Yes, many “online jobs” promising quick riches and little effort are really scams. While the tasks below won’t make you rich, they can earn you a little pocket money on the side—and these days that can make a big difference.
Most of these online money making opportunities only require you have a computer, a decent internet connection, and some sort of marketable skill (or the ability to provide valuable consumer insight to marketers). You’ll be operating as a free agent and can choose when, where, and how much to participate.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not, because as mentioned earlier, you won’t likely be able to quit your day job with any of these programs, which typically pay way less than regular part-time gigs. But if you’re a student, insomniac, or just someone who wants an occasional cash boost without the commitment required by a typical job, these are some of the best tasks you can do online in your spare time.
Also beware: because specialized skills aren’t always required, you do have to be wary of scams. Before you sign up to become a virtual focus group participant, paid survey taker, mystery shopper or any online worker, keep in mind this important rule of thumb: you should never have to pay to work. Also, read the fine print.
That out of the way, here are a few sources of legitimate online single-task jobs:
Research Study/Survey Participant: Harvard Business School Computer Lab for Experimental Research (CLER): Participate in research studies at Harvard Business School and you can earn $15 to $40 or more per on-site study (in Cambridge, MA) or do one of their occasional online studies, which typically take less than 15 minutes to complete and usually compensate you with a $5 electronic gift certificate. The studies ask you about decisions you would make in various business-related disciplines, such as economics and psychology.Additional options: Lightspeed Consumer Panel, Pinecone Research, SurveySpot.
Focus Group Participant: 20|20 Panel: Since 1986, 20|20 Research has been providing companies with qualitative research from focus groups. Recent calls for focus group participants include: an online study of cell phones usage that pays $60 (adults 18-44) and an online study of household products purchases that pays $150 (adults 25-65). Additional options: Focus Forward, Hagen Sinclair, AlphaBuzz.
Artificial Artificial Intelligence: Amazon Mechanical Turk: Yeah, that’s a weird title. As a Mechanical Turk Worker (or MTurk), you complete odd jobs like looking up companies’ hours of operation, checking translations, coming up with ideas for marketing projects, and so on. The pay can be extremely low — a couple of cents even — but the tasks can usually be done quickly and some tasks pay more. Additional option: ShortTask.
User Tester: UserTesting.com: Get $10 for visiting a website and providing live, honest feedback about it. Your reactions as you traipse the site are recorded by UserTesting’s software. Additional option: uTest.
Tech Support Expert: FixYa.com: Put your knowledge to good use at FixYa and earn $2 to $6 for answering a posted question, $6 to $10 for helping someone in chat, $10-$15 if you do it by phone, or a variable amount for written tips and how-to’s. Additional options:Support Space, JustAnswer.
Blogger: Commission Junction: If you maintain a blog already, you can monetize it by inserting advertising links or affiliate links from Commission Junction, LinkShare, Chitika,Smorty, and, of course, Google AdSense. There’s no set amount you can make (and no guarantee you’ll make anything at all), but if you write often and get a decent following, you can generate some nice supplemental income.
Know any other ways to make a quick buck online (legitimately, that is)? Let us know in the comments!
Bonus: Now that’s a way to propose