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17 April 2003

This week I signed up as an Advisor at keen.com. Got my own home page: http://www.keen.com/Tim+Chambers. If you aren't a member, I recommend you take advantage of keen.com's offer to take a $5 credit with the advisor of your choice. I hope you choose me. I offer advice regarding Perl, and I can surf the Web for you when you're away from your computer. Visit my Keen home page to see details.

I am still working on my taxes and needed to understand some things in areas I've never had to deal with before. I'm using TurboTax on the Web, who has joined up with www.keen.com to offer live tax advice. Keen is offering the same deal to non-TurboTax users, though: $19.95 for 10 minutes of tax advice. Yesterday I decided to give it a try. I was so impressed that I was compelled to write this article to recommend it to others.

It's a very clever system. I registered and paid via credit card. Then I picked an advisor to talk to. Each advisor has an ID and is listed under their chosen topic. They can show a picture, and they can advertise their expertise with a one-liner. They all have detailed pages, too, where they list their credentials (checked by AbsoluteBackgrounds.com) and where they can tell you more about themselves. Every advisor is rated from 1 to 5 based on the average of individual ratings, and you can read the comments from each individual who rated the advisor. The interface tells you the per-minute rate, whether the advice is live or recorded, and availability (call now, busy, away, or schedule a call).

I used live advice and called a 5-star CPA who was available. It's easy. Keen does the connection. Their Web site is integrated with their phone system. I clicked on a button saying I was ready to call, then they called me and connected me with the CPA. I also tried it on a shared dialup line. In that case, the Web page says it detected a busy signal, tells you to disconnect, and calls you again. Note that the Keen system eliminates busy signals. Any advisor who says he or she is available is ready to take your call immediately. That's something I haven't encountered before!

I'll revise this article if I use them again. They have a whole directory of advisor categories. I am also going to look into what it takes to be listed as an advisor and will write about that.

Meanwhile, if you decide to try it, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me refer you. They offer a $5 credit to new users in any case. (At least, that's the offer at their Web site today.) But if I refer you, I get a $25 credit. If you don't want to give out your real e-mail, you can disguise it with www.sneakemail.com, or sign up for a free POP e-mail account at www.hotpop.com. Then send a message to me at h9wgndg02@sneakemail.com (see, I use sneakemail myself!) specifying the e-mail address where you want your invitation sent.

In summary, please let me refer you to keen.com. You'll get a $5 credit to try out the service, and I get a $25 credit for referring you.

Alternatively, if you found the information in this article valuable, would you consider "tipping" me via one of these three options?

Information Has Value: Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More
Information Has Value: paydirect.yahoo.com

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with keen.com, sneakemail.com, or hotpop.com in any professional way. I am merely a satisfied registered user of their services.

This document is www.purl.org/NET/tbc/writing/keen.htm. If you would like to join in the discussion, post a comment at Kuro5hin: www.kuro5hin.org/comments/2003/4/11/24043/3093.

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Document Author: Tim Chambers (h9wgndg02@sneakemail.com),http://alum.mit.edu/www/tbc/

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