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Make money online - no, really

Scams and bogus 'opportunities' abound, but legitimate money-makers do exist. You probably won't get rich but you can certainly boost your budget.

By Donna_Freedman Sep 17, 2013 5:38PM

Logo: Money and computer (Tom Grill/Corbis)Need a few extra dollars? Look for them online.

Scams abound and so do "opportunities" that bring minimal bucks for maximum effort. But some legit money-making tactics do exist -- ways you can earn while working in a cubicle, taking the train home or waiting for soccer practice to end.

You're not likely to get rich this way, but why not boost your budget by listening to online radio, using a search engine or putting an affiliate link into some of your Facebook posts?

Watch yourself out there, though. "There are far more scams than there are legitimate sources of income," notes Andrea Eldridge of

"Beware of any offer that requires you to supply a credit card, pay for 'training' or fork over a membership fee. Avoid doing a Google search for 'make money online' unless you want to test your ability to sniff out a shyster."

One of the easiest ways to find legitimate online opportunities is to use the right search engine. Sites like InboxDollars, and Swagbucks can turn casual research into cash money sent by check or PayPal. (Both InboxDollars and Swagbucks have other ways to earn, including online games, surveys and watching short videos.) 


The Bing search engine pays in points that you can trade for gift cards -- which are as good as cash if you use them to buy things you were going to buy anyway. (Note: Bing is owned by Microsoft, which publishes Smart Spending.)

If you're a music fan, why not get paid to appreciate it? Radio Loyalty rewards those who listen to online radio. Tricia Meyer of Sunshine Rewards notes that you do have to listen to a few commercials but the variety of music choices makes it appealing to almost anyone.

In fact, she herself listens while at her desk, earning about $2.50 a week. "It really isn't any work," Meyer says. "Ten dollars a month isn't a lot, but for doing something so easy it's definitely worth it."

Cubicle-friendly gigs

If you've got a job with periods of down time (e.g., long stretches between calls), bring your tablet to work and take surveys. Some of the better sites include Harris Polls, ZoomPanel, Pinecone ResearchToluna and Synovate.


You can take surveys anywhere you have a few minutes to focus plus an Internet connection, including during your carpool or train ride to work. I've interviewed people who do them while keeping an eye on their kids in the yard, while waiting for the spin cycle at the laundromat, or while watching TV with a spouse in the evening.

A company called VigLink lets you earn from blogs or social media posts. It's an obvious match for deal or fashion bloggers. But it's also a good fit for non-bloggers who just like to share their finds with Facebook friends.

VigLink gives you an affiliate link that attaches to any URLs you provide. When a friend/reader clicks through, any purchases earn you a small commission. Rich Menga, a professional blogger whose focus is music, says it's the only consistent way he's found to make money on his site.


Although he won't reveal specific earnings, VigLink revenue brings in more than enough to pay for blogging expenses and promotions. He cautions users not to be "spammy" with the social media links, i.e., not to treat one's friends and acquaintances like clients. "Sprinkle in a few (links) every now and then," the Florida writer says.

A few more ways to cash in:

Answering questions

Capitalize on your knowledge through sites like Just Answer and ChaCha. You'll earn more if you have a specialized skill set, according to the Money Saving Mom site, but anyone with good research skills can bring in some extra dollars.

Doing tasks

Amazon Mechanical Turk is a "microtask" site that pays anywhere from two cents to $2 for doing fast jobs like tagging photos or basic data entry. A focused individual can do up to three tasks a minute, "earning a decent amount if you put some time into it," says Robert Farrington of The College Investor. (He made extra money himself this way while in college.)


Watching television

A site called Viggle awards points for watching television, answering trivia questions and playing in fantasy sports leagues. Jason Selss uses a number of rewards sites but Viggle and Swagbucks are his two favorites. Thus far he's earned enough gift cards to pay for an HDTV, a new printer and a laptop.

Selss, who works in Internet marketing on the East Coast, spends no more than an hour a day cruising for these rewards. Generally that's multitasking, such as surfing the Internet while keeping an eye on the television. This relatively limited time investment means slow earning; it took 10 months to save enough points for the television, and nine months to get the laptop points.

"It takes time, and patience is key," he says. "But once you get (free electronics) in your hands it's a nice feeling."

More on MSN Money

Feb 8, 2014 11:24AM
Surveys are the easiest and fastest way to make money online.I've been doing this for a long time.I make $30/day.The most important thing you have to know is to join only legit surveys, because there are many scams online.If you are interested to find a list of legit surveys go to:


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Oct 1, 2013 1:15PM
Hello. Internet is an endless workplace so people can make money even more than real life, at least theoritacally :). But with a realistc approach we can say that we can earn reasonably from internet. A website or blog is necceassary for some methods but for most of them it is not. Some are very classic, some are proven and some are totally new. I spend some time to find out the answer but most of the resouces points out same methods. But you may try . This website contains several interesting online money making  system. Anyway, I wish luck to you. Don't give up :)
Jun 3, 2014 5:05AM
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Aug 29, 2014 11:15AM
I'd suggest reading the guides available at they have shared some really good legitimate sources for making money online. It should help.
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Aug 4, 2014 9:33PM
There are so many sites- and they aren't scams? but rather each one has a few pearls and they make it hard for you to find them so you spend hours clicking around.. You can get lost on some of these sites..  Pine Cone is great- so is Amazon Turk.. Mint Vine is new but they do a lot of focus group studies and you can make $25-50 bucks for an hours work so id look into them as well. I do all my searches with Bing, Inbox dollars, Send Earnings and Swagbucks.. it all add up : )

great article about taking little bits from each site if interested:

Aug 4, 2014 11:46AM

That's true. There a lot of bogus stuff out there so you go to know which ones to invest your time into.

This is what I am doing.

Jul 29, 2014 10:42PM
I love this site You dont have to sign up with credit cards or anything it just has you do surveys the more you do the bigger they get and they have product testing also.. got paid seven bucks to eat cookies and tell them what I thought.. its not tons of ca**** money to use for bills, food and maybe a few things you really want its great try it out
Jul 15, 2014 6:07PM
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Jul 13, 2014 8:32PM

I wouldn't say they are 'all' scams. Neobux is a scam, but Clixsense I make about $50 a month off that site almost religiously mostly with higher paying surveys. Fusion cash is another that pays real nice on surveys.. Sites that offer just surveys and pay well are real hard to find- but they too are out there.. but what kills you with survey sites is the rejections! you waste 15 minutes just to be told sorry.. I go for all big surveys paying $3 or more and the rest I ignore.. Amazon Turk is where its at if your into surveys but also Pinecone research is great. If you can get in with Pinecone or a few others that do a lot of in home testing you make some great money. Heck- I listen to the radio on clixsense every day and It adds like $20 to my monthly take. Just have to be selective but I do turk all day and then I have videos, radio going all day- Im not getting rich but it certainly adds up to more then beer money ...A lot of people say swagbucks is a scam but for over 12 months now I pull in about $100 a month just watching the encrave videos on a second monitor.. The problem is everyone wants one thing that's going to make a pay day and its just not easy to find that- instead you have to do 6-12 smaller tasks and incorporate them with your daily routine and it adds up handsomely..

I have a lot of good ideas here.. they work.. just not the road to riches but they work..

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May 19, 2014 3:37PM
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May 10, 2014 12:17AM
There are sites like opinion outpost that you get paid to take surveys but it takes a while to earn cash. I like wealthy affiliate because they teach you how to build your own website for free. Who doesn't want to create their own website and show their friends or family? Check it out here:
Apr 26, 2014 2:12AM
I'm sorry but all that neobux and clixsense are some of the scam sites that I've been with. The real jobs online, are those that you can actually apply with your skills and talent. There are so many online jobs to choose from, like data entry, affiliate marketing, forex trading, transcription work and virtual assistants jobs. You just have to polish your cv's and look for legitimate sites. 

Mar 25, 2014 11:40AM
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Mar 18, 2014 2:41PM
Thank Donna for this great article. All of above are really good ways. If you are interested in to discover other ways of how to earn money at home you can check
Mar 14, 2014 1:10AM
I use this page . They give me real money just clicking ads. You only have to register and click. click. click. 
Jan 28, 2014 4:19AM

There are many ways to make money online but you want to make sure you’re not wasting time! Many people get caught up in out dated methods that just leave them high and dry. For me personally it took much longer than I wanted to actually make anything online but what I realized is you just need the right guidance and information.

This site really helped me get started - :-)

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