What are the worst ways to make money online? Actually there are plenty. It is not hard to make money online when you know what you are doing. However, the main problem is, many people who are new to this area are not sure how to go about it. Millions of people dream of making a living online but few accomplish it. Part of the reason is that they get caught up in these myriad different ways that promise to help them make money online but are little more than scams. As a beginner, it is very important to know the right approach and method that will make money for you. Do not make the mistakes of taking up one of these worst ways to make money online -
1. Paid to Click (PTC)
This is perhaps the worst way to make money online ever designed. The reason it is popular is because it requires absolutely no skill, no commitment, no investment, no risk taking and no real effort to learn. It is then not surprising that the returns are so low. The way PTC or paid to click works is that you need to click on an advertiser link and be on the page for 20-30 seconds, after which you will get anywhere from $0.001 to $0.01 per visit.
If this were a job, you would perhaps need to work 100 hours a day to feed your family. The amount of money that you can make is surprisingly small. The payouts are deliberately made to be high so that many people can drop out. Actually it isn’t that high – say $10 is the norm but then to reach $10 you need 1000 clicks, which is about 1000 minutes of your time, including the loading of the pages and everything else. That is about 16 hours of work for $10!
As you can see, all you need to do is just click on sites and visit advertisers. There is nothing else that you need to do. You don’t require any skill and there is nothing to work smart. They do have some incentives for referrals but that is a low and hard process in itself. Worse, many of them don’t even have Paypal payments but will instead pay you through AlertPay or Liberty Reserve which make it extremely hard to transfer even the $10 to your bank account.
What is surprising is that PTC is one of the worst ways to make money online, yet people flock to it very often, especially the beginners who know no better. I wish I could gather them all and teach them a thing or two about real ways to make money online!
2. Paid to Surf
Paid to surf is another pathetic way to try to make money online. There can be manual surfing or auto-surfing where you need to install a software. The reasons are similar to the ones given above – the amount of money you can potentially make is very less. Paid to surf pays less than paid to click, so you can imagine that you might need to spend an eternity doing nothing to get paid with these programs. It is not really a way to make money.
In rare cases, you might want to use paid to surf programs to drive traffic to your site (of course you must beware never to use programs like Google Adsense in these sites, otherwise you will be banned) for whatever reason. This traffic will almost never convert but you might want higher traffic stats for whatever reason. Even then, it is one of the worst ways to make money online.
3. Pyramid or Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) Schemes
These are nothing but scams. Pyramid schemes continue to flourish, especially on the internet in spite of their notoriety . I would say these are worse than the above two because at least in Paid to click and Paid to Surf, you don’t need to make any initial investment. In MLM marketing or Pyramid schemes, you are required to buy a worthless product and then promote it to your friends so they buy it and so on, and the people who join under bring you a commission.
There are very few genuine multi-level marketing programs but most on the internet are total scams. The products are inherently worthless and you are required to keep selling these worthless products to others. The point of pyramid schemes is that they are by design unsustainable and many people in the pyramid stand to lose a lot of money. The only people who really make money are people running it.
4. Online Data Entry Jobs
Don’t get me wrong, there are many genuine data entry jobs online, which is to be expected. However, most of the advertisements that you see require you to “buy” an initial package for say $49.95 only. This is ridiculous. If you really want genuine data entry jobs, try Elance or oDesk. These online data entry jobs will again need you to sell these packages to friends, which is kind of like a pyramid scheme again. Since these offer no real jobs and need you to pay upfront, these are one of the worst ways to make money online because it is totally misleading.
5. High Yield Investment Programs (HYIP)
These are classic Ponzi schemes. You would be surprised by the number of people who think they can get something out of nothing. All HYIPs are scams, without exception. If only people would think with a clear head before “investing” their money in these programs.
Anyway, the typical sales pitch for HYIPs is that they need to money to invest in some very technical and complicated investments or Forex trading. Then, they claim to give you extraordinary rates of interest. Many years ago, it was akin to “double your money in a month” but now it is more “believable” about 10-15% a month. Still, this is just a ponzi scheme and there are no investments that guarantee this return. After a saturation point is reached, the site will wrap up with all the money.
Bonus. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a crowdsourcing microtasking platform where digital workers spend their time doing digital tasks … for a few pennies. Tasks typically take 10-15 minutes at least, and you’ll get paid about 10-15 cents on those on an average. You’d be lucky to make $1/hour, and $2/hour is probably the maximum anyone can make. As to why so many people actually work there, that has even baffled the experts who are actively researching this. Don’t become one of their subjects!
So these are some of the worst ways to make money online. If you are aware of other common newbie traps, do comment and let me know and I’ll include those in further posts.