By Holly Hammersmith GOBankingRates.com.
You're already working a full-time job, but you're trying to hustle on the side. Maybe you have debts to pay off, are saving for a dream vacation or need to bank cash for a home improvement. Whatever the reason, you see the appeal of making money online.
And who doesn't? The internet has grown the economy and seems like a friendly place to do business. You can work from the comfort of your own home and set your own hours.
But before you jump in, do some research and make sure the "opportunities" at hand are legitimate. Some ways to earn money online should be avoided simply because they are risky, illegal, dangerous or unprofitable. Beware of the following:
TAKING SURVEYS FOR PENNIES Online surveys are abundant. Some you are asked to take as an act of kindness or to provide feedback for a product or service. If you come across surveys guaranteeing you will make good money in hardly any time, be wary. Often these surveys do pay, but at what cost? Is it really worth 30 minutes of your time to make $1? You might be better off working at minimum wage. For a good-paying survey, look for a focus group or a qualitative research study.
SELLING ANY PIRATED MATERIALS Pirated e-books, CDs and Hollywood blockbusters on Blu-ray can be found and downloaded online, often for a small fee. Sounds enticing? Think again. Selling, or just downloading, pirated materials can land you in big trouble with your internet provider and local, state, and national authorities. Just don't go there.
SELLING CLICK-BAIT LINKS Many bloggers make a good living from ad revenue, affiliate sales and more. But they don't buy or sell click-bait links, the links that go nowhere, to the wrong site or just plain spam up your browser. There's little money in these bottom-feeder games.
Want to make money off a blog? Partner with reputable affiliate programs such as Amazon Affiliates and set up ads with Google AdSense. If you don't, your readers will catch on to those fake links and stop reading before long.
ONLINE GAMBLING While the idea of winning big via online gambling is appealing, the odds are not. From 2005 to 2007, only 11 percent of repeat online gamblers ended up in the black, with the average winnings totaling less than $150, according to an analysis in The Wall Street Journal.
Don't buy into the hype of gambling. Instead, use your smarts to do work. ___ Holly Hammersmith writes for GOBankingRates.com, a leading portal for personal finance news and features, offering visitors the latest information on everything from interest rates to strategies on saving money, managing a budget and getting out of debt.