The truth about work at home, affiliate, survey and internet marketing programs

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As a stay-at-home mom, I decided several years ago to try to make money working at home to help pay for our boys’ education. I have spent many late nights after they’re in bed, trolling the internet looking at a variety of work-at-home offers. I would judge at least 95% to be either complete scams or a waste of time and money. Most of these are selling informational ebooks and, while you are getting an ebook for the money, most offer information that can be found for free elsewhere. Most fall into three or four categories: affiliate programs, paid surveys, internet marketing and data entry.

Affiliate programs

Affiliate programs will merely tell you that many internet companies such as Amazon and Ebay offer affiliate programs–that is: these companies will pay you a commission for sending them customers usually through a link on your website. Yes, you can make money this way but you don’t have to pay for someone’s ebook on how to do it, and it is not that simple to do as they make it sound. You still have to get traffic to your website or ad listing or wherever you have your link. This has to be the single most difficult thing to do on the internet.

Paid Survey

There are a lot of paid survey programs. Yes, you can make money with them, and again don’t buy an ebook about it. Also, some programs will make you pay for a list of companies that have surveys–don’t pay this either. The problem with paid surveys is 1) The amount of money is very small for most of the surveys (although they will entice you with offers of $25 or more–I have personally never seen one this high) ranging from a few cents to maybe $3.00. Many surveys only offer reward points (you have to have so many to cash out) or sweepstake entries. 2) They often take 25 minutes or more to complete (too much time in relation to the payout, in my opinion). 3) There are lots of qualifications: I have often wasted time getting halfway through a survey only to have them say I’m not qualified for it. Often, you have to take a free trial offer that you have to pay shipping for and have to remember to cancel or you will be stuck with an outrageous bill of 49.95/month or more!

Data Entry

Avoid data entry programs. Most of these are scams. The ones I have seen claim that companies are looking for people to type in ads for them. They make it sound like you will be a freelance employee of these companies. In reality, they are merely going to tell you to become an affiliate and begin a Google pay-per-click campaign (this is the “ad typing” or “data entry”) which you have to pay for yourself. They will try to get you to pay for “support” or “mentoring” or “personal training” not to mention paying for this useless information as well as membership to their directory of companies.

Internet Marketing

There are lots of these–most are ebooks about internet marketing that you can resell. I suppose you could possibly make money on these, but again it’s about getting traffic. These programs generally tell you that you don’t have to sell anything, you’ll make tons of money, etc., etc. But they really are just about turning around and getting someone to buy your version of the program. They consist of a landing page, a thank you page and an ebook. You replace the Paypal button with your own (most don’t tell you how to upload the pages or change the buttons, so if you’re not technically savvy you just wasted your money). So suddenly you’re in the business of telling other people how they can make money by selling this landing, and thank you page and ebook. This is what I call the Great Roundabout on the Information Superhighway.

Making Money on the Internet

People do make money on the internet–by having a website selling actual products, selling on auction sites like Ebay (my sister makes money selling books), blogging (by having Google ads or being paid for reviews, etc.), writing, designing websites, programming, having a popular website or video and getting ad revenue, websites like Squidoo that share ad revenue, websites like Odesk where businesses have a project and freelancers bid on the project, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and other ways I probably don’t know about. The main problem that makes most of these difficult is getting customers or traffic.


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