‘Times’ Writer Nate Silver is Too Busy to Be a Paid Source on College Papers

fivethirtyeight main 1 Times Writer Nate Silver is Too Busy to Be a Paid Source on College PapersThe New York Times statistics savant Nate Silver’s column tells readers how to game airlines and pay-by-weight salad bars to save a few bucks. But the strategic Mr. Silver let a lucrative gig at ExpertInsight.com–a tech start-up that sells private video chat interviews with economists, tennis pros, poker sharks and more–slip away.

“How great would it be for a parent to just put their college kid in touch with Nate Silver for an in-depth and first-hand reference for a poli-sci paper?” asked a press release from the site. It would be great for Mr. Silver, who was slated to earn $1,000 an hour, minus ExpertInsight.com’s cut. 

“The opportunity to chat one-on-one with Nate Silver is a one-of-a-kind event, so it’s no surprise that his chat goes for a staggeringly high rate,” wrote site founder Brandon Adams.

When reached for comment, a representative for ExpertInsight.com told The Observer that Mr. Silver was no longer on the roster. Mr. Silver could not be reached for comment.

ExpertInsight.com’s custom video chat platform prevents the experts from having to arrange meetings privately, saving time and protecting the expert’s contact information, Mr. Adams added in a phone interview. Asked if the experts’ employers ever took issue with the site’s very lucrative time suck, Mr. Adams said it had been a problem “only at large newspapers.” A spokesperson for The New York Times said Mr. Silver had to withdraw when he “had a more thorough understanding of the extent of the commitment.” ExpertInsight.com said they have no minimum hourly commitment or quota for their experts. 

kstoeffel@observer.com