Can you get paid for searching the web?
If so, how does it work? How to get started? How much can you earn in a day?
While learning about money online, you’ve probably stumbled with some of those ads:
- Earn $500 watching Youtube videos
- $100 a week doing online surveys
- Make $512 per hour copying and pasting
When you first hear it, you may think: “there’s no way that could be true!” And while some people earn that kind of money, there are many catches that stop you from earning the first dollar.
Do these companies pay you? All the time. Is it free, easy money? Maybe. Worth it? Different story.
But let’s not generalize: some platforms do pay well, and it doesn’t feel like work. This guide shows you how to find those opportunities and avoid the most common mistakes.
This is NOT for you if:
- You want to make good money fast
- You want to get the most value from your time
- You like saving money and only spend on the essentials
This is for you if:
- You consider yourself a habitual online shopper
- You spend plenty of time on social media, videos, and discussions
- You want an easy way to make money without a job
- How Do You Get Paid Searching the Web?
- The 5 Foolproof Ways To Get Paid For Browsing
- 3 Facts You Must Know Before Joining Free-Money Platforms
- The No.1 Way to Make Money Browsing?
- How To Efficiently Get Paid For Searching The Web?
How Do You Get Paid Searching the Web?
You get paid searching the web for any of the following:
- Watching videos/ social media pages
- Buying products
- Following people/subscribing/registering
- Sharing opinions about products and websites
- Playing videogames
- Visiting stores
- Searching for keywords
The 5 Foolproof Ways To Get Paid For Browsing
When something sounds too good to be true, you have to ask yourself: what’s this person getting from the deal?
Typically when something is ‘free’ or too good, it means you’re giving away something different than money. For a money-making website, it could be your time, data, and privacy. They then sell it to advertisers, and that’s how they pay you.
They pay you because:
- They’re making more money than you (indirectly).
- Their products gain more adoption. Businesses reward customers when they’re small to attract more people.
- They get more recurrent customers. Companies don’t mind losing money when selling you the first product. It’s easier to sell twice than once (same customers VS potential customers).
Now that you know why it works, here’s how to do it.
#1 Searching For Keywords
You can make money every time you visit suggested websites.
Let’s say you type “Mother’s day gifts” on Google. If you’re using an extension like Qmee, you’ll see a page list on the left (along with the reward). When you click on those suggestions, the rewards go to your balance.
While that sounds easy, it’s not repeatable at all:
- Most reward tasks appear typically when searching for purchase-related words
- The software can detect unusual activity, so you can’t cheat for rewards
- Most of the time, the rewards are so small and scarce that you’ll forget you have the app
Free money nonetheless.
#2 Watching Videos & Ads
Many advertisers pay people to watch ads. After all, most people never buy because they don’t watch for long enough to make the right decision. When marketers pay potential buyers to watch their ads, they’re already making high returns of investment.
For example, Brave rewards users with BAT tokens for ads displayed 1-5 times per day. This is a small browser that’s competing with Google. And while it may have better features, most users will switch because of the reward.
Swagbucks, InboxDollars, and FusionCash also pay you to “watch” ads. You can turn them on and do something else. With some apps, you can earn in the background for playing music or “running ads” on a black screen.
#3 Using Social Media
As you grow your social media following, that traffic becomes relevant for advertisers. You could earn affiliate commissions without having to push products to people.
There’s also a way to earn commissions where nobody has to spend any money. Also known as pay-per-lead, you get a money reward whenever someone moves to a sale:
- Creating a free account with real information
- Signing up for a 14-day free trial
- Leave a product review
While it’s not as high as sales commissions, it increases the number of people that will do it.
Now, affiliate marketing has a bad reputation because sellers want you to buy their product, whether you need it or not. What if instead of one product, you promoted dozens or hundreds? Now you have to decide which one is the best for that person, which creates more flexibility and trust.
For example, Amazon Associates pays you for bringing people to their site, regardless of what they buy.
#4 Buying Things Online
You may wonder, “how am I earning money if I spend more than what I earn?” There are a few ways:
- Re-selling: You buy the discounted product and sell it at average prices to someone else. You risk putting money down and finding a client for profit.
- Shopping surveys: If you have enough purchase history, there will be many surveys available to you. You might fill them up for money without having to buy anything.
- Cashback rewards: Some affiliates share their commissions with you. If you buy from the suggested retailers, your cashback may be above 10%.
If you worry you can’t resell later, the best you can do is buying products you like. Because if you’re buying it anyway, in the worst case, you saved money. Rather than being stuck with some trinket.
Closely related to shopping rewards is product feedback. Companies will pay you to rate their listings, even when you never bought from them.
For example, an online seller will refund your product plus $5 for leaving a positive honest review.
Some sites like Usertesting specialize in product validation. You would get a list of features to check, and then you record your screen while testing a website. If approved, you can earn $50+ per hour.
#5 Subscribing To Groups
Just like small businesses want to attract traffic, some people want to grow their personal brands. They do this by offering occasional discounts and giveaways. And since their followings are small, it’s not that hard to win.
Suppose you find dozens of people like these across social media. What if you spent 30 minutes applying for dozens of giveaways? You might not win, but there’s nothing to lose.
While some gift money, most will offer products (that you can resell). Others have promotions where you get a dollar reward for opening an account using their link. They’re all free, easy money.
Note: Claiming “free money” can be risky. Make sure you first learn how to recognize and avoid shopping scams.
3 Facts You Must Know Before Joining Free-Money Platforms
Is it worth your time? That depends on your goals and expectations.
Every company has its reasons to offer “free money.” It’s probably not to make you rich but to make you buy their products.
Chances are it’s going to take more time and work than you think. So is it worth chasing “free money” rather than building your career?
Before you answer this question, make sure you’re aware of what you’re going to find:
1. Nobody Pays You Just to Browse
We couldn’t find any company that pays properly just to search the web. And while Qmee/Brave browser pays for your searches, it’s so little that many wouldn’t call it money.
An alternative could be selling your data to companies ($1-10 per month at most). But it’s not worth it unless you spend years or track hundreds of people at once.
If you want more, you’ll probably need to buy a product or create some premium accounts. After all, companies pay customer rewards with the money their customers pay. Companies want to reward customers, not make you money.
2. Most Platforms Use Misleading Advertising
Money websites are supposed to sound good. It’s easy to register, and within five minutes, you already earned 100 credits. But it doesn’t take too long to find out the hurdles.
Unless you’re earning your first dollar online, I’m sure you’ve found any of these “rules”:
- The minimum withdrawal limit is $100
- You can convert your currency to gift cards (Paypal not supported)
- Anybody in the world can access the offers (but 95% of them go to a small demographic group)
Your first day may feel like easy, fast money. However:
- You may need +6 months to withdraw your money
- You may not be able to exchange for real money
- You will find zero offers most of the time (surveys, sponsored results, video ads)
Companies make it look better than it is. For example, Swagbucks boasts of having distributed $600 million to their users. How many? The site doesn’t mention it, but it should be around 10 million.
If you do the math, that’s about ~$70 of lifetime earnings. Remember there are demographical preferences, and many people give up before reaching the withdrawal minimum. Most people won’t cross $100 per year.
It only makes sense it if takes little time or is 100% passive.
3. It’s More Time Consuming Than It Seems
These websites hook you in with strong first impressions. It makes you expect that kind of money every day when in reality, you earn nothing most of the time.
If you’ve tried surveys, you may have spent more time searching for them than completing them. You may need to grind low-reward tasks while someone living in NYC or LA gets the best deals. This applies whether you’re doing surveys, using Qmee, or selling data.
Unless you resemble the company’s ideal customer, don’t expect anything amazing.
Even as a customer, getting paid takes time. Companies want to wait 7-30 days, as long as the refund guarantee lasts, to make sure you’re not cheating. Assuming you win the reward, withdrawals may take 14-32 BUSINESS days to process!
That excludes the weeks you’ll waste on customer support if the payment doesn’t go through.
So while anyone can make this easy money, don’t ignore all the time you’ll risk just to get the opportunity.
The No.1 Way to Make Money Browsing?
It couldn’t be simpler. Marketers reward customers because they BUY their products. If you start buying more, you’ll get rewarded too.
More than from searching on Google or filling surveys.
You may argue: “What if I don’t want the product? What if I don’t want to waste money?” Instead, look at it as working capital.
You could get that product, collect the reward, and then sell it to someone who needs it. The reward ensures you’re buying at a discount. Assuming you find the client, you profit.
AKA Retail Arbitrage. You can even sell the product to a client before buying it.
We’ve made a full guide to online arbitrage from $0 here. In a few words, it looks like this:
- You find high-demand, underpriced products on deal pages
- You list the exact product on another marketplace with a higher average price (e.g., eBay)
- When someone buys from your listing, you receive both the money and the customer’s shipping address. You buy from the deal page entering those credentials. Your buyer gets the product days later.
How does this help you get paid searching the web? It does when you install shopping plugins. For example:
- Qmee shows you suggested sellers when you search for shopping keywords. If you buy from them, you get a nice discount
- RebateKey is a product-launch platform. While browsing on Amazon, this extension will warn you if someone in RebateKey is giving away the product you searched for.
- Honey compares prices across all e-com platforms and points you to the cheapest one.
You don’t need to search for a product. While you’re searching the web, as usual, these apps will show if there are any offers for you.
Pro Tip: Most eBay products sell organically within 3-7 days. But when using ads, you only pay when the customer buys, not for the click!
How To Efficiently Get Paid For Searching The Web?
Let’s say you don’t have anything productive to do today. Wouldn’t it be great if you could make $50-$100 after spending a few hours on money websites? While it’s possible, it’s not straightforward.
You may notice there’s no “best way to get paid for searching the web.” Because if everyone could get easy money, it wouldn’t be sustainable.
Based on the limitations discussed before, here’s how you can maximize your side income:
- Sign up on as many platforms as possible. While $10 per month isn’t a lot, that’s just one site. Nothing stops you from joining similar platforms and get more deals (only use one account per platform to avoid ToS issues).
- Find the right time to hunt deals. It’s not worth spending 4h a day when you can earn almost the same for one hour working on weekends. That’s enough time for advertisers to join the platform and create new deals.
- Turn on push notifications to arrive first. Be the first to meet the opportunity when there’s a new offer or giveaway. If you get a chance to make money fast, why not take it?
Getting free money may be easy, but often not worth it. You either need lots of patience or find a legal way to exploit the system. Then, the company would either block your account or end the reward program.
But hey, if it only takes a few minutes a day, then why refuse? While $50 a month doesn’t compare to a $3,000/mo job, the first one may be more satisfying. Especially as your first dollar earned from the Internet.
Getting paid for searching the web can inspire you to make more money online (with real income streams, we hope).