You’re on your favorite website, and you’re reading stories about your friends, or you’re shopping for new shoes, or you’re playing the Google Pac-Man game in the office for the millionth time, when you see an ad on the side of the page. “Has science gone too far? Tell us if this picture is real and win $1000!” You laugh to yourself because you’d never be the person who falls for that obvious trick and has your time wasted, or worse, your identity stolen. These annoying ads have caused a lot of us to think there’s no real way to make money on the Internet. However, with a little ingenuity and entrepreneurship, it’s possible to make some great supplementary income on the web.
#1: Forget eBay, sell your stuff on Amazon
At some point, I think a lot of us have tried to make some spare money on eBay, only to be turned off by the confusing seller fees and the frustration that comes with having to relist your item after waiting days or even a week to see if your investment will pay off. I recently discovered the beauty of selling on Amazon.
When you need to buy something random, like a tub stopper or a video game no longer in production, what site do you think of? For me, that’s Amazon. And with Amazon seller accounts, you can literally sell almost anything you don’t need. Not only is Amazon more popular than eBay, you don’t have to deal with the stress of hoping your item sells before the auction ends. You just list the item in your store, and Amazon emails you when someone buys it.
#2: Mindsumo, creative thought challenges for college kids
Mindsumo was founded in 2011 and is backed by big-time Silicon Valley investors like Google Ventures. Basically, Mindsumo collaborates with businesses like Mercedes Benz and General Mills to propose creative challenges. This site is only open to college students with .edu email addresses.
For example, Mercedes Benz recently posted a challenge asking Mindsumo users to consider how their car and their home could further interact, as in, what information could your car give your home to make your life better, and vice versa? This website is pretty much the only one of its kind, and they’re serious about the rewards; users who have their solutions chosen can win prizes in the $150 range.
#3: Click and Watch Websites
These are interesting websites. They pay you to watch videos, to make searches, and to take surveys. The biggest website among these is definitely swagbucks.com. Swagbucks is well-known among circles of people who look for fiscal opportunity on the Internet. It’s difficult to succinctly describe Swagbucks, but you basically watch videos on their website, they make ad revenue and you get a cut.
If you’re new to the whole making money on the Internet thing and don’t want to trust a site you haven’t heard of with your time, you can also try Bing Rewards. It functions quite similarly to Swagbucks in that you get credits for making searches using the Bing search engine. Keep searching using Bing and eventually you can exchange your credits for gift cards.
#4: MTurk, Amazon’s Human Robots
In our modern world, robots have replaced humans in many tasks that they are more efficient in performing, like taking orders in some fast food restaurants and, possibly one day, driving our cars. However, there are some things that robots can’t adequately do yet, and that’s where MTurk comes in.
MTurk, or Mechanical Turk, is a marketplace for work that requires human intelligence. Automation hasn’t advanced far enough yet for reliable audio transcription or finding certain objects in a picture. Companies that need these easy tasks done post them to Amazon’s site and people perform the task if they are qualified. Becoming skilled at a certain type of job that is often posted means eventually you can move onto the jobs that require experience but pay more.
#5: Become a star on the site with the scariest users
You probably thought I was going to suggest that you become a porn star. Nope, I’m talking about YouTube, and anyone that’s ever read any YouTube video’s comment section knows exactly what I’m talking about. Yes, I said any YouTube video. Anyway, beyond the scary comments (that can thankfully be disabled) YouTube can be a great way to build an audience and make some extra cash.
Think about your favorite hobby. There’s a YouTube channel for that. A ton of people have money by doing “Let’s Play” video walkthroughs on their channels, which are literally just videos of the channel owner playing through a game, and providing commentary if they want to. There are women with channels who show you how to put on makeup and women who simply review makeup. These people are able to make a decent amount of money using YouTube’s ad system.
So, next time you’re on that favorite site of yours and see that science has gone too far, just ignore the advertisement and check if anyone has bought another item from your Amazon store. There are ways to make money online, but they usually aren’t as easy as the scams make it out to be.