Make money using search – search engines that pay

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It’s such a common search term on Google “make money online searching” (or something similar) but let’s face it – you have to be slightly stupid to believe that such a thing genuinely exists. Think of the business model for PPS (pay per search). For a search engine to give you $0.01 for every search you make, they need to be making $0.01 or more just to cover the cost of paying you. How do search engines make money? The PPS model makes sense if the search engine is making users pay for inclusion – which wouldn’t happen anyway… Anyway, let’s look at what you can do.

You don’t get *paid* per search, but you get entries into draws
Enter Winzy – a “search engine” that attempts to offer some bonus for searching there. There are numerous things like Winzy but I’ve chosen it as my point of reference because they operate in the US, Canada and the UK (covering my readers more comfortably). Officially:

Every time you search at Winzy, you could win a prize like an iPod or an Amazon.com gift certificate. Winners are notified immediately after the search and there are several winners every day.

You also earn a Winzy point for every search (up to 30 daily) and 250 Winzy points for every friend you refer. At the end of every month, your Winzy points are entered into a sweepstakes where prizes worth thousands of dollars are given away, including more iPods, an Xbox 360, and $1000 cash.

Here’s a great bonus: if a friend you referred to Winzy wins an instant prize, you win the same prize!

So the logistics are that for every search you make you get entered into a prize draw. It’s apparently possible to win things like an iPod instantly (being notified as you make the search) but as you can probably tell I’m slightly skeptical.

The good parts about Winzy
It seems largely authentic, in that it doesn’t look like it was designed in Frontpage 6 years ago; it has an acceptable design and interface. The other good point is that it’s quite clearly using the Ask.com search engine as it’s base – which is good because that’s a real search engine. This means that your search results aren’t complete hogwosh. It’s not overly invasive either so you could viably use this as your full time search engine. So the added bonus is that you’re getting acceptable search results back with the bonus that you *could* win some cool prizes.

But…
But it’s not as good as Google, because no other search engine is. So being powered by Ask.com is little more than a nice gesture. I wouldn’t use Winzy because I value the quality of my search results. Remember the search engine pecking order: Google -> Yahoo -> Everyone else. The other thing that makes me stop on “but…” is that I don’t trust it. There’s something about the site that makes it feel like it might suddenly ask for your credit card number and I don’t find that a comforting aura to live in.

Why I won’t be registering
Feel free to give Winzy a visit and try and win some prizes, but I won’t be registering. Now it was to be expected that my cynical attitude would leave me suspicious of such a venture but I’ve sat and given this some thought. Where is the value in Winzy? How can they afford $3000 worth of prizes? The site isn’t monetized with adverts so the only profitable thing they have is YOUR information. It’s up to you if you register, but I’m a little suspicious…

So can you make money searching the Internet? Apparently so but not on a PPS basis. Most models I’ve seen are based on entering you into a prize draw each time you search (yet capping the number of searches you can make a day). A good idea? No, I think I’ll just stick with Google thanks.

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