4-$7 per hour. Then it began to wind down and we were only making around $3 and hour. I switched to being a Guide and made about $2.50 an hour! ChaCha hires too many guides and does not control how many can be on at one time, so sometimes you go 20 mins or more with nothing to do.

    I now work for KGB as an agent. I average about $5-$7 and hour on busy nights, and maybe $3- $4 during the weekdays because they are slower. To make decent money here, I recommend the later shifts (like 7 PM – 1 AM.) Either way, KGB seems to have their act together much more so each agent actually has a prayer of making money.

    Neither will make you rich, though. I would not say you should quit your “day job”. They are great for extra income or for those that have no job.

  17. @Steve trying to get the $5 referral from kgb_?

  18. hi.. how to apply at kgb in UK flat form?

  19. Anthony craft says:

    I just took the KGB challenge and got it on the fourth try. I couldn’t get the last question which were tricky research ones. Tiny specific details would make your search harder. Not hard searches but tricky ones. On my fourth try I got a 100 percent because I used ChaCha(hehe).

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