Want to make money online from something you’re already doing? In this article, you’ll learn how to get paid for searching the web.
Ideas are broken down into three main categories:
- Data collection apps: These are apps that run in the background on your computer and/or mobile device, gathering information that’s used for marketing and advertising.
- Get paid for changing your search engine: Companies are willing to pay you for using their search engine.
- Search engine evaluation jobs: Earn money evaluating search engine results for companies like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Best Data Collection Apps
Consumer data about ourselves and our internet habits — what we search for, what we like, and what we buy — is extremely valuable.
Companies compile this kind of information and use it for things like market research and targeted advertising. And some companies sell the data they collect to other companies for lots of money.
Why should you give this valuable information away for free?
You shouldn’t. You should get paid for searching the web, for providing your email address, and for “liking” a post or a site.
Fortunately, there are data collection apps that do just that.
Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel
How it works: This app collects data on how people use the internet. The information is used to design and improve products and services that are sold online. Nielsen is one of our top passive income apps because it’s entirely passive after registering, answering a few survey questions, and installing the app on your mobile devices and computer.
Pros: Your account will be credited on a monthly basis, and you can cash out your earnings as soon as your balance hits $5.
Payment method: Nielsen does not offer a cash payout option — you have to choose from one of the 50+ gift cards offered. Options include Starbucks, Amazon, Target and other major retailers.
Learn more: See our Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel Review.
How it works: MobileXpression collects data on trends in smartphone usage. To join, sign up and complete a short registration form on their website, where you’ll be given access to their app. The app works in the background, and shouldn’t impact your device speed or battery life. Users can also take surveys for additional rewards.
Pros: After the initial install, earnings are passive. However, MobileXpression offers the option to take surveys for rewards points, which can help you reach the $25 minimum withdrawal amount.
Cons: There is no cash payout option, and some users have complained about being locked out of their accounts and having to contact support to get them reactivated.
Payment method: Points can be redeemed for an Amazon gift card, exchanged for a charitable donation, or used for sweepstakes entries.
How it works: SavvyConnect conducts market research by collecting data in the background when users download it to their devices, providing a way to make money from home with essentially zero effort. Users also have the option to complete surveys.
Pros: Users can earn $5 per month for each device the app is installed on (up to three devices) and an additional $1 to $3 for each completed survey.
Cons: Certain demographics are more valuable to the company, so if you’re not in the preferred age group, you won’t qualify for as many surveys.
Payment method: There is a $1 minimum payout. Payments are issued via paper check only.
How it works: Install HoneyGain on your computer or iOS device (no Android version is available). HoneyGain works in the background and runs search queries. In turn, HoneyGain sells the data it collects to companies looking for information (i.e., a company that’s interested in what search results show up in a specific location for a certain keyword term).
Pros: You’re not selling your own data. Instead, you’re instead selling your device’s capacity to run search queries. You’re then paid $1 for every 10 GB of search data you provide.
Cons: If you’re using the app, make sure it runs only on WiFi, so that it’s not using your data plan. The app also has a slight impact on battery life, and for those with older devices and/or operating systems, it could impact performance.
Payment method: Gift cards to major retailers starting at $20. Doing the math, that’s 200 GB of data. Users who run HoneyGain on two to three devices report reaching this minimum payout every three months.
See also: How to get free gift cards.
Get Paid For Changing Your Search Engine
What is your favorite search engine? Google? Yeah, that’s everyone else’s favorite too.
Well, other search engines would like a slice of the pie for themselves. That’s because when a search engine gets traffic, it generates income from advertisers. More traffic means more revenue.
But smaller search engines know that most people prefer Google. So, in order to attract new users, they’re willing to pay a little bit to encourage activity on their platforms.
Here’s how to get paid for searching the web.
How it works: Swagbucks allows you to earn random amounts of points when searching, referred to as “Search Wins.” Not every search results in a Search Win, and the amounts you earn range from one cent to $10. To perform a search, you must use the Swagbucks extension or the search bar within the Swagbucks website.
Pros: Swagbucks provides several ways to earn extra cash. For example, you can get paid to watch ads for money and take advantage of cash-back shopping opportunities, in addition to using the search engine.
Cons: The amounts you earn are random and there’s no guarantee you’ll earn upon every search. When you do get a Search Win, expect to earn between one and four cents. (Bigger amounts are very rare.) Taking advantage of the other earning methods offered on the platform will help you cash-out faster, and adding the browser extension will help you make sure to never miss a cash-back opportunity.
Payment method: Users can redeem their points for gift cards, or for cash deposited into a PayPal account starting at $2.
Put cash back in your wallet
Get paid to shop online, watch videos, take surveys and play games with this all-in-one rewards site. Redeem your points for gift cards and PayPal cash starting at just $3.
How it works: Bing is a search engine owned by Microsoft, which created it to compete head-to-head with Google. It hasn’t really achieved that goal, which is good news for you — because you can get paid to use it. Microsoft will reward you with five points per search, up to a total of 50 points per day. You can then redeem those points for gift cards.
And here’s a fun fact: one of the most searched for terms on Bing is… “Google.”
Pros: Microsoft recently expanded its “get paid to” activities beyond just web searches. Users can now earn points for things like shopping at the Windows and Microsoft stores, playing trivia games and taking quizzes. The old version of Microsoft Rewards was search-only, which made it harder to earn enough to cash out.
Cons: There is no cash payout option.
Payment method: Gift cards for the Xbox and Windows stores (as well as other Microsoft products), major retailers like Amazon and Starbucks, charity donations, and Microsoft-operated sweepstakes. The minimum amount needed to redeem is $5.
How it works: InboxDollars is one of the biggest and most well-known rewards sites, boasting more than 10 million members. Signing up is quick and easy: provide your email address, create a password, and then confirm via a link sent to your inbox. Then, just answer a few basic questions and you can get started earning. Using the InboxDollars search engine pays one cent per four searches.
Read our in-depth InboxDollars review.
Pros: There are several ways to earn cash through InboxDollars, including answering surveys, reading emails and signing up for special offers. The site offers cash options for payouts.
Cons: Users must have at least $30 in their accounts to cash out.
Payment method: InboxDollars members can request a paper check, a prepaid Visa card, or gift cards to several retailers.
How it works: This app is another that offers users the ability to get paid for using its search engine, for watching videos, and for completing a variety of other tasks. Signing up is easy and just requires basic information.
Pros: FusionCash is one of the few options that will send payment via direct deposit, which can be helpful if you don’t have a PayPal account.
Cons: The payout threshold is $25, and your earnings expire if your account is dormant for 90 days. This makes FusionCash a good online job for college students who have a lot of downtime, but a less appealing option for those who work full time.
Payment method: Direct deposit, PayPal or paper check.
How it works: Qmee works a little bit differently than the other services on this list. After signing up, you’ll need to install the Qmee browser extension. Then, rather than paying you per-query for using a specific search engine, Qmee monitors your searches in the background and offers you opportunities to save money and earn cash-back rewards based on what you’re looking for.
For example, if you search for “best countertop kitchen mixer,” Qmee might offer you 10% cash-back if you purchase that item through one of its partners. It might ask you to watch an ad about a particular brand of mixer, or it might offer you the opportunity to take a paid survey about how you use appliances in the kitchen.
Pros: There’s no minimum cash out — you can transfer your balance to PayPal at any time. Plus, because of the way Qmee works, the recommendations it offers tend to be highly relevant. There’s also a dedicated Android/iOS app, if you happen to do most of your browsing on a phone or tablet.
Cons: The volume of ads and offers Qmee has in its inventory is fairly low, as are the payouts, which are typically in the five cent to 10 cent range for watching ads. Those two factors combined mean you’re not going to earn a ton of money very quickly.
Plus, keep in mind that you’re sending Qmee a lot of personal data — it’s paying attention to all of your searches (even the ones that don’t generate an earning opportunity).
Payment method: PayPal or a charitable donation.
Become A Search Engine Evaluator
One legit online job is becoming a search engine evaluator. An evaluator rates the results from sites like Google and Bing, checking to make sure they’re relevant and useful, and that they fall within the company’s guidelines. This helps refine the complex algorithms that do most of the search ranking behind the scenes.
Search evaluators need to have excellent research skills and broad knowledge of both current events and popular culture. This gig is a little tougher to land than the others listed here. Applicants may need a college degree to be considered, and there may be an interview (which typically includes a test).
Evaluators work from home as independent contractors and typically earn $12 to $15 per hour. If that sounds good to you, there are several companies looking for search engine evaluators.
- FlexJobs offers an up-to-date listing of legit part-time and full-time work-from-home and freelance jobs. There aren’t always search engine evaluator positions listed here, but new jobs are added to the site daily. Read our FlexJobs review to learn more.
- Appen is a leader in the work-at-home industry and offers several job opportunities, including “Raters” (which is what they call search engine evaluators).
- Lionbridge has provided legitimate work-at-home opportunities for 20 years, so you can rest assured that it’s not a scam. The company offers opportunities for search engine evaluators, as well as translators and content creators.
Get Paid for Searching the Web: Final Thoughts
Few people make a full-time living by searching the web, but it is possible to earn a little bit of extra cash with minimal effort. For more lucrative options, check out our related post on the best money making apps.