A Review of various Paid-to-Surf, Associate and Affiliate Programs

Here are the various programs I'm participating in at the moment :
Google - a search engine affiliate program which pays you for searches conducted through your web site.
Amazon.com - the world's most well known online retailer's associate program which pays you a referral fee for any items bought from them through your web site.
Cash Surfers - an advertising based paid to surf program.
Alladvantage - the first advertising based paid to surf program.

Google affiliate program


What's Good : Almost Effortless, once it's set up you don't have to do anything else. Pays internationally. Google is actually a very good search engine, compare it to the others and see what I mean.
What's Bad : It only pays US$0.03 per search through your web site. Also once the first search is made, subsequent searches are done on Google's own web site and you don't get credited for those. The search engine could be improved to include 'must have' and 'good to have' search keywords. No incentives or referral program for signing up new affiliates.
Recommendation : Do it ! Its effortless and its a darned good search engine to boot and if you use your own web site to search you get paid to do so !.
What you have to do : Sign up with Google (however there is no guarantee Google will agree to accept your site) and put up some code on your web site which will look like this :-
Google
Google
Google

Cash Surfers paid-to-surf program


What's Good : Once you get used to the cashbar occupying 10% of your screen real estate its quite inobtrusive. Their payout program has a sound basis - they make money from advertising and share their profits with their users based on time spent surfing ,clicking on ads and their special deals. As long as you are doing some net (email, news, ftp) activity, and the cashbar is visible (not minimised) you collect points. You also get points for clicking on ads and taking advantage of their special deals (on their web site). They also pay Internationally and have a multitier referral program which means you get points when people who signup under you surf and click on ads.
What's Bad : Payments are variable - they do well, you do well, they do badly, you do badly. Well, that's not so bad considering this makes their business sustainable. What IS really bad is either their server or their network is overloaded so sometimes the cashbar can't call home and that means you lose points. Hmm, ok, the cashbar isn't exactly small and takes up the entire bottom (not movable) 10% of a 1024x768 screen.
Recommendation : This is in my opinion the best darned Paid to Surf program at the moment so if you spend a lot of time on the net and don't mind losing 10% of your screen, just do it.
What you have to do : Sign up, download the cashbar, install it and get it running. You can also set up on your web site a referral program which comes with banners like this :-



Amazon.com associate program


What's Good : Probably the most satisfying of all the programs if you put in the effort. Basically Amazon pays you 5% for indirect referrals and 15% for direct referrals on selected items (mainly books). A direct referral means someone clicks through from your web site to a specific Amazon product AND adds it to their shopping cart without looking around first AND the product is subsequently shipped. Any other purchases are considered indirect. Theoretically you could turn your web site into an online store and make a lot of money. The reporting is the best I've seen so far.
What's Bad : You get paid only if a product ships so you don't get paid if a product is ordered and subsequently cancelled. You get paid only if the product is bought from a link through your site, thats means if the buyer comes back to Amazon later without going through your site (even if your site influenced the buying decision) you don't get paid. This all quite ok but my biggest gripe of all is that your direct referral (worth 15%) becomes an indirect one (5%) if the buyer so much as browses around Amazon's web site before purchasing. Another gripe is that YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS / FAMILY are not supposed to use your web store for purchasing from Amazon ! Also there is no referral program for signing up other associates
Recommendation : Making money from Amazon's associate program is directly proportional to your effort. If you have the time and inclination you can make quite a bit, maybe even give up your day job and become a full time book and movie reviewer. The program has some problems which makes it that much harder to make money but as I said its probably the most satisfying, especially when you look at Amazon's excellent reports and see the purchases people made thanks to YOUR recommendations !
What you have to do : Sign up with Amazon (however there is no guarantee Amazon will agree to accept your site) and put up some code on your web site which will look like these :-
This banner (nice and small) generates purely indirect referrals
In Association with Amazon.com
This search box also generates indirect referrals
 Search: Enter keywords...

Amazon.com logo

This is an example of a direct link to a book :Frank Herbert's Dune which can generate direct referrals if the book is put in the shopper's shopping cart immediately after following the link and subsequently shipped.

Alladvantage paid to surf program


What's Good : Once you get used to the viewbar occupying 10% of your screen real estate its quite inobtrusive. Their payout program is US$0.50 per hour fixed (whether they make enough money to sustain the business remains to be seen). They also pay in various countries (but their International rollout needs to speed up) and have a multitier referral program which means you get points when people who signup under you surf.
What's Bad : You only get paid when your browser is the active window (even if it is the top window but not active you don't get paid). That means if you read email (non web client) or news, regardless of whether the viewbar is visible or not, you don't get paid. A maximum of 25 hours per month is payable (which is ok since you can shut down the annoying thing after you've done your "time"). Many countries are excluded and the rollout is very slow. The viewbar isn't exactly small and takes up 10% of a 1024x768 screen (top or bottom). You don't get paid for clicking on ads.
Recommendation : Not really recommended. I'm thinking of quitting and I'll do that when a better one comes along. You can only make a maximum of US$12.50 per month with your own surfing from this but its money for doing what you like doing - surfing.
What you have to do : Sign up, download the viewbar, install it and get it running. You can also set up on your web site a referral program which comes with banners like this :-



For a more extensive survey of "Paid-to" programs visit the "Home of the Wannabe Internet Millionaire" ! Probably the best and most extensive "paid-to program" reviews anywhere.


Page Created Thursday, April 27, 2000, Last update Thursday, April 27, 2000
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Arrakis was founded on 2nd June 1995