One of the main ways I make money is doing paid-to sites online. Websites pay out lots of money to people for doing menial things like clicking links, reading emails, taking surveys, shopping online or signing up for offers and newsletters. This sounds strange and a lot of people are really skeptical of these sorts of sites, so let me give a brief overview about paid-to sites that might answer some of your questions.
First, WHY would a website pay me money just to click on something or take a survey? What's in it for them? Where do they get the money? The answer is that they get the money from their sponsor companies, who agree to pay out for activities completed by the members of the paid-to site. For example, if a company is looking to get more traffic to its site to increase visibility or become more desirable for advertisers, they might agree to pay $.05 per click to their site, with part of that money going to the paid-to site and part of it going to the member that clicked. This is the same way that advertisers like Google Adwords or Facebook Ads work - advertisers often pay on a per-click basis.
What about surveys? Companies pay huge money for data that they can study in order to find the best ways to advertise their product to a targeted, receptive audience. It's a huge waste of money if, say, a lipstick company is sending ads and fliers to a group of people who have no interest in lipstick whatsoever and are unreceptive consumers. It's much more effective for them to spend their money researching consumers who already purchase lipstick regularly, and then attempt to get them to switch brands or try out a new product. That demographic is MUCH more receptive since they are already lipstick users. But in order to find that demographic, companies must have a huge database of people that they can search through. The more information they have in their database, the more accurately they can target their customer: for example a Los Angeles grocery chain might want to advertise a sale on a new trendy yogurt to, say, 18-35 year old women who live in California, have no children, make over $25,000 a year, and have purchased yogurt in the past month. With a comprehensive database, this is possible.
So how does a company go about getting all this data? There are a lot of ways to go about collecting it, and one way is through these paid-to sites that do surveys. Surveys provide not only demographic information, but also can provide detailed information on purchasing habits, TV watching preferences, opinions on a new movie coming out, most popular brands, etc. Surveys can ask people ANYTHING that they want about ANY product and tell the company detailed, high-value information that they can use to target products and advertising to. Because surveys are more useful to companies than random clicks that might not result in any substantial income, surveys are higher-paid: anywhere from .75$ to a couple of dollars for 20 minutes of time spent giving your thoughts and ideas!
Now that you understand why it's very important for companies to spend real money in order to get the data that it uses to target its advertising efforts, as well as increase exposure and traffic, it's time to get them to send those dollars your way. There are several sites with a variety of paid-to activities from paid email clicks to surveys to cash shopping and games. I'm going to be reviewing and recommending my favorites each week. Stay tuned!