Tag Archives: free ways to make money

Review of Vindale Research: Is it a Scam?

Is Vindale Research a scam? In a word, “No”. I joined them in 2010 and have successfully cashed out my earnings twice there. Therefore, I conclude that they are not a scam. This certainly doesn’t mean that they are perfect.

Here are some of the things that I like about Vindale Research:

• They are free to join with no membership fees.
• They credit your account with cash. You don’t have to convert points to cash dollar amounts in order to figure out what you earn per action.
• It is super easy to make money there.
• They have a referral program, so that members can make more money.
• Members receive credit for some of their activities immediately after they are completed but sometimes it can take a few days to receive the credit. It takes much longer to get credit or reimbursement after completing product evaluations.

You certainly don’t need to spend any money to make money with Vindale Research. Members can earn money for free in the following ways:

• Complete studies (what I consider market research surveys through a third party company)
• Watch Videos: they pay around $.02 (most lack variety)
• Reward Mail: Earn a few pennies by reading e-mails. They don’t send them often. Also make sure that Vindale Research is added to your contact list so that the e-mails don’t go to your spam folder.
• Photos: Take a picture of yourself holding your payment check or a sign stating that they paid you and upload it to their site and they pay $5 for that.
• Print and redeem coupons through the Daily Deals section
• Refer others to join Vindale Research. At the time of this blog post, you can earn up to $5 per referral.

There are a few things which I don’t particularly care for with Vindale Research. One, being that they sometimes do not pay according to their own schedule. Two, the panelist support is not very good. Sometimes their support is not very responsive to questions that you have about late payments, survey crediting, etc. On more than one occasion I didn’t receive the proper credit for some surveys that I completed from start to finish. So, I e-mailed their support. The response that I received was not helpful at all. It appeared to be ambiguous, automated or script-like, with no solid explanation as to why I had not been paid.

The panel support basically tells you that if the third-party administrator of the survey doesn’t accept the panelist’s survey results, then the panelist won’t be paid. This tells me that Vindale Research is probably not a market research company in the traditional sense, but rather a third-party between the panelist and legitimate market research companies. They also help other companies to generate leads.

They list offers or product evaluations as “market research surveys”, which I find to be somewhat misleading. The way that some of these trial offers and product evaluations work is that a member can participate in the evaluation or trial offer through links advertised on the website. After a certain amount of time has lapsed (trial offer period), the member is reimbursed for upfront payments. Some members complain that they aren’t reimbursed after signing up for trial offers or completing product evaluations.

They have had numerous complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Then again, this in and of itself doesn’t make them a scam. Vindale Research is owned by a company called Say For Example, Inc. which was established in 2005.

It is hard for anyone not intimately involved to know what has happened in each particular case filed with the BBB. In fairness to Vindale Research, they state in their terms of service that they will not pay for fraudulent transactions or situations where the member does not complete actions (for example, cancels an offer before a specified amount of time).

The payout minimum is really high at $50. I am a member of some market research companies that have payout minimums as low as $10. There are only two pay periods per month. They pay in batches of $50. So, if you accumulate $55 in your account, you can redeem up to $50 and $5 will remain in your account. They pay members through PayPal or check. According to their FAQ’s it’s supposed to take a few business days after redeeming to receive payments, but that hasn’t been my experience.

The studies through third-party market research companies pay is usually very low and in fixed amounts.

Signing up for offers and doing product evaluations on Vindale Research. Here’s my take:

1. I am not a huge fan spending money in order to earn money on these types of sites. There are other websites like Swagbucks, CashCrate and SendEarnings that will pay their members to sign-up for free offers. Most of these offers don’t require members to provide personal information beyond name, physical address and/or valid e-mail addresses. Understand that the companies that make offers or trials on these types of websites are marketing their products or services. The main goal is to get more customers or prospective customers. I don’t see anything wrong with this. However, be vary wary and cautious of any marketer or offer requesting banking information, credit card numbers, date-of-birth or social security numbers.

2. In the remote chance, that I were to sign up for a trial offer or product evaluations that required upfront pay:

a) I’d make sure that I were signing up for any offer or service that is useful and truly interests me.

b) I’d make damned sure that I were signing up for an offer with a reputable company and that I understood all of the terms that go along with that offer. Do your due diligence with scam review and government websites and read consumer product and service reviews prior to making any purchases. You can find out more about the terms by reading up on it at their third-party website. This will reduce the chances of providing personal information to a spammer or scammer.

My overall conclusion is that they aren’t a scam but not really a great place to make money on the internet. Don’t expect to make a living off of this site. Any money earned there is merely pocket change. Join Vindale Research at your own discretion.

How to Make Money on Zazzle

Zazzle is one of my favorite money making websites.  It is a company that offers custom designed and print-on-demand merchandise.  It was founded in  1999 and is headquartered in Redwood City, California.  It is a very reputable and well-known e-commerce company in its industry.  Zazzle gives people in countries outside of the US the opportunity to earn money with other websites besides Zazzle US.  Even major brands like Hallmark and Disney sell merchandise on the platform.

There are three ways to earn money on Zazzle:

As an associate (affiliate) promoting other members’ products or your own merchandise

As a designer, creating and uploading your own images

As a manufacturer of merchandise

This post is mainly for people who are interested in making money as designers and associates.

Zazzle is a great place to make some money and being a designer or associate comes with many benefits. First of all, it is free to join. There is no physical inventory for members to store or manage. There is no manufacturing or special equipment needed as, Zazzle handles this part of the process. They also handle payment processing, customer service, packaging and shipping of the ordered merchandise, at no additional cost to the sellers.  There may be occasional direct questions to designers from interested customers regarding your merchandise.  So, it helps to have a great deal of knowledge about what you have to offer in order to better serve the customer.

The way that it works for a designer is that he or she opens a Zazzle store. It is a virtual store of inventory displayed on Zazzle’s website. The designer is responsible for choosing the products to place the designs onto. Each time that a customer makes a purchase from the store, the designer is paid a royalty.  The designer can set their royalty rates from 5% to 99%.  However, Zazzle charges a 5% transaction fee on royalties of 15% or greater.  Therefore, royalties between 5% and 10% are recommended.

For associates, a 15% royalty is earned when a sale is made. Many designers and associates promote Zazzle products on their own websites or via social media sites like Pinterest.  Associates who make referral sales may be eligible for Volume Bonus earnings. At the present, the payment threshold is $100 for payments by check and $50 by PayPal in the US.

The best part of all, is that there is the potential for residual income as long as your products are listed on Zazzle. The website domain has been around for a long time and has lots of Google juice.  Zazzle webpages usually turn up on the first page in Google SERPs.  This means that people from all over the world may see your designs.  You never know when someone will randomly decide to purchase a product that was listed months or years ago. That is the reach of the internet.

There is no need to be pre-approved for an account or for image submissions.  Also, the designer retains the copyrights to any original images that he or she creates and submits to Zazzle.  Some people use royalty free images in the public domain for their designs.  Using another artist’s designs without permission is not allowed and may be considered as copyright infringement.  Keep in mind that certain types of images are prohibited on Zazzle.  So, be sure to read all of their terms of service agreements and policies.

You don’t need to be a professional artist in order to sell your designs on Zazzle.  There are many amateur designers who take their own photos with an inexpensive digital camera or smartphone.  Then, they edit the images using free or low-cost editing/designing programs like Windows paint, Picmonkey, GIMP and Photoshop Elements.  Although you don’t have to be an artist, original, unique and creative designs will certainly boost your sales.  Expensive design and editing software programs and photography equipment are not required (but they can certainly help you to stand out as an artist).

These are some of the types of items that designs can be placed on:

  • Mugs
  • T-shirts
  • Posters
  • Pens
  • Mousepads
  • Skateboards
  • Smartphone cases
  • Laptop cases
  • Pillows
  • Postcards
  • Postage stamps
  • Stickers
  • Key chains and Name tags
  • Button and pins
  • Hats and neckties
  • The list goes on…

You will probably not get rich from Zazzle, but it is possible to earn a decent living there.  In order to be successful, you have to be serious about it from the start and treat it like a business.  That applies with just about any money making venture.

Make It Your Own

How to increase your chances of success with Zazzle:

One of the keys to success is to work hard to build up your catalogue of high-quality designs and products. Create unique products that will distinguish your products from those of other designers.  If you just follow the crowd and upload typical photos of pets, the beach, or flowers, then you won’t make as many sales.

Add more designs and more products to your Zazzle store to increase your chances of making sales.  It’s really a numbers game and you shouldn’t expect to make many sales with low volumes of products or poor quality designs.  A seller with 100,000 products is much more likely to make consistent sales than a seller with a few hundred products listed. Bare in mind that a single design can be uploaded and placed on several products.

Do keyword research in order to find low-competition niches and avoid saturated niches. Always use accurate and relevant keywords, titles and descriptions so that the products will be discovered in Google and search engines. Zazzle has a search function similar to Google.  Having product listings with accurate descriptions, titles and keywords will help the customers to find your products.

Many Zazzlers are having success by promoting products on Pinterest and Facebook. So, find some ways to get the word out about your products both online and offline.

Make Money By Answering Questions with WebAnswers

make money answering questions on WebAnswers

Do you like to write? Do you enjoy trivia? Do you consider yourself to be a fact junkie? Then you could make money by asking and answering questions at WebAnswers. This is a website very similar to Yahoo Answers.   The main difference is that WebAnswers is a revenue sharing website and their members get paid for participation. It is free to register and ask questions.

Members get paid through Google AdSense.   Members can either set up a new AdSense account through WebAnswers or link to an existing AdSense account. New members need to answer at least 50 questions before they are eligible to link their AdSense account to WebAnswers. Once there is $100 or more accumulated in the AdSense account, the member is paid by Google.

 

More detail about AdSense Earnings on WebAnswers

Quality Score

Each contributing member is given a Quality Score rating. The more thorough and accurate answers that you provide, the higher your Quality Score will be. Quality is much more important than the quantity of questions answered.   Quality Scores get a boost when answers are lengthy (not just a few sentences), logical, and written in proper English grammar and spelling.

 

WebAnswers does not reveal exactly how they determine members’ Quality Scores. They won’t divulge the intricacies of the Quality Score system, since they don’t want any members attempting to manipulate the system. It is safe to say that your Quality Score is heavily impacted by level of participation and the quality and completeness of answers.
There is a direct correlation between Quality Score rating and the amount of money you will make. WebAnswers tend to show more ads with a member’s AdSense ID when their Quality Score rating is high. This translates into more AdSense impressions compared to members who have a lower Quality Score. More page impressions increases the possibility of more AdSense clicks on a member’s AdSense ads.

 

In order to get the most out of WebAnswers, you will need to be very active and participate regularly. Successful members stick to answering questions from topics where they are knowledgeable. The members who make the most money are the ones who provide very thorough, detailed answers to several questions per day. It goes almost without saying that members who participate seldom, do not make as much money as the most active members. So, quantity, quality and consistency are very important to the Quality Score rating and earnings potential.

 

Awarded Answers and Adsense earnings

When someone asks a question, they have the option to “award” one person who posts an answer to their question. The Awarded Answer is the answer that the asker chooses as the best answer.

A member makes a percentage on of the AdSense revenue from webpages displaying their Awarded Answers. The asker also earns a percentage of the adsense revenue until the question gets an awarded answer.

 

As mentioned before, members are paid through AdSense. The amount of money earned is based on factors such as the number of clicks to your AdSense ads, the number of page impressions, CPC (Cost per click), and eCPM. Certain advertisers are willing to pay more money per click from the ads that display on WebAnswers.   Ad categories such as Health, Legal, Finance, Beauty tend to have higher AdSense CPC (cost per click) and eCPMs.

 

Please understand that you aren’t allowed to click on your own ads or ask others to. This will get you kicked off WebAnswers and banned from the AdSense program. WebAnswers doesn’t tolerate plagiarized content on their website. Plagiarism could result in termination of a user’s account.

 

Copying and pasting is not allowed. They use a software which detects when users have copied and pasted a group of text from somewhere, even word processing software. Any posts containing copied and pasted text will be flagged and checked by moderators for plagiarism.

 

How much can you earn on WebAnswers?

Don’t expect to make big money on WebAnswers. There is no real way of knowing how much money you will make on WebAnswers, because of the unpredictability of AdSense revenue. Some members are able to earn several hundred dollars per month. What I gleaned from reading forums and responses from members, is that the average member makes about $50-$150 per month by answering a 5-10 question per day. This is just a rough estimate, because people aren’t allowed to give exact figures on their AdSense income and CTR’s.

 

Also, WebAnswers shows member’s ads on different pages through out the website- not just on Awarded Answer pages or questions asked. They don’t tell members where their ads are shown. As far as I know, you can’t track your earnings in Google Analytics. So, it is pretty difficult to tell which webpages are earning more money.

You can also make money by referring traffic to WebAnswers and others to join WebAnswers.

Cons of WebAnswers:
Some of the members who ask questions take a very long time to award answers or never award answers. Each member who participates in answering a question, will receive AdSense impressions on a rotated basis until the question is awarded. The more people who answer a question, the more dilute the earnings potential of the question. So, if 30 people answer a question the asker and all 30 of the members who’ve answered the question will have their AdSense ID rotated on that webpage until an Awarded Answer is selected.

They don’t like for people to put links in answers, especially affiliate and self-promotional links. Therefore, posts that contain links are flagged by their system and moderated. It is a measure taken to reduce spam.

Google has removed their ads from WebAnswers quite a few times. I am not sure why this happens and it could be due to many reasons. My guess is that Google may find some posts on the website that they don’t think are appropriate. When this occurs all members lose AdSense revenue until Google decides to reinstate WebAnswers‘s AdSense account. The last time that this happened the ads were gone for nearly a week.

 

Their support forum for members is not very active. It is supposed to be a place for members to voice their concerns in an organized fashion. The members seem to prefer to just post direct questions and concerns through WebAnswers. That’s okay, but I think it would be easier for members to access this type of info in the dedicated support forum. The owners of the website don’t seem to be very active over there. Since I joined, I haven’t heard any updates from them, including when problems arise.

 

One thing that should be pointed out is that WebAnswers is not open to people in all countries. Check the terms of service to find out whether you are eligible to register.

 

I am a firm believer in not putting your eggs in one basket, so I spend just a few days a week there. I do it to keep my participation levels up and my account active.  Some people complain that as their participation drops, their earning levels and AdSense impressions decline.  Another thing that I should add is that once you submit content to WebAnswers, you lose copyrights to what you publish there.   So, be sure to keep this in mind.

 

I joined WebAnswers in March 2014 and expect good things from them. I plan to experiment with it for some time and see what develops.

Make Money With Amazon Mechanical Turks

This post is an Amazon mechanical turk review of my experience with the website.  Amazon mturk is one of the quickest ways to make money online that I am aware of.  Amazon Mechanical Turks or Mturk is a crowd sourcing or micro jobbing website where you can make money doing tasks called HITS. They are Human Intelligence Tasks, which are performed by human beings and not automated software programs or robots. On the other side of the transaction is a requester, which is an institution or individual placing the request for the task to be completed. Most of the tasks are very easy to perform and take just a few seconds or minutes. Other tasks are a bit more involved and require more attention.

The average HIT pays anywhere from a few pennies, up to a few dollars. The pay widely varies according to the requester, the type of HIT and the amount of time it takes to complete the HIT.

 

Getting Started:

It is free to register with Amazon Mturk and it is open to people residing both in and outside of the United States. Refer to the terms of service for a complete listing of countries allowed. The process of signing up to do work on Mturk is really easy and they assign an Mturk ID number to each worker. It can be found in the upper right hand corner from the “My Account” page, after registration.

Getting Paid

When HITS are completed, the requester will either approve or reject the HIT. After HITS are approved, the Requester releases the funds to the Mturk account. Some requesters approve and pay HITS really quickly, sometimes within minutes of completion. Other requesters take several days or even a few weeks to pay HITS.

Turkers (workers on Mturk) are allowed to transfer funds to their Amazon payments account. From there, the turkers can withdraw the funds, as long as there is at least $1.00 in the Amazon Payments account.

Amazon Mturk pays their turkers (in the U.S.), either by direct deposit to a verified bank account or Amazon e-gift card which can be used to shop at Amazon.com. Funds are held for the first 10 days for new Turkers. Currency is paid according the country that the turker resides in.

The best thing is that you get access to your money really quickly. They say that direct deposits take between 5-7 business days to complete. In my experience, the deposit appears in my bank account within 1-2 business days of withdrawing. Amazon e-gift cards are sent to your Amazon.com account almost immediately.

 

These are examples of the types of requests or HITS available on Amazon Mturk:

Moderating, rating or tagging images

Simple data entry from receipts, invoices, or business cards

Transcription

Writing articles

Writing product descriptions

Putting items into categories

Consumer surveys for products and services

Academic research surveys

Watching and rating movie trailers and other videos

Search engine keyword ratings and relevance

 

Pros of Doing HITS on Mturk:
There are thousands of HITS are available that don’t require any specialized skills or training to complete.

Mturk is up and running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is open to people in the United States and some other countries. Turkers can log on to the website and do a HIT at any time, provided that there is a HIT available, that you are eligible for. This allows for a great degree of flexibility, since you aren’t required to adhere to any set schedule. You could spend 10 minutes working on HITS or you could spend hours working on HITS. It’s up to you how much time you put into it. You can go days or weeks without doing HITS. The amount of money that you make is up to you.
You can work on most HITS from anywhere. In some cases HITS can be completed on a high-end smart phone or tablet, as long as you have access to high speed internet service. I frequently do HITS from my dining room table, or sofa while the TV is on in the background.

 

If you find a particular HIT unacceptable, then you may return it, in most instances, without a penalty. Try not to do this too often, though; It affects your ratings.

 

Cons of Doing HITS on Mturk:
Most of the HITS are extremely mind numbing, repetitive and tedious. You can quickly become bored with some of the non-stimulating tasks on Mturk.   However, if you are willing to do some searching, there are some very interesting HITS available to participate in.

Most of the HITS are very low paying, and often below minimum wage. You will have to determine whether it is worth your time to do the low paying HITS. There is a filter in the HIT search to help workers to weed out the lower paying HITS. I’ve found some HITS where I was paid a couple of dollars for just a few minutes of work! Some requesters pay out small bonuses for turkers who are productive and accurate.

There are probably some people who understand what it takes to make a good living on Amazon Mturk. They are highly organized, efficient and have a thorough understanding of the systems. The vast majority of turkers will make just enough for some pocket change or supplemental income.

I did some of the low paying HITS in order to boost my ratings and scores. The more HITS you complete, the more opportunities will become available for you to do different types and higher paying HITS. Some turkers work so well that they are offered Master Turker qualification, which gives them special perks on Mturk.

Overall, Amazon mturk is one of the easiest,  scam free ways to make money online.  But, a word to the wise: There are a few dishonest and unscrupulous requesters on there, who have a high rejection rate. Unfortunately, they may benefit from the work that a turker does, without paying. They will justify the rejection by stating that the worker did poor quality work or that the worker didn’t follow instructions.

Try to avoid those requesters with a poor reputation. There is always an option to either contact the requester for any questions regarding a HITS. Turkers can file a complaint against requesters who violate Mturk’s terms of service agreement.

Avoid giving requesters any personally identifiable information or sensitive information, such address, phone number, social security number, etc.

 

Where the Real Money is on Amazon Mturk

 

The other way that you can make money on Amazon Mturk is to be a requester posting HITS. This is where the real high earnings opportunity exists. You would need to know a considerable amount about Web developing and API’s or at least have the wherewithal to pay someone to set things up for you. If you can come up with a system whereby you make money off of someone else’s work, then it could be a great way to make some good residual income. That’s what I call working smart.

 

Make Some Extra Cash on Fiverr.com

Fiverr.com is a website where people can sign up to buy and sell Gigs for a base price of $5. A Gig is simply a task or service offered by a seller on Fiverr.com. The thing that sets this website apart from similar websites is that sellers may offer Gigs ranging from the mundane to bizarre and outrageous. Almost anything goes (of course users must operate within the terms of service agreement).

The seller is limited by his or her own imagination. A Gig buyer might also be able to work something out as far as modification of the Gig. I have purchased a few Gigs on this website and they worked out well. I am considering further use of the website by selling my own services. The following are examples of Gigs that I have seen offered on the website:

  • Graphic artistry (creating web banners, editing photos, digitally produced drawing, etc)
  • Transcription services
  • Proofreading and copyrighting services
  • Writing essays and website content
  • Voice over work
  • Crafting
  • Internet marketing and SEO consulting

Here are some of the more strange and unusual types of Gigs that I have seen offered:

  • “I will get ghetto on video.”
  • “I will translate your message into Jamaican patois”
  • “I will do an impersonation of Christopher Walken”
  • “I will do an impersonation of Robert DeNiro”
  • “I will hold your company logo and take fun photos”

These are just a few of the things that people are willing to do for only $5. The way that sellers receive payment is through PayPal or via a Fiverr Revenue car. The seller receives $4 into their account after a Gig is paid for and completed. Fiverr receives $1 out of the five dollars earned by the seller. PayPal also, charges a small percentage of the $4 deposited into a PayPal account.

 

 

Five dollars does not seem like much money. It does add up quickly for the seller that is able to build up a large base of repeat customers. The marketplace on Fiverr is very competetive. Good marketing and word of mouth advertising are useful tools in winning more business on Fiverr.com.

 

There several sellers that are able to make a full time living from Fiverr.com, but I think that the majority of sellers probably earn a part-time income there. It is evident that sellers with feedback in the thousands have made thousands of dollars through Fiverr. The most successful sellers offer a very unusual service or products, which are not easily replicated, thus minimizing competition in the same niche.

 

The website has a ratings system, and buyers are able to leave feedback about their experience. Sellers that provide consistent great service, will naturally receive good feedback and the opportunity to offer “Gig Extras” for more money than the basic $5. There are some people that are able to upsell Gig Extras, that cost $5 to $100 or more. Some people also make money through purchasing Gigs on Fiverr and then reselling the service at a premium. It is a form of arbitrage and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you know what you are doing and you find a reputable and reliable seller on Fiverr. I think that is where the real money is.

 

If you decided to sell a Gig on Fiverr, be sure to create a very thorough description. Spell out exactly what you will do as part of the service that you offer, as well as limitations. It is best to suggest that buyers ask questions prior to placing an order. Always make customer service and getting Gigs completed as quickly as possible a priority.

 

I placed a few Gigs on Fiverr and the next day, someone placed an order for my service. The Gig was cancelled, because the purchaser wanted much more than what I offered through the Gig. So far, I’ve had positive experiences with the sellers that I did business with. I bought a Gig and was very satisfied with the level of service that I received. Let’s see what happens with this website.

 

© Copyright 2013 Susan Broadbelt