The first thought to cross most people’s minds when they hear about the concept of getting paid to surf the web is “that sounds too good to be true… it has to be a scam.” However, the reality of the situation isn’t that straightforward. Though there are plenty of dicey people out there looking to take advantage of those on the hunt for easy income streams, there are actually a number of genuine ways to earn money from your everyday online activities.
To help you avoid the pointless dead ends and dangerous pitfalls, we’ve done all the research and experimentation for you and condensed it down into this comprehensive guide. Here, you will find all the places you can legitimately get paid for surfing the web and how much money you can reasonably expect to make.
The 8 best ways to get paid for surfing the web
- Swagbucks – Surf the web using the Swagbucks search engine and you can earn money for data you once gave to Google for free. Use their app to watch videos, take surveys, and complete small tasks and you can bank the points up faster. These points can be cashed out via PayPal or exchanged for gift cards.
- InboxDollars – This site is much the same as Swagbucks, with a search engine that will pay you a small amount for your web browsing. Your earning potential can also be boosted by completing surveys and other activities.
- Bing Rewards – Bing is that search engine you know about but probably ignore in favor of Google. Frustrated by this, Microsoft (the creator of Bing) made the Bing Rewards program, offering points that you can redeem for cash if you switch over to their search engine.
- MyPoints – This company is owned by Swagbucks but is a little different. Instead of paying you to do web searches or take surveys, MyPoints pays you to play games and watch videos – basically, you get paid for entertaining yourself.
- Qmee – This app is great for people who aren’t ready to give up on Google. It works as an extension to your preferred search engine, showing you search results you can get a reward for clicking on and products you can get cashback for when you’re shopping online. You can also participate in surveys if you want to boost your earnings.
- Small Business Knowledge Center – This is quite a quirky way to make a small amount of pocket money (around $20 every couple of months). All you have to do is forward your junk mail and marketing emails to the SBK Center. They use these for research into marketing tricks and trends. The pay isn’t huge, but it’s deeply satisfying to monetize your junk mail.
- AskWonder – This one is for those of you with research skills who’d like to make a bit more than pocket money (up to $2,000 a month). AskWonder is an app that acts as a pocket research assistant. To achieve this, Wonder pays freelance researchers to craft well-rounded responses to questions from its users. Given the quality demands, you’ll need to pass some screening tests to be able to sign up. However, the pay is commensurate to the effort you’ll have to put in.
- Search Engine Evaluation – There are a number of user testing sites worth signing up for, each one paying roughly $30 an hour for you to talk your way through your experience on websites. To learn more about this, visit our how-to guide on getting started as a search engine evaluator.
Note: There are many other sites that offer to pay you for your online activity. However, we’ve left out all those that do the same things as the ones listed above but for lower rewards. We’ve also left out the ones that involve you installing software that runs in the background and tracks your activity because let’s face it, that’s kinda creepy.
If you’re happy to have these apps installed and tracking your movements in exchange for a bit of cash (it’s not like Google and Facebook aren’t doing that already anyway), then you can find them with a simple Google or Bing search. If you choose to do this, be sure to check out our guide for avoiding work-from-home scams to ensure you’re able to spot unscrupulous opportunities.
How much money can I expect to make?
The first seven options on our list will not make you a lot of money. The idea with these isn’t to get you rich, and you can’t expect to ever be able to live off your web activity alone. Instead, these companies offer you a way to monetize your everyday activities, thus giving you a small, supplementary income stream. And every little bit helps, right?
The last three items on the list, by contrast, can actually make you a decent amount of money per month. If you’re able to work a few of these opportunities together, you can do quite well for yourself, all from the comfort of your home office or a palapa on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast – whichever works best for you.
So, that’s everything you need to know about making money from browsing the web. If you’ve successfully used any sites that aren’t on the list, please feel free to share them in the comments. We only ever recommend options that we know to be legitimate, which means there will inevitably be a few sites we simply haven’t tried.
Good luck with your pocket-money-making adventures!