When I first reviewed Crossloop, there was little more to it than a very simple, yet very functional Remote Assistance program. It holds a place in my ‘toolkit’ and I usually install it on customer computers for possible remote repairs.
Since that initial post, some pretty amazing things have happened over at Crossloop.com. Nearly 33 million minutes of “help time” have been amassed via the Crossloop interface by 600,000 users in approaching 2 million help sessions. Take a look at the top of the Crossloop home page to see these metrics climbing at a steady pace.
The lion’s share of the credit for these fantastic numbers goes to the Help Marketplace. 5000-plus “helpers” who are experts on tech-related subjects from Windows troubleshooting to Blackberry issues can be looked up in the marketplace.
Now these experts aren’t in it just for fun, mind you, you get to pay them….but think about it this way….you can spend 30usd (helpers set their own rates, from free on-up) for RA help on line at your own desk, or take your virus-ridden box to the local shop and pay them 100 bucks or more. Don’t get me wrong, a couple of my good friends work in or own those shops, but now you have choices. And to be honest, when some n00b brings in yet another Dell (sorry Dan) with yet another infection of the smitfraud virus, there are sighs of resignation from all corners of the shop.
There are experts at *nix systems, programming, web design, and networking. Try having a local shop help you set up a home network. They’ll want your first born male child just to come to your house. After all, they’ve got things to do, too.
With all the talk about monetization in the bsphere of late, the question comes up, “How’s the Crossloop team going to support this steadily growing community?” Think EBay. The front-end billing/transaction stuff is not in place yet, but will be soon, where the ‘Helpers’ pay a small fee for each completed help session, similar to an online auction. Feedback and suggestions on this topic and others are being listened to from registered Helpers and Customers as well. There will also be dispute processes in place, for the (hopefully) rare occasion when something goes wrong in the agreements between Customers and Helpers. According to Mrinal Desai, Co-Founder and VP at Crossloop, this period of fee-free Helping could be great for everyone:
This also allows our Helpers to build a solid reputation (do more sessions, collect customer testimonials and ratings on their profile etc.) in the process without incurring any fees since a lot is going to be about that for Customers. Once that is ready, we plan to provide ample notice with details on the fee structure etc to all our Helpers.
However, all signs point to the Crossloop software remaining a free download in perpetuity.
Harkening back to my original review of Crossloop itself, a couple things that have presented to me and a few associates since the initial post bear sharing.
One, it’s tough to use Crossloop with the far-left spectrum of computer users. You know, the ones that don’t ‘get it’ when you try to tell them that the computer is still on when you shut off the monitor? Those folks. You know them. I sure do. I’m not certain how Crossloop could be made any easier to use, but this won’t be much of an issue for most Crossloop Marketplace users. If they made it there, they’re probably at least somewhat savvy on tech.
I’ve also gotten a couple reports that some types of Internet connections don’t play well with Crossloop. Dialup is obviously out, (the Crossloop FAQ says it works, but they don’t recommend it) but the one that surprised me is Satellite Broadband. Seems it makes the connection, but drops it in short order. I can see this being an issue. One reason a person may turn to RA is that they live out in the sticks, far from a repair shop, meaning DSL and Cable are not likely to be available. Other RA apps don’t seem to have this issue, so perhaps it can be addressed.
So if you’ve got a bit of free time, a desire to help others, offset the cost of gas, save up for that new gaming rig, and consider yourself knowledgeable about anything having to do with computers, networking, blog setup…or anything related, stop by Crossloop and sign up. There are even resources like promotional tools and customer leads to help you sell yourself and create a business.
Or, if you’re totally stuck on something, peruse the Marketplace and find an expert to help you out of the jam!