A few years ago I thought there was no legit way to get paid for searching the web. It sounded completely scammy to me. After starting this site and trying several online jobs firsthand, I learned that you CAN actually earn money by surfing websites, BUT you have to be careful because there are still scams out there. In this post, I’ll help you navigate the interesting world of getting paid for browsing the internet (homebodies rejoice!)
Related reading: Make Money with your Phone: 21 Ways to Work Wherever You Are
Are there legit ways to get paid to search the web?
A couple years ago, I had no clue that there were actual real ways to earn extra money by surfing websites, and to get paid to watch ads on your computer.
I assumed these were all 100% scams and I stayed clear away from them.
(I also stayed away from mystery shopping for the same reason…until I decided to try it for myself to see – you can read about my experience mystery shopping here)
But after my daughter was born, I was very motivated to find a work from home job. I really wanted to stay home more with her after mat leave was over.
I started a business selling on Amazon (read more about being an Amazon seller here).
And I learned a lot about non-traditional ways to make money (there are a lot of interesting ways to make money out there!)
How I started getting paid to surf the web
After my Amazon business, I applied for a job as a search engine evaluator and came across more real online jobs.
I honestly didn’t know there were that many legitimate online jobs out there and never thought you could get payment for searching the web. Of course there are tons of scams but everything I share I thoroughly research (and many I try out myself too!)
I get excited to share these ways to get paid for searching the web and other work-from-home jobs because I love making money from home while getting to spend more time with my daughter, and I want to help other moms do this too.
Get paid to search the web with Swagbucks
Swagbucks is the most passive option on this list to get paid for searching the web.
You download a Swagbucks browser extension which runs in the background while you do your regular online browsing. You use the Swagbucks search bar (which gives results from the Yahoo! search engine) instead of Google, but unless you’re searching for something super obscure, you shouldn’t notice any difference in your results.
Swagbucks is free to join and comes with a $5 bonus just for signing up here!
Get cash back when you search the web and shop
Another way to make money with Swagbucks is it will let you know about any cash backs when you shop online. There are limited time cash back offers which are sometimes as high as 20%. Swagbucks also offers coupons you can print off and use on your purchases.
If you shop through this portal (to sites like Amazon, Target, Walmart, and lots of others), you get cash back that you wouldn’t have if you went directly to these sites. It’s worth it if you’re going to buy something from those sites anyways!
Get paid to watch movies and play games
In addition to using the Swagbucks search engine, you can get paid to watch movies and ads on your computer. Once you are signed up with Swagbucks, you can click on a movie and have it running in the background while you do other things. You don’t need to be constantly watching/paying attention to it. It just needs to be running. There are lots of different categories of videos you can choose from.
You can also get paid to play games through Swagbucks. If you’re going to play games on your phone anyways, you might as well earn something for it!
Users can redeem Swagbucks points for gift cards or cash into a PayPal account.
Getting paid to search the web as a Wonder Researcher
If you love researching and writing, a job as a Wonder researcher might be a great fit for you.
AskWonder hires researchers to look up the answers to requests and write detailed reports for their clients.
You will literally be getting paid to search the web and research and answer questions.
They pay per task so you know exactly what you will get paid before you start your research for the question you are given.
What is the pay for a Wonder Researcher
Simpler questions pay around $8 and complex requests can pay up to $35.
At first your hourly rate probably won’t be very high as you get used to the platform, and get used to what is expected of you in your reporting. As your research and writing speeds increase, your hourly rate could be between $15-$25/hour.
This can be a very interesting job but it is not a passive easy online job. At times you could have to be able to research and write about complex topics. The queries are not simple things like “how many ounces are in a venti?”
That being said, there are no degree requirements and you could start working and getting paid fairly quickly.
When do you get paid as a Wonder Researcher
A huge advantage of working as a Wonder Researcher is that they pay every two weeks. There is also no minimum payment threshold you have to reach before they will pay you.
Once you apply, you will have to take and pass a test, and then complete three practice requests, and then you’re good to start!
Get paid searching the web as a Search Engine Evaluator
I have been working as a search engine evaluator for almost two years now and I LOVE it!
Search engine rating is another awesome job where you can get paid for browsing the internet.
Search engines like Google, and Bing, and Yahoo hire people to clean up search engines by analyzing search engine results in relation to a particular query.
You have to be able to work quickly for this job and be able to clearly explain your reasons behind your rating.
What are the requirements to work as a search engine evaluator
The barrier of entry is higher to be a search engine evaluator. You do need a completed college/university degree (in any subject) to apply. You also need to take and pass a challenging test to be considered for this position searching the web for money.
If you are analytical, detail oriented, and a great written communicator, it is possible for you to make money with search engine rating. It truly is a job you can do in your pajamas, and I often do! ?
For more information all about becoming a search engine evaluator and all my best tips on applying, read this post.
Get paid to surf the web with UserTesting
User testing is a fun and easy way to get paid to search the web. The entry requirements are minimal, so you can start to earn money by surfing websites fairly quickly. You don’t need to have experience or a college degree.
As a user tester you can get paid for searching the web or get paid to watch ads on your computer. You need to complete a series of tasks, speaking your thoughts out loud as you browse and click. The companies that hire user testers want to know things like how user friendly their site is, if their latest ad is annoying or appealing, etc.
A small program is downloaded onto your computer or phone and it records your audio during the tasks.
Word to the wise: if you are soft-spoken like me, either make sure you speak UP during the tasks so your voice can be picked up clearly, or pick up an inexpensive microphone to give your voice that extra bit of help.
How much can you get paid to search the web as a user tester
Typical tasks earn you $10 per 20 minute task (or $30/hour). You can earn up to $60/test. Often the higher earning tasks are the ones where video is recorded in addition to audio.
For a big list of other companies that hire people to do website usability testing, check out this post.
How to get paid for surfing the web with ZoomBucks
ZoomBucks is similar to Swagbucks in that you collect points for doing certain tasks, such as searching the web, taking surveys, and watching videos. Once you get to a certain level of points, you cash out and are paid with PayPal. Your points don’t expire.
Minimum payment for a payout is only $3 so you don’t have to wait forever to cash out your account.
ZoomBucks is a legitimate way to get paid to search the web, and it has a rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot.
Their customer service is highly rated and users report getting paid quickly once they cash out their points.
They offer surveys that will pay you even if you end up being not qualified for that particular survey. Some survey companies only give payment for a completed survey, so this pay for partially completed surveys is a nice perk.
FusionCash offers a few different ways to make easy money – surveys, watching videos, and you can also get paid to do web searches.
This company has been around since 2005. You don’t collect points which then convert to cash for your payout; they show you the dollar amount of each task before you agree to do it.
FusionCash gives you a $5 bonus just for signing up.
Qmee is a browser extension that you download to your phone or tablet. Do your normal web browsing and get paid to search the web. A little window will pop up occasionally while you are browsing, you click on the result that interests you, and the money is deposited into your account.
Qmee is rated 4.6 stars out of 5 stars on Trustpilot and 4.3 out of 5 on the Google Play Store.
There is no minimum amount of money you have to accumulate before you can make a withdrawal. If you completed a task for $1 you could cash out that $1 without waiting and payment to PayPal is immediate.
How much you make with Qmee will depend on how many searches you do a day.
For more ideas to make extra money, check out 8 Surprising Ways to Make an Extra $1000/month