Get Paid For Searching The Web (5 Best Ways)

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Between work, families, and what little time we have to give ourselves to relax, finding ways to squeeze in some extra cash can be a challenge. Part-time gigs aren’t always feasible, and people need ways to make extra cash both on-demand and passively.

Getting paid for searching the web is a good example of passive income. You won’t make a lot of money doing this, but by opting into a collection of services that pay you for actions you’re already doing, you can build up a nice pocket of cash to pay down debt, pad your Christmas shopping stash, or use as a savings buffer.

Before we dive into our favorite search engine reward programs, we’re going to cover a few important questions and thoughts about this world:

What does it mean to get paid for searching the web?

Getting paid to search the web or getting paid for browsing the internet is exactly what it sounds like. You use your preferred or specific search engines, and depending on the actions you take and the keywords you search, you can earn money or points for those actions.

Where does the money come from?

That depends on the platform, but typically brands pay these companies to suggest actions for you to take, observe your behavior to sell to advertisers, or both.

For example, one platform is Qwee. Let’s say you were in a shopping mood and searched for “new toaster”. If you had the Qwee extension installed, not only would you see the normal search engine results, you would also see a list of vendor links with numeric cashback values listed. If you click one of those Qwee links, let’s say one that goes to Target to check out their toaster collection, then you would receive some cash for clicking to that site, and Qwee would too.

What makes a good web search earner?

Because the earning potential is low across the board, the best search engine reward programs are the ones you will use with the least amount of effort. In other words, you’re aiming for the platforms that either already fit into your habits or can be easily added to your routine.

Next, you’re looking for platforms that aren’t overly restrictive, and that give you meaningful progress. If the actions to qualify for points or cash back are limited, then it will be difficult to engage in these actions passively. And, if you’re looking for something you can do to make active money, then paid surveys or more professional side gigs are a better way to spend your time.

Lastly, you want to have reliable progress. If it feels more like a distraction and cash doesn’t seem to be accruing on a reliable basis, then you should change platforms.

There are also some clever ways to combine some of these passive earners to maximize your cash. We cover those below!

Our favorite tools for getting paid to browse the internet

Without further ado, here are our favorite programs to make money by searching Google or using search engines. Have a specific suggestion or experience with the options below? Let us know.

1. Swagbucks Browser

What is Swagbucks?

Swagbucks is a powerhouse free reward system backed by Yahoo and offers a diverse set of ways to earn online, including web searching, videos, surveys, and opting into paid offers with cash kickbacks.

How does it work?

Swagbucks operates on a points system. Once you create an account, you have a variety of different passive and active activities you can opt into to earn points. Once you earn enough, you can “cash-out” by either choosing gift cards or a PayPal cashout.

How much can I make?

Swagbucks is widely variable, from $10-$20 with a pretty hands-off approach to reports of $300-$400/month. Your best bet for maximizing income is to make the Swagbucks browser your default browser, use the paid and discovery offers when you can, base your activities around the daily and monthly bonuses, and take the daily polls.

In the end, it really depends on how much time you put in and what offers come through that month, but you shouldn’t expect to make more than a small amount per month.

Pros of Swagbucks

  • Safe and reliable.
  • Diverse earning options.
  • Good paid offers.
  • Has its own browser that works well for passive search earnings.

Cons of Swagbucks

  • The surveys are a bit of a timesuck and usually aren’t worth the effort unless you’re trying to hit a certain bonus.
  • You may not qualify for some of the surveys.
  • Unless you really invest in understanding the platform, it can feel a bit overwhelming.

Where do I sign up?

Sign up for Swagbucks here.

2. Qmee

What is Qmee?

Qmee is a survey and browser extension company that gives cash rewards for clicking into relevant sites based on what you search for.

How does it work?

After you create a free account, you download their browser extension and can continue using your favorite browsers like Chrome. If you search a keyword that a Qmee brand partner has bid for, then a pop-up shows up on the left side of your browser, giving you the option to earn money by clicking into the brand’s site.

How much can I make?

Qmee pays anywhere from a few cents to a dollar for clicking into certain links related to your search query, and surveys vary from a few cents to a few dollars.

Pros of Qmee

  • Easy to use and fits easily into your existing internet routine.
  • No minimum cash out.
  • Set up is super easy.
  • You can also cash out to charity, which is nice.

Cons of Qmee

  • Sometimes you will take a survey, spend time putting in questions, and then find out you’ve been declined due to demographic reasons.
  • The search engine feature only works on certain keywords, so this is firmly a passive earner. If you’re looking for a specific survey app, there are better options.

Where do I sign up?

Sign up for Qmee here.

3. Microsoft Rewards

What is Microsoft Rewards?

Previously known as Bing Rewards, Microsoft Rewards is an all-in-one, cross-platform rewards program based around Microsoft Products. From Bing to Xbox, to shopping at their online store, it all funnels into one reward account.

How does it work?

After you sign up for a free account, you can register all of your Microsoft devices. Level 1 Members start by earning up to 150 points per month from searches, and Level 2 Members earn up to 20 points a day and 600 a month from searches. The more points you earn, the higher levels, and the more perks you get.

You can earn points by searching, completing quizzes, playing certain games and completing actions on Xbox, buying from their online store, and more.

Once you have enough points, you can redeem them for sweepstakes or Microsoft products.

How much can I make?

This platform is best for Microsoft power users. About 1,000 points are worth a dollar, and with search only you’re restricted to 150 points per month on Level 1 and 600 for level 2, resulting in <$1/month from search alone. If you combine your rewards account with Microsoft purchases and complete the occasional quiz, then it becomes a bit more lucrative!

Pro Tip: Combine Qmee with Microsoft Rewards to double your earning potential.

Pros of Microsoft Rewards

  • Sophisticated System.
  • Rewards Microsoft power users.
  • Has points you can earn through Xbox.

Cons of Microsoft Rewards

  • Low points to rewards ratio.
  • Can only redeem for sweepstakes or Microsoft products.

Where do I sign up?

You can sign up for Microsoft Rewards by clicking here.

4. Nielsen Digital Voice

What is Nielsen Digital Voice?

Nielsen Digital Voice is a passive application that pays you to record your behavior and uses that data to educate their research and trends reports.

How does it work?

First, you download their program on your computer. After it installs, you’ll run through a series of steps before getting the all-clear. Once everything is set up, you don’t have to do anything else! You will automatically be entered into their sweepstakes.

How much can I make?

All of Nielsen Digital Voice rewards are sweepstakes-based, so your rewards will vary. They give away $120,000 a year, and each month 400 members are winners from a pool of $10,000. Your winning amount is random but will never exceed $1,000 in a month.

Pros of Nielsen Digital Voice

  • Created by a reputable company.
  • Good sweepstake rewards are possible if you win.
  • Completely passive earning potential.

Cons of Nielsen Digital Voice

  • It can be a bit of a pain to set up.
  • They are recording your behavior, so privacy cannot be a concern.
  • No direct earnings — only sweepstakes based.

Where do I sign up?

Sign up for Nielsen Digital Voice here.

5. Wonder

What is Wonder?

Wonder is a research-based platform where companies ask anonymous questions and Wonder researchers deliver detailed responses. Rather than being a passive search app, this offers higher pay for active research. If you’re looking for something a bit more hands-on, then this is for you.

How does it work?

The barrier of entry is much higher for researchers on Wonder, but if you pass, then you join the platform, choose the questions you’d like to answer, and get paid based on the values listed next to the questions.

How much can I make?

Between $8-$35 an hour, but that depends on your proficiency and the questions available. Wonder is best for people adept at internet research — the ability to find legitimate sources and pull useful information from them is critical to making money on Wonder.

Pros of Wonder

  • Much higher pay than surveys and passive browsing.
  • Freedom to choose your own questions and work when you want.
  • Modern platform.

Cons of Wonder

  • The application process is much more rigorous than other platforms.
  • Wonder doesn’t accept applicants from all states.
  • Sometimes answers are removed for unknown reasons and you don’t get paid for that effort.
  • More mentally demanding.

Where do I sign up?

Sign up for Wonder here.

Is Getting Paid to Search the Web Worth the Time?

That depends on you.

To be clear: getting paid to browse the internet is not a complete way to make a living.

But, if you can build these services into your lifestyle in a way that doesn’t subtract and only adds to your earning potential and you aren’t concerned with privacy and selling your data, then yes; they can be a good way to pad your bank account. The keys to achieving that are following the guidelines we listed above: making sure you fit them into your routine, stacking them when possible, etc.

The idea is to make them work for you and not the other way around.

What’s Next for Web Earnings?

As you can tell, the best way to get paid for searching the web is by using apps and services that work with your existing routine, but what if those services and routines didn’t have to be separate at all?

What if people could take back ownership of their data and only interact with brands when they choose to, earning passive income by permissioning their data to brands and engaging with personalized content, instead of being interrupted by annoying and bad-fitting ads or having to use specific search engines?

What if instead of search engines and eCommerce giants profiting from your data, financial value for your information was transferred back to you?

That future is possible with current blockchain and digital ID technology, and we’re building it.

See how Permission.io is handing data ownership back to where it rightly belongs… in the hands of individuals.

Nathan Phelps
About the Author
Nathan Phelps is a Content Marketing Specialist for Permission.io. He is the founder of Crafted Copy, a boutique content company, and specializes in writing for SaaS, cryptocurrency, marketing, and general tech. His writing is released and seen by thousands every week, and he is currently building a music productivity startup out of his home office in Nashville, TN.
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