I Was a High-Tech Sweatshop Worker for the Obama Campaign

Why did the candidate of hope and change use workers paid less than half of the minimum wage?

Middletown, New York—I wake up at 3:00 AM and I'm already late for work. Fortunately I don't have far to go. Taking care not to wake my wife, I remove the laptop from the bedroom desk and move it into the main computer room on the other side of the apartment. I don't want to use my aging desktop with the big monitor; it can't handle the traffic as fast as I need it to if I want to maximize my earnings.

As an expeditor for ChaCha Search Inc., a business that specializes in answering questions sent by text message, email, and voice mail, my job is to take the queries as they come in, make them readable, categorize them, and forward them to a "guide" who finds the answer—ideally within 2-3 minutes—and relays it back to the customer. It's a free service, with revenue generated by advertisements sent via text message or attached to the answer itself.

So I boot up, log in, and start processing the queries. The faster I work the more money I make. The shift passes with a few bursts of frenetic activity breaking up long stretches where the queries come in every one or two minutes. At 6:30 AM, I calculate my earnings. I've made about $5 in three hours.

For every query I expedite, I make three cents. If traffic is heavy, and when I'm in top form, I can average four queries per minute, or $7.20 an hour—but these high volume periods are rare. I calculate my career average to be approximately $2.85 per hour. That's less than half of the federal minimum wage. ChaCha Search Inc., in other words, is a high-tech 21st century sweatshop.

Headquartered in Carmel, Indiana, ChaCha has approximately 55,000 home-working guides and expeditors under contract. The expeditors are all paid the piece rate described above; the guides receive 10 or 20 cents per query, depending on the quality of their answers and their level of expertise. It's a young, hip company whose advertisers have included AT&T, McDonald's, and the Barack Obama presidential campaign.

The Obama campaign's use of ChaCha was simple and brilliant. Messages would go out advising customers to vote early for Obama and to text back the keyword OBAMA for more information. That would direct them to pro-Obama websites such as VoteForChange.com. If the keyword failed to trigger the automatic response, an expeditor like me would route it to a guide.

Here's the question: Did Obama have personal knowledge of ChaCha's employment practices? His campaign's use of the company was certainly no secret. ChaCha proudly displays an article on its website from USA Today describing their partnership—though the article makes no mention of the compensation received by expeditors and guides.

For its part, ChaCha exemplifies the best and worst of today's Internet economy. The company was more than willing to profit from Obama's candidacy, yet if federal minimum wage laws applied to its home-working contractors, ChaCha wouldn't stay in business for long.

Does Obama's relationship with ChaCha matter? Consider his own words, first spoken during a March 2008 campaign appearance in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and later incorporated into his campaign infomercial (transcribed here by Time's Mark Halperin): "If they're able and willing to work, they should be able to find a job that pays a living wage." Obama also favors raising the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour by 2011. But despite all of that lofty talk, his campaign still employed ChaCha's high-tech sweatshop labor.

Think about it like this. Obama sold the ideas of hope and change to America's desperate working and lower-middle classes. But it was only a campaign tactic. The Democrats continue to enable and reward the same incompetence, corruption, and corporate welfare that characterized the Bush administration. A stimulus check of $2000 to every American without regard to age, income, or assets would have been less expensive (and probably more effective) than the Bush-Obama bailouts. Give money to the original owners—the taxpayers—and send those corporate losers to the back of the line.

Better yet, what about a truly free market, one that actually lets economic dinosaurs go extinct, rather than keeping them alive via the life support of statist policies and practices. Conversely, if workers stopped expecting help from the state, they might begin to protect their interests as vigorously as the elite promote their own agenda.

Of course none of that will be happening anytime soon. But when it comes to holding the president accountable to his own flowery rhetoric, the time is ripe for some change we can finally believe in.

Dan Mage is a writer living in Middletown, New York. A two-time dropout of Naropa University, he is the owner and creator of www.freneticmemetics.com.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • High Every Body||

    President Barack Obama has repeatedly voiced his support for raising the federal minimum wage.

    Can I hear $1,000/hr just around the corner?

  • Nikola T||

    I'm not sure where to begin here...

    Why did this guy accept this work?
    He sounds smart enough, could he not make more elsewhere?
    If so opposed to big government, why did he spend so much time helping it? And for so little?

    I agree with the hypocrisy of Obama, but I think instead of saying these folks don't make enough, Mr. Pres. should be talking about how well these companies work when people get paid for what they do.

  • High Every Body||

    [Leftie apologist voice]

    The root cause is buried in the article. Bumpkins from Indiana think they live in India and can pay starvation wages.

    Headquartered in Carmel, Indiana, ChaCha has approximately 55,000 home-working guides and expeditors under contract.

    A Congressional investigation needs to be launched immediatly and the FBI needs to round these people up for head-faking the Obama campaign.

    Nikola,

    Why did this guy accept this work?
    He sounds smart enough, could he not make more elsewhere?
    If so opposed to big government, why did he spend so much time helping it? And for so little?


    Because the Bush/Cheney slavery campaign sent all the jobs to India.

    [/Leftie apologist voice]

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I am curious...if this guy is willing to work so hard at 3AM, go be a manager at Burger King. They have benefits and pay way more than that.

    I mean, really Dan Mage, what are you doing?

  • Megan||

    I'm confused...I thought this was a libertarian website. Why is he complaining about getting paid so little yet he agreed to do the work? Why does it matter who the customers are? If enough people tell ChaCha, "No, you don't pay enough!", it will either close its doors or pay more. Minimum wage only applies to jobs, not independent contractors which is what this seems to be. I don't like Obama at all, but this seems to be grasping at straws.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I didn't bother to RTFA, but I really don't need to since the only legitmate takeaway possible is that Obama is a hyocritical, lying piece of shit.

  • High Every Body||

    I'm confused...I thought this was a libertarian website.

    Start thinking cosmotarian, then it makes more sense.

    It is like complaining about Pete Seeger writing songs praising North Vietnam, but also complaining about anybody trying to keep the North Vietnamese from enslaving the whole country of Vietnam.

  • Thought Police||

    I didn't bother to RTFA, but I really don't need to since the only legitmate takeaway possible is that Obama is a hyocritical, lying piece of shit.



    Racist spotted!!1

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I'm confused...I thought this was a libertarian website. Why is he complaining about getting paid so little yet he agreed to do the work?



    Um, is it somehow against libertarianism to talk about how your job sucks?

    I don't like Obama at all, but this seems to be grasping at straws.



    Not really. The logical extension of the "living wage" crowd undoubtedly leads to closing the independent contractor loophole. You wait and see.

    I'm sorry, but I'm having a hard time understanding how you so totally misread this article.

  • Cabeza De Vaca||

    "I'm confused...I thought this was a libertarian website."

    Drink

  • libertarian democrat||

    Apparently the author is epic fail.

  • libertarian democrat||

    Also, what TAO said.

  • ||

    So is he complaining about not getting minimum wage or ranting against minimum wage? Wonder how many times he broke a sweat doing this job.

  • High Every Body||

    GM,

    Okay, I give up. hyocritical does come up in the google, but not in any dictionaries.

    Is the book of Leviticus hyocritical? - Yahoo! Answers

    Collier, J.
    THE HYOCRITICAL AMERICAN


    1964: . . . . . .50 cover price; 1. with some creasing or minor defects.; Paperback. . ISBN Number:. Keywords:[NON-FICTION]
    $6.00

    Hyocritical French

  • High Every Body||

    So is he complaining about not getting minimum wage or ranting against minimum wage? Wonder how many times he broke a sweat doing this job. Tony wrote, panting over his sweaty keyboard.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I mean, I admire anybody who's willing to get up early and do the "bootstraps-grindstone-time-to-make-the-donuts thing", but, DUDE McDonald's is hiring! A quick search of mcnewyork.com and I found three entry-level positions paying 6.55 or more in Middletown, NY.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    So is he complaining about not getting minimum wage or ranting against minimum wage?



    How about "he's ranting about Hope and Change" using sub-minimum wage labor to get elected?

    Address the point being made, Tony, not the ones you wish you could argue against.

  • High Every Body||

    TAO,

    But they have uniforms at McDonalds and they are so conformist.

  • Abdul||

    Some commenters are missing the pooint. Dan Mage is not complaining about his low pay.

    Dan Mage's point, hidden at the bottom, is that working for sub-minimum wage levels is not necessarily bad. In fact, it's good to allow people to independently negotiate the prices at which they are willing to sell their labor. In fact, this free market principle was used by the Obama campaign to maximize their text message superiorty over McCain.

    Therefore, Obama's a hypocrite to oppose this practice in sweatshops.

  • libertarian democrat||

    Clearly, to anyone who can read.

    The author is still full of fail though, or he really enjoys his job. He makes it sound unenjoyable, but I must imagine it is.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    I'm just flabbergasted we had anyone misread this 9th-grade-reading-level article.

    I mean, really? What are you people doing all day?

  • ||

    At 6:30 AM, I calculate my earnings. I've made about $5 in three hours.

    I have a question.

    Who

    the

    fuck

    cares?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    If you're up at 3AM and have made five whole dollars by 6:30, you're a moron. I mean, you have to be paying more for the necessary internet connectivity, right??!

  • kilroy||

    Anyone who can do the math and still takes this job is an idiot, therefore, Dan Mage is an idiot. How does something this devoid of reason get on the Reason website? WTF? With any luck at all this loser will continue to work there, fail to make enough to feed himself and die of starvation.

  • ||

    His point is that Obama is a giant hypocrite. That's pretty much his only point... I'll pause for your surprise.

  • ||

    You are paid by the amount of work not by the hour. When times are slow you should find other ways to be productive in other ways.

  • Guess My Bra Size||

    "the only legitmate takeaway possible is that Obama is a hyocritical, lying piece of shit."

    You couldn't be more mistaken. This was actually a pilot program for Obama's paid vonunteers of America. It's really a hybrid of sorts and as Obama has made clear on countless occasions, hybrids are America's future.

  • duster||

    A politician being hypocritical? Whoa, what a revelation!

  • ||

    I'm confused...I thought this was a libertarian website. Why is he complaining about getting paid so little yet he agreed to do the work?

    The slam here isn't on anyone who agreed to take a crap job, or even on anyone who offered a crap job.

    The slam here is on Obama being a lying, hypocritical piece of shit. That's libertarian, you see.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Don't get it twisted, though...I personally am slamming the author for working in that job. He could like, beg or fish out pennies on the street and make more money than 5 bucks in three-and-a-half-hours.

  • ||

    Five bucks?!? I wipe my ass with five dollar bills.

  • adrian||

    this might be worse than chapman.

    maybe.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "You couldn't be more mistaken. This was actually a pilot program for Obama's paid vonunteers of America. It's really a hybrid of sorts and as Obama has made clear on countless occasions, hybrids are America's future."

    Interesting theory, but I'm afraid it doesn't negate the fact that Obama is a hypocritical, lying piece of shit.

    You see, Obama was ALREADY a hypocritical, lying piece of shit before anything referred to in the story ever happened.

    He became a hypocritical, lying piece of shit the very split second he ever started believing in anything that could even remotely be described as liberalism.

    And he will remain a hypocritical, lying piece of shit for the rest of his life unless he specifically repents and denounces his previous acceptance of anything thet could even remotely be described as liberalism.

  • Megan||

    Minimum wage only applies to employees. If Obama is not actively trying to shut down contract labor, where is the hypocrisy of him using ChaCha? I haven't even seen a hint of him trying that. And I think it would be an incredible stupid move on his part to do so. Businesses save millions on contract labor.

    For the record, I agree that Obama is a hypocritical, lying piece of shit, but don't see it on this particular issue.

  • ||

    I'm with the "this is stupid" crowd. It might be hypocritical for Obama to support living wages while using e-sweat shops. But it's just as hypocritical for a libertarian website to use e-sweat shops to take pot shots at a liberal president, when ostensibly they are in favor of allowing these businesses to exist.

    The hypocrisy contest ends in a dead heat.

    Who wrote this garbage anyway?

  • WWJGD||

    Slow news day or something?

  • Megan||

    I must admit, though, initially, I did miss the double entendre of the title. Cute!

  • ||

    But it's just as hypocritical for a libertarian website to use e-sweat shops to take pot shots at a liberal president, when ostensibly they are in favor of allowing these businesses to exist.

    What is hypocritical about a libertarian publication using e-sweatshops for anything? What is hypocritical about calling out hypocrisy?

  • ||

    For the record, I agree that Obama is a hypocritical, lying piece of shit, but don't see it on this particular issue.

    Because, on the one hand, he rails against exploitation of labor, while, on the other hand, he exploits (by his own terms) labor. This really isn't that hard.

    For him to be consistent, he would make sure that everyone who works for him gets the pay and benefits packages that he wants to mandate, and wouldn't use the "contract labor" dodge to avoid the obligations he says are Right and Just.

  • Megan||

    Okay, I get it, finally! (I wish I could delete all previous posts.) In order to fully understand the article, you need to understand the double entendre of the title. Sweatshops are, technically, individual workers or groups of workers agreeing to do a certain job for a certain price. Nothing wrong with that! This can lead to the situation that we usually refer to as sweatshops; ie, low wages, horrible conditions, etc. Obama and his like would probably refer to what Mage did as sweatshop labor b/c the govt wasn't involved in deciding his wages. Yet, they took advantage of his labors when needed. Sorry, I was a little slow and distracted today.

  • Megan||

    RC Dean, wish I had seen your post before I wrote all that. lol! Would have saved me the trouble.

  • ||

    RC Dean

    What is hypocritical about a libertarian publication using e-sweatshops for anything?

    I meant using the fear of sweatshops to make a cheap point.

    What is hypocritical about calling out hypocrisy?

    Nothing, but he should have posted the standard libertarian disclaimer sayin' sweatshops: NTTAWWT

    and wouldn't use the "contract labor" dodge

    Ah, but they aren't unionized - only card carrying unionized DNC supporters have rights in Obama's America. :-0

  • ||

    I suck at teh tagz

  • ||

    Because, on the one hand, he rails against exploitation of labor, while, on the other hand, he exploits (by his own terms) labor. This really isn't that hard.

    This is not an instance where minimum wage applies. The conditions have nothing in common with a sweatshop. Nobody's being exploited. It's some guy in the comfort of his home twittering his twat and using it as an excuse to whine about what an evil hypocrite Obama is. I like Obama and I can come up with better examples than this.

  • BakedPenguin||

    The guy is a writer. When he's not getting emails, he's probably oh, I don't know... writing or something. He probably took this job because he can do it at the same computer he writes at, and he doesn't have to leave his house.

    Jesus, is it really that hard to figure out?

  • High Every Body||

    The role of SugarFree began being played by domoarrigato @ 2:53pm

  • BakedPenguin||

    This is not an instance where minimum wage applies.



    If this were a single mother - in the exact same situation - I'd be willing to bet you'd see it as 'an instance where minimum wage applies.'

  • ||

    Libertarians get stupid when they have a Democrat to bash.

    How does minimum wage apply to a job that doesn't pay wages?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Oh, I'm an equal opportunity basher, Tony, which you'd know had you been around when Bush was in office.

    And you brought up the exact point - the job isn't paying hourly wages, which apparently it should.

  • ||

    How does minimum wage apply to a job that doesn't pay wages?

    How does a guy who goes around saying that social justice requires a minimum level of pay and benefits get off the hook for providing said pay and benefits on a technicality?

  • travman67||

    I think Gilbert Martin is Bizarro Joe.

  • Kreel Sarloo||

    Yes, leftists frequently rail against what they consider to be phony contract positions that they consider dodges to avoid observing wage and hour laws.

  • MaterialMonkee||

    Man I could do that job

    I spend most of the day pissing about on the web at work as research isnt the most labour intensive activity.

    One hour a day = 1 more pack of ciggies

    where do i sign up

  • bubba||

    You are paid by the amount of work not by the hour. When times are slow you should find other ways to be productive in other ways.

    On the one hand, it's difficult to do other, productive things when you are judged by how rapidly you respond to queries arriving at random times.

    On the other hand, if queries per unit time is important to this guy, maybe he should pick a shift when people are actually awake and submitting queries.

    Who the fuck is on the internet at 4 am that can't use Google?

  • ||

    How does a guy who goes around saying that social justice requires a minimum level of pay and benefits get off the hook for providing said pay and benefits on a technicality?

    I'm just saying there are plenty of reasons to call Obama a hypocrite that are better than this one.

  • Max D.||

    "This just in: Obama is a hypocrite. In other news, water is wet. Back to you, Jane."

  • Barry Loberfeld||

  • ||

    Don't forget that ChaCha consistently and regularly overestimates what they're paying people. They currently have a slew of new guides upset because they were told that guides make $3-9 an hour. Maybe 1% make anything over $5 and that's with some serious butt busting involved. And the 10 cents or 20 cents, no longer. NO matter how good the quality of your work, the majority of questions now range from 10 cents to 15 cents.

    ChaCha is using 1099 contractors to avoid the costs of taxes but even worse, the costs of paying a fair wage.

    If you complain you're told to go get a "real job" as if working for ChaCha has some special classification under "fake job so we don't have to pay much." Or better yet "ChaCha is only supposed to be pizza money." So maybe if Chrysler restructures they can just tell their employees that the jobs are only for pizza money.

  • ||

    Libertarians get stupid when they have a Democrat to bash.

    Tony obviously remembers the free pass we all gave GWB for years. The unwavering support for the McCain/what'shername ticket.

    How does minimum wage apply to a job that doesn't pay wages?

    Then he comes out in support of piece work.

    Giving a nod to dhex, that's sports bar politics at its finest.

  • ||

    Yeah. Liberals. Fuck 'em. Sheesh.

  • Fluffy||

    Don't get it twisted, though...I personally am slamming the author for working in that job. He could like, beg or fish out pennies on the street and make more money than 5 bucks in three-and-a-half-hours.

    Um...does everyone repeating this point here really, really not understand that the guy obviously signed up to be an expeditor on this site precisely to write this article? That he's doing a high tech Barbara Ehrenreich thing?

    Also - is anyone else surprised that Tony no longer believes in the dignity of labor when the person is self-employed?

    Some punk working at McDonald's = has dignity of labor, requires protection by multiple levels of government

    Some guy working for a fact-checking service = has no dignity at all, deserves no protection, is not actually a "laborer", gets the back of Tony's hand

  • ||

    Well, at least he got health care and other benefits... Sure he did.

    Wal-Mart is supposed to be the evil empire, but Obama hired these guys.

  • Dan Mage||

    For the record, I went out and got a "real job" at 7.50 per hour eventually. That 5.00 in three hours session was a bad stretch, I've been able to earn as much as 12.00 in that much time. I kept doing it for as long as I did because like many people I liked the idea of "working at home."

    I agree that I'm an idiot for working for them.
    This article was an afterthought, and I did not start working for ChaCha just to write it.

    Since when do libertarians demand that people "support the party line"?

  • ||

    "Since when do libertarians demand that people "support the party line"?"

    Since pretty much forever. They just can't agree on where the line is. But there must be no compromise!

    Libertarianism is the Asperger's of political philosophies.

  • SavinMaven||

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It's funny b/c I used to see ChaCha mentioned in various articles, online and in print, about how to find work from home opportunities. It doesn't sound like it pays enough to be considered anything more than a hobby.

    A quick glance at their site revealed many impossible questions. For example:

    "Do you know what street i live on
    What would alexa say if i asked her out"

    Do you get paid for answering questions like those? Were the earnings mentioned in the article after self-employment taxes?

  • Dan Mage||

    In 2008 I earned about 900.00 in 5 months. I had to pay 100.00 in taxes on it.

    Since I filed a joint return with my wife, this amounted to an annoying bite out of our refund.

    The job actually was fun sometimes, but it gets old after a while.

    In spite of this experience, I do think the government should stay out of the internet.

    ChaCha was never (obviously) my sole source of income, or I would have starved to death (as one wise and mature commenter suggested that I do). However, it seems there are a large number of people working for ChaCha with no other source of income right now. ChaCha's practices may be entirely acceptable under libertarian and free-market doctrine, but massive strikes and boycotts are too, at least in my opinion.

  • Dan Mage||

    Yes, you still get paid for answering stupid and impossible questions.

    If anyone wants a job with ChaCha, I think one will be opening up soon, as this article is probably grounds for termination.

  • MJ||

    "Libertarians get stupid when they have a Democrat to bash."

    Liberals tie themselves into absurd logical knots when they have Democrat to defend.

  • hank||

    whats the application process for chacha? Do you have to do an interview/training- or actually have any real life communication with the firm before commencing employment?

    I'm a student and thanks to the minimum wage law find it difficult to get work. This may be a good way to bypass the min-wage restriction.

  • ||

    Why did President (then-Senator) Obama pay his IT campaign employees less the minimum wage? Because he could get away with it, that's why!! Imagine the press if Senator McCain had done that. Hear the cries for indictment? But not The One.

  • ||

    Think about it like this. Obama sold the ideas of hope and change to America's desperate working and lower-middle classes. But it was only a campaign tactic.

    DUH.

    So, didja learn anything from this?

  • ||

    Let's see, on the one hand the guy accepted the job. On the other hand, he's mad that jobs like that exist. On the third hand the government shouldn't interfere in the market with programs like, say "minimum wage." On the fourth hand, he worked for Obama, voluntarily, whose political views he clearly despises.

    Got it, I think. Perhaps the Octomom could use some help? He seems to have the qualifications for it.

  • ||

    At $5/hr. you can probably earn enough to barely survive. You work hard, others benefit. Think slavery/payback. That's Obama's appeal. He convinces people to become slaves so that he can lead them to the promised land. It a pure revenge move. He and Michele are laughing their rear ends off--well, not her. There isn't that much laughter in the world.

  • Dan Mage||

    Rick, I'm not 'mad' about anything. I find this whole convoluted scenario more amusing than anything else.

    The money from ChaCha came in handy at the time. If I was exploited, I was 'self-exploited,' and eventually I did find better things to do. The whole episode just seems symbolic to me; I doubt seriously that Obama knew anything about ChaCha's employment practices.

    I don't despise all of Obama's views, or Obama himself, what I don't like is that his loyalty is to the elite, just like any other politician's.

    I never stated anywhere that I'm opposed to minimum wage laws, in fact I've worked for the minimum wage so many times that I doubt I could say I'm opposed to minimum wage laws and keep a straight face.

    I'm too broke to be "politically correct" in my choice of employers at this point. I can't "wipe my ass with five dollar bills," as the very wise and mature commenter 'Episiarch' does, (his ass must be kind of sore by now).

    I admit to finding contradictions in my own views and puzzling over them daily, and I look with envy to all the people here who know everything already, and never have to question their own thinking.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    "On the fourth hand, he worked for Obama, voluntarily, whose political views he clearly despises."


    Hmmm ... no. He worked for Chachawhatever. And you must be an Indian god with that many hands.

  • Mike DeSoto||

    "I look with envy to all the people here who know everything already, and never have to question their own thinking."

    Stick around here and you'll learn the answers to all the worlds problems.

    Of course, the answers will contradict each other. But they will be proffered with an air of absolute certainty.

  • ||

    This guy blows the hell out of the notion that some people can't be paid what they're actually worth because of the minimum wage law.

    I believe he was overpaid.

  • ||

    Gosh...now some of the fools are just finding out they were fooled....I think some famous Russian once called them "useful idiots"....
    They wanted change ! They got it !!

  • Dan Mage||

    It's also very encouraging to see that so many middle-school aged males are taking an interest in a publication like reason. It gives me real hope for the future.

  • G. Jimenez||

    Writer??? working for less than 3 bucks an hour??? self-esteem handicapped??

  • ||

    No one seems to have mentioned that Dan Mage [almost certainly] didn't take that campaign job in order to support his family. The whole "living wage" thing is aimed at jobs that people actually do all year 'round, year in, year out, to support their families. It's. Not. The. Same. Thing.

    Also, I'd like to jump in the dogpile asking why the hell an allegedly libertarian mag publishes a piece bitching about someone's own exercise of his right to contract. And no, that is not a reading-comprehension fail. That bitchery sets the emotional tenor for the whole piece and is a linchpin in its alleged logic. The back of my hand to those who think noticing this is somehow a problem on my end.

    The article finishes up with the usual libertarian nonsense. My head is still spinning trying to figure out how workers 'stand up for their interests' in a libertarian system. Whoo boy.

    None of this is meant to particularly defend Barack Obama, btw. It's meant to attack that ridiculously poorly-thought-out column. Reason, my ENTIRE ass.

  • Bronwyn||

    I signed up for ChaCha two weeks ago. After an hour or so of questions and a twice-crashed computer, I said, "to hell with this."

    I knew it wasn't worth it from the start, even if I managed to earn $0.18 on the highbrow questions on which I can specialize.

    The pay-out method is not one I'm comfortable with, either.

    Meh. If I'm really bored and don't feel like knitting, I'll sign in and answer a few. I've earned high quality ratings.

    My favorites:
    Q: What is a good way to meet a fat girl?

    A: Colorado is the leanest state in the union, so an overweight woman may be hard to find. So you'd better be sweet to her when you do! Show her that you would like to get to know her and you were happy to meet her or talk to her. Chunky ChaCha!

    and

    Q: What happens when you take breast enhancement pills and then quit using them?

    A: Since breast enlargement pills are essentially hormonally based, any effects on breast size will disappear when you stop taking the pills. Be careful, as these pills have not been studied for safety! As a nursing mama, I know what it's like! ChaCha!

    Meh. It's an amusing diversion, but not much else.

  • Bronwyn||

    17 questions, at about 4 minutes each (damn slow browser) comes to 68 minutes.

    Total earnings: $2.69

    Woo... ?

  • confused||

    I am also a ChaCha guide. Maybe i missed something, but Obama was just a paying advertiser like any company would be. We are not, nor ever were, "workers" for the Obama campaign. At least nobody told this lifelong Republican.

    Most of the advertising I've seen on ChaCha text messages is from big companies like Coke and WalMart and Lifetime TV. And most of the users are teenagers asking silly questions.

    So I think the writer is making some huge leaps trying to tie ChaCha and Obama together.

    It'd be like saying every TV station that ran Obama ads were just campaign pawns. The guy had money, he spent it advertising in conventional and uncoventional places (ChaCha), end of story.

  • Federale||

    What do you expect from leftists? Lenin shot all the sailors from Kronstadt and leftists will do the same with all you libertarians. You got what you wanted, now reap the rewards. But I think you might get your marijuana, so you will all be happy. Because that is what libertarianism is all about, drugs.

  • Dan Mage||

    ". My head is still spinning trying to figure out how workers 'stand up for their interests' in a libertarian system. Whoo boy."

    General Strike

    Speak to "The Market" in the language it understands.

  • Dan Mage||

    IN RE

    "Also, I'd like to jump in the dogpile asking why the hell an allegedly libertarian mag publishes a piece bitching about someone's own exercise of his right to contract. And no, that is not a reading-comprehension fail. That bitchery sets the emotional tenor for the whole piece and is a linchpin in its alleged logic

    Misogynistic Jr. High playground name calling weakens your argument. When people like you attack me, I know I must be doing something right.

  • Dan Mage||

    IN RE

    What do you expect from leftists? Lenin shot all the sailors from Kronstadt and leftists will do the same with all you libertarians. You got what you wanted, now reap the rewards. But I think you might get your marijuana, so you will all be happy. Because that is what libertarianism is all about, drugs

    Well, yes, that's all I want, is some drugs. Other 'libertarians' seem to want me to support the party line. I thought only authoritarian leftists did that!

  • Dan Mage||

    IN RE
    "So I think the writer is making some huge leaps trying to tie ChaCha and Obama together."

    Admittedly so, and as I noted earlier, I doubt that Obama had a clue about any of it. It's just symbolic of what we have, which is more business as usual.

    "Socialism"? Hardly. Corporatism/pre-fascism... well maybe. Would McCain have done anything differently with regard to corporate welfare? NO

  • Dan Mage||

    IN RE 'Writer??? working for less than 3 bucks an hour??? self-esteem handicapped??'

    Heyyy, watch it, I'm getting a whole 7.50 an hour these days!

  • josh||

    i'm not normally a person who comments, but i just wanted to let you know that your article bored me within 3 paragraphs and never gave me any substance.

  • Dan Mage||

    IN RE :
    'i'm not normally a person who comments, but i just wanted to let you know that your article bored me within 3 paragraphs and never gave me any substance.'

    It's odd that the person who 'never comments' is the one who makes a legitimate criticism in an adult manner.

    You have distinguished yourself from an number of your peers here sir.

  • ||

    You are working from your home...if you are in a sweatshop, then it is because you make your home that way.

    You agreed to the terms upfront and nothing about the terms changed...your expectations were too high and you didn't negotiate a base minimum in case of slow times. You fail at free markets.

    Sounds like you want a government program to ensure fairness...tsk tsk tsk. Ayn Rand must be spinning in her grave.

  • Dan Mage||

    IN RE
    "You agreed to the terms upfront and nothing about the terms changed...your expectations were too high and you didn't negotiate a base minimum in case of slow times. You fail at free markets.

    Sounds like you want a government program to ensure fairness...tsk tsk tsk. Ayn Rand must be spinning in her grave."

    True,

    ChaCha did not violate the terms of their actual contract with me, but they did advertise the position fraudulently; I have indisputable documentation of that, from ChaCha.

    It doesn't really matter though; I'm doing other things now.

    Ayn Rand would be spinning in her grave over a lot of things (although she would probably take exception to the use of that metaphor, given her contempt for all forms of mysticism),
    one of them would be the fact that conservatives and libertarians like to quote her, when she had little patience with either group. She did exhort people to think for themselves, and I see nothing but irony when fundamentalists and dogmatists claim her as their own.

  • Contract Laborer||

    Dude, are you serious? I know this is an old article, but I had to say something. As a ChaCha employee, you knew full well how the system works. You can sit in your underwear. You can bounce a baby on your knee. You can work for ten minutes out of every hour, while you play gin rummy on Yahoo if you want.

    It's pretty sick that you would lie about something to people without explaining the situation to them just because you were pissed that Obama bought advertising.

  • nike shox||

    is good

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement