As the stock market continues to tank and the word “recession” re-enters our vocabulary, a Silicon Valley startup is working to create a community of free service. FixYa aims to bring a crowdsourcing-style forum to the world of tech support, with fee-free help on anything ranging from washing machine woes to crashing computers and crappy cars.
The site, claiming 9 million volunteer members, lets anyone sign up and post a problem. Users — who are ranked in expertise and helpfulness by other members — then offer solutions. You can also search existing queries submitted by others to see if the answer you need has already been posted.
During our visit, the solutions featured on the front page included things such as a Motorola phone that wouldn’t charge, a pen drive that wouldn’t accept new files, and a BMW with a flashing engine warning light.
FixYa does also offer a pay-based option in which you can chat directly and immediately with a high-ranking expert via IM or phone. The expert keeps a portion of the fee. Unless you need instant assistance, though, you could just as easily post into the free forum system.
FixYa has been around since 2005. It’s now grown to about 30 employees and claims 10 million unique visitors a month, a rate its founder says continues to increase by about 12 percent every month.