Sort of a strange chart to make public, but I’m all about being transparent. Here is a chart of questions that people started but never paid for.
There has been a noteworthy decline in unpaid questions during the last 4 weeks, and these are the 4 weeks where we have been experimenting by putting our listing fees right up front, in the sidebar of the front page. So, making the listing fee obvious has cut down on the number of people who start a question, fill in all the info, and then abandon it when they reach the final step and see our listing fees. However,
this decline is also matched by a decline in the number of overall questions.
When we started the site, we thought perhaps it was best to hide the listing fee till the asker had already written out the question, as then the asker has emotionally committed to posting the question, and therefore they are more likely to pay, even if they dislike the idea of the listing fee. It looks like this theory was true. It looks like posting the listing fees in an obvious way is keeping people from giving the site a try.
There is some subtle psychology here. I’m guessing we would get a lot more paid questions if we had no listing fee, but instead took 10% from the experts. Right now, when a question comes in with a prize of $20, we charge $2.49 on top of that, so the asker pays $22.49. But we could instead take 12% from the experts; then the asker would pay $20, we would get $2.40 and the expert would get $17.51. We would possibly get a lot more business in that manner.
If we could encourage askers to offer better prizes (always a big if) then the experts would potentially end up with the same amount of money.
This is something we will have to experiment with. The message from the askers seems clear enough.