Avoiding scams while making money online
Summary: follow the money
How to recognize potential scams
- If you can't tell how the organization paying you makes its profit, avoid it.
- If you can make money simply by referring new users, its probably trouble.
Tips to verify non scamming methods
- Google the name of the operation your considering using followed by the word scam. If many reviews you get are about pitfalls you don't think you could avoid then said method may not be your method for making money online.
- Verify the site through organizations such as http://www.surveypolice.com/
The internet is scary;avoid scams by finding the angles
Everyone who is reading this no doubt is thinking to themselves "the internet is NOT scary." But it is. Lets face it, even now reading this blog, your hoping to take some advice from me, a complete stranger, who is claiming that he can help you make money from other complete strangers while avoiding scams, pitfalls, and wasted money and time. Think on that.
So lets take that awkward thought and use it to discover how easy it is to spot real scammers and real future business associates.
Find the Angle
If you can't tell how an organization profits monetarily from the work that is occurring then it's probably a scam. Whether they are trying to take your money or take some of your labor or information to sell without compensating you, its bad business. Period.
I make money off of the Advertisement traffic on many sites, including this one. I make more money if I get more traffic, and the more links there are to my hubs the more money both myself, and hubpages together make. Myself and hubpages are both clearly making money, and it is also in both of our interests to have more readers, so its in everyone's best interests for me to honestly help you out. By establishing how everyone in the transaction benefits we now can see this hub is a probable trustworthy source. And now that you know my angle I'm not just some creepy stranger on the web looking for subscriptions; I am a business man offering a service and clearly making a profit. Understand the companies and websites you intend to try to make money WITH and understand that it is a partnership and the internet revenue game is suddenly less scary.
More obvious and also more common scams involve charging a saved credit card for services without making it obvious the charge is occurring; the legendary "Hidden Fees" scam. Any company that saves credit information without plainly stating why, or that requires you to agree to pay for something you can then cancel is probably out to take advantage of something in the End User License Agreement that none of us read and should be avoided. Protip; if you do get caught in one of these scams you have probably also agreed to submit to legal arbitration in a distant state; so don't bother contesting the issue, just deal with it quickly.
Likewise avoid the legendary Pyramid Schemes. If anyone claims you can make money or increase the amount of money you make SOLELY by getting referrals its either a scam or a non sustainable operation. Remember the rule FIND THE ANGLE. If its not clear how everyone makes money off of every step on the chain then something is wrong.
There are a number of sites, especially bitcoins(see more about bitcoins here) payout faucets, that pay you small amounts of money for repeatedly entering captcha codes. Easy work and a little bit of bank, sure. Most of these sites are not scams in and of themselves, but you really need to be aware of how these sites make money, find the angle right?
Most of these sites make money by selling the captcha code entry to people who run programs that make bots, the captcha codes are linked from a million different sites making fake email accounts and buying tickets to shows at live venues. Taking advantage of pay per captcha entry is generally assisting ticket scalpers and spam bots, its not scamming you, but it is helping scam someone else.
So what IS safe?
This question is a pretty difficult one in all honesty, but there are a few tried and true methods.
First off, if the site or company has a relationship with google adsense then its probably good. That's the easy one because adsense connects the income stream for you, they make it easy to Find the Angle; additionally google adsense maintains some pretty strict rules on its participants to ensure consistent behavior. But google adsense generally only applies to blogging and other content creators and going out on a creative limb and writing creative content is not for everyone.
There are several ways to check up on potential sites. If your not using adsense as your main indicator for reliability then chances are what your looking for are survey sites, most of these pay out in the form of gift certificates or paypal deposits. Do a google search for "_______ scam" where blank is the name of the site you are considering using to make some extra income. This will often bring up the WORST of reviews about the site you are considering. Remember that many survey sites make offers from other sites that are not directly affiliated; often the unaware can be caught in a scam that another organization originated. Don't hate, just examine the reviews as impartially as possible and try to figure out who was at fault. If the review writer had been more cautious about finding the angles would he have been caught in the scam; and most importantly, could YOU avoid that pitfall?
If the answer is yes it ought to be good, and if it isn't the survey police keep up to date info and can help you out. http://www.surveypolice.com/
Scam Identification Quiz
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Sites with personally proven results
Lets close this hub taking an analysis of two proven profitable sites, one easy, one not so easy to identify as scams or not using the Find the Angles methodology
Tellwut.com is a site where users post their own single or multi-question surveys. Users are awarded points for answering other user's questions and those points are redeemable for products and gift cards.
Where does the money come from? Its not immediately apparent who's making money but surveypolice have rated this site as a top site for paid surveys. Registration is very brief on this site and they ask for no payment information, or even any real personal identifying information, so it is not a risk to register and get more information.
After being registered at Tellwut for a few days it becomes apparent how they make their money. FIrst off, there are ad bars EVERYWHERE on the site, so just the targeted adds from user interested surveys will generate revenue. Secondly you will get emails to join other survey Panels; each of these panels is paying Tellwut just to get access to their email list. Thirdly, Tellwut commands a wealth of aggregated data immediately at hand on every single topic their users have posted that new companies can buy to help gather market information quickly.
Tellwut is a very short form approach, its opposite in number is Webanswers; they focus on more detailed questions and answers.
Webanswers is a question and answer site similar to yahoo ask that requires Google Adsense to receive payment. That is a big obvious sign that the site is a reliable company. Webanswers also has a referral system but it is NOT a system of payments, but rather an increase in the amount of add traffic credited to you. Each step of this system passes the Find the Angles Methodology, and it is vetted by Google Adsense.
I hope this has been useful to some of you, feel free to add comments or concerns or topics that you would like further addressed. I look forward to hearing from everyone!