How would you like to post a question about what ails you and get a doctor's answer for free? Or post a legal question and get a free reply from a lawyer?
That is the promise of Avvo.com, a free ad-supported website that offers a way for lawyers, doctors, and dentists to get new customers.
The answers they give to your questions are not confidential; this is more like a message board.
As in any field, the professionals who reply vary in quality.
Pearl.com is a similar site that offers professional advice for a price, typically between $15 and $30 per question. It offers assistance from experts in a number of fields, including doctors, lawyers, mechanics, veterinarians, computer techs, relationship counselors, and more.
The idea of getting free advice online is one that's going to grow. Of course, there will be issues with quality. But when the best alternative someone has is asking a friend who has no qualifications -- because they can't afford a consult -- this could be a reasonable way to at least get a starting point in answering your question.