Get Paid To Browse the Net?

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Can you really get paid to surf the web? Find out if this commonly seen business opportunity is for real.

Dear Janet,

I was sent an e-mail a week or so ago about a great new money making opportunity online. The name of the company is Go To World. Have you heard of it? They claim that they will pay you $0.40 per hour (maximum 40 hours per month) to use their free browser. In addition to that, they will pay you an additional $0.10 per hour for every person that you refer and $0.15 for every person that they refer and so on. I was just wondering if this is a legitimate 'business' and if they really do pay you.

-Fluke

Dear Fluke,

I hadn't heard of GoToWorld, so I went to their web site to take a look. And having done so, I wouldn't recommend anyone making plans to make big purchases with hoped-for income. Here's why:



They have many references on the web site to the rate you'll be paid per hour for surfing the web using their browser. And, they have a lot of references to how much you'll be paid for the time people you refer browse the web. They also have a calculator that defaults to show how you could make over $2,000 a month if you got enough referrals. However, if you poke around the site a bit, you eventually come across the "small print" - a page that contains a "rate disclaimer" that in part reads as follows: 

*RATE DISCLAIMER: GoToWorld.com shares a percentage of the advertising revenues with its members.... The examples illustrated are based on a $12 CPM. Advertising rates (CPM) vary according to market demand. GoToWorld.com does not make any guarantees as to how much a member will be paid. GoToWorld.com will give its best effort to sell to advertisers the highest possible CPM but can not guarantee results. CPM averages will be posted and all members will share in the revenues according to monthly CPM average."

On another page you learn that the company withholds a $4.95 per month account maintenance fee from any browsing earnings you should happen to make. 

The referral fees you're supposed to collect have a catch to them, too. If you nose around the site long enough you discover you don't automatically get a fee equal to the time they spend using the browser. Your fee for their usage is prorated to the amount of time you spend online actively using their browser. If you only spend 20 hours online actively using their browser, presumably you'd be entitled to only half of whatever amount they earned for you.

On yet another page you are told in a roundabout way that it is likely to take months before anyone gets paid at all. (Apparently they are paying about 60 days after their advertisers pay them -either that or they need to rewrite the paragraph to make it clearer.) Additionally, they note that a portion of collected ad revenues will be split among the members, but never say just how much (or how little) that portion will be. Say, for instance by some unusual luck they succeeded in collecting $10 million in advertising revenue a month. They claim that 1,000,000 have already signed up. If all of those people actually use the software, whatever portion of that $10 million they decide to allocate to members will have to be split between a million people. But even if they allocated the entire $10 million, members would get an average of $10 a month. But they wouldn't actually get that either - not the first month. After the $4.95 monthly maintenance was subtracted, they'd only have $5.05 and the company doesn't pay out anything until there is $20 in an account. So it would take four months to accumulate $20 at that rate. 

Now, I'm sure some people are thinking that not every person who becomes a member will use the software, so the money will be split between a smaller pool of members. That's likely to be true. But without a statement about what percentage will be allocated to members, and whether that percentage comes from the gross advertising revenue or the profits, the company could decide to allocate 1% of profits - or even less. Work out the numbers to see how fast you'd get rich at that rate. 

To top it all off, if you have a complaint, well, you'll be hard put to find real-world contact information to use to register your complaint. I spent at least 15 to 20 minutes specifically looking for an address for the company and a phone number and the best I could find was a welcome letter - not from a CEO, but from the director of business development. There was an email address given for that person, but there was no street address given. The only place I found a phone number was by going to gotoworld's parent company home page (languageforce.com). But even there l couldn't find an address for this company. 

The bottom line? Well, personally, I just don't see a bottom line here any time soon for gotoworld.com's membership.

Copyright 2000, Attard Communications, Inc.

About the author:
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning  Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets.  Follow Janet on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JanetAttard.

 
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