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Earning Money Through Online Microtasks


It is hard to ignore the appeal of making money online. However, finding a money-making opportunity that compliments your skill set and schedule may be harder than a quick web search. With thousands of job openings available online, it is difficult to decide what is worth your time.

Rewards programs have become a popular choice for making money online in recent years. Some sites are based on consumer activities (e.g., online shopping, submitting product reviews, watching video promotions), while others are geared towards data-related activities (taking surveys, image tagging, transcribing information). While sites vary, they are all built around “microtasks”—online activities that do not require much time or experience to complete.

Before you go signing up for free trials and installing every program, consider that the selling points (Easy! Fast! No experience necessary!) on these websites also serve as red flags that this type of money-making may not be worth your while.

Comparing the hours, you are spending to the money you are earning is an incredibly helpful tool in determining whether an online pursuit is worth your time. Many rewards sites use point systems in which points need to be accumulated before they can be redeemed.

Point systems are great at obscuring how much you are earning, so take the time to figure out the approximate cash value of a single point. If it takes 500 points to redeem a $5 gift card than one point is only worth $0.01. Completing a survey for 25 points sounds decent, but the survey takes 10 minutes to complete, the reality is that you are working at a rate of $1.50 per hour, which does not sound as great.

Sometimes the ease and convenience of microtask and rewards sites comes at the price of your personal data and online identity. How much is your personal information worth to you? Are you comfortable linking your social media accounts to the product reviews you submit? Are you willing to sell out your ‘likes’ and ‘favorites’? Taking stock of your web presence and browsing habits can help you figure out how much you’re willing to compromise for some extra spending cash.

Microtask and shopping rewards sites, although increasingly popular, generally are not practical options for any substantial level of online income. It is important to have realistic expectations and to treat your time as a valuable resource. If you do consider trying out any of these services, be very careful with sharing your personal information online even with websites that seem popular and trustworthy.


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