See what I found out about making money on the internet.
And learn how to (maybe) make some money too.

Here's what you will find out on this page:

1. Why did I actually start looking for extra money to be made on the web?

2. See all the things I tried. And my results with it from 2001 thru 2002.
2.a. free 'money making' programs
2.b. programs with a fee

3. I thought I got it made! I was really making money - until September 8th 2003.
3.a. The Online Profits Club, SharedProfit
3.b. The Dealmaker Club, Wellspring

4. Off to new ventures, I never give up.
4.a. Payday Loan Companies
4.b. High Yield Investment Programs

5. Back to the roots. Summer 2004 I'm teaming up with old friends again.
5.a. Paid-to-Surf with an interesting twist.
5.b. One certain program became huge, then crashed.

6. Considering myself an *oldie* in 2005. So what is it that I learned?
6.a. How to recognize a Ponzi-scheme.
6.b. Are forums and rating sites a good source of information?

7. Big moves ahead, less time to play.
7.a. DXinOne seems to be this year's big one.
7.b. One or two private programs, plus a few games.

8. The end of the tunnel?
8.a. Lots of rules to obey.
8.b. Getting somewhere, even in the USA.



1. Why did I start looking for an extra source of income?

Since January 2000 I had been living seperated from my (ex-)husband.
He doesn't pay any support for our daughter. Our divorce was final on November 10th 2004.
The way laws are in Germany I have to pay $46,000 to my ex, just to get rid of him.

So even though I have a full-time job and make reasonable money with it, I need a lot more.
And because I have a full-time job and a daughter and a family home to take care of,
there isn't much time left for me to take on an extra job to make some extra money.

But I heard and read about people getting filthy rich over the internet.
I was determined to find out how. I needed the money badly.

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2. Trying to find the secret to success.

If you spend any time at all on the internet, you've probably seen many or all of these
*opportunities* before. Basically, there's two kinds: free ones, and those where you pay.
Because I didn't really have any money and I was just a novice at this, I tried the free first.

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2.a. Free Programs

So how can you make money for free? Mostly like you make money in the 'real' world: you get paid to do things.
You get paid to read emails. You get paid to look at websites. You get paid to sign up for free stuff.
You get paid to send people from your website to some advertiser's website. You get paid for putting links
or pop-unders on your webpage. And usually you get paid a certain percentage of what others get paid too.
If those others are people whom you introduced to the program.

So what's wrong with those 'paid to do things' programs?
You receive some $0.02 to $0.05 per email you read.
Or you make anywhere between $1 and $5 to complete some other task.
They pay you $0.01 up to $0.10 per click that you send to their website.

At those rates you have to read 300 emails before you reach the minimum of $20 to request payout.
Or you have to sign up for 250 programs before you reach their minimum of $500 to request payout.
You need to send 1000 visitors before you can receive a $50 check.
Or you need thousands of people in your downline. You never get rich that way. Period.

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2.b. Programs with a Fee

O.K. - then what about those programs where you have to pay something? That might work, right?
I thought so too. This kind of programs falls into two categories: those with a focus on selling products,
and those with a focus on recruiting new members. And of course all kinds of combinations in between.
Their fees range from a one time payment of $1 up to $600 to monthly payments anywhere between $5 and $49.95

The major pitfall here is: you have to advertize and promote the products or the program itself.
Do you know how to market? Are you a professional sales person? Do you have a huge advertising budget?
I tried hard to learn how to promote and sell and recruit people. My results were way above average.
I really built downlines and even made profit! After spending a few hundred $$$ along the way, learning.

I got to the point where I would spend 30 hours a week on the internet, promoting my programs.
And I made an average of $20 per month net profit. Pretty sick, if you ask me.

Just to give you an idea which programs I personally was a paying member in,
here's an alphabetical listing of those that I can still remember:
Cash-A-Day, Ca$ino Ca$h, DHS-Club, DTL Network, Fortune Force, Marketing Kit,
Monster Traffic, NoBull DLC, Permaworld, PureInvestor, Rabbit Connection,
Sure Fire Business, The Golden Womb, The Perfect Matrix, TriMiracle, World Wide Wealth.

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3. I thought I got it made! I was really making money - until September 8th 2003.

By the end of 2002 I was getting tired of it all. I was ready to give up. I had lost all hope.
But then I stumbled onto something BIG. I did a search on Google: 'share online profit'.
Among the first results there was this website http://www.sharedprofit.com and I went to check it out.

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3.a. The Online Profits Club, SharedProfit

It took me a while to understand how SharedProfit works.
Individuals have to do business with an Associate and receive shares. Shares can only be gifted.
And then each of the Shares you receive from an Associate pays out cash at fixed time intervals.

I spent hours on the SharedProfit website, going thru their list of over 500 associates.
My goal was to find an associate who gave me the most entries to SharedProfit for the least amount of money.
I found the OnlineProfits Club, joined, and started collecting SharedProfit entries.

A few months later I discovered that SharedProfit was somehow linked to a company called
http://www.wellspringcapitalgroup.com They offered something called DEAL - looked very interesting.

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3.b. The Dealmaker Club, Wellspring

As soon as you received your first entry to SharedProfit, from OPC for example,
your membership in the Dealmaker Club would automatically be active.
You could then buy DEALs. They were a kind of fixed term loan contract.
You paid $25 per DEAL and then you received $56.25 back, over a period of 13 weeks.
I bought my first DEAL in December 2002 and used part of my payouts to buy new DEALs.
I planned a growing income. By October 2003 I was going to make as much from DEALs
as I made from my full-time job. I was so excited! And Wellspring really paid!

Until September 8th 2003. On that day FBI and SEC raided the offices of
Wellspring Capital Group. They took every piece of hardware and paper and froze
all bank accounts. Based on nothing? Not one single complaint from the 22,000 customers.
Wellspring settled with the SEC, a receiver was appointed. Some people will be refunded, maybe, some day.

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4. Off to new ventures.

Now, with all my hopes shattered, what could I do?
I was lucky, kind of, since I didn't loose any money in the Wellspring freeze.
Actually, I had already made a very nice profit. Enough to pay for our summer vacation.
But I still had my main problem at hand: how to pay for my divorce.
And I couldn't see myself going back to endless hours of marketing on the internet.
So I started searching the web again, trying to find something different.

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4.a. Payday Loan Companies

One of SharedProfit's associates, whom I did business with, invited me to join her program.
It kind of expanded on the basic idea of SharedProfit: customers participating in the profit
generated by a business. This was supposed to be two-fold:
They offered payday-loans for U.S. citizens and email-advertising for businesses worldwide.

They funded the loans with money made from advertisers, and with money made from the
Payday-Profits-Rewards that are gifted by associates to their customers.
The associate paid $5 for a PPR, the person being gifted received an email notification.

If the gifted PPR was accepted, a series of ten payments to both the associate and the customer
was promised. The $5 gift would turn into $9,580 over 210 weeks for the recipient.
And the associate would end up receiving a total of $3,695 over the same time.

I had a gifting project running and gave away over 120 PPRs for free, paying more than $600.
On August 12th 2004 the first payments were due - and were never received.
Two days later the entire server was gone and everybody received an email with some lame
excuse and a promise to be refunded (which never happened either). Just another big scam.

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4.b. High Yield Investment Programs.

There are basically only two kinds of HYIPs: honest and dishonest ones.
The dishonest ones are the majority, but you could still make profit from them.
The honest ones are very hard to find, and you could still suffer losses with them.

Be careful with HYIPs that meet the following criteria:
The program encourages/allows advertising. You receive emails, telling you to join.
There is a significant commission/incentive for bringing in new members.
They want you to rate the program on public rating websites or in public forums.
Their website displays banner ads, links to other programs or rating sites.
The return they promise is more than 10% per month, and unvarying.
The minimum investment is less than $25 and there is no reasonable maximum.
They pay a fixed daily return, even on weekends.
After 5,000 members they still accept new members.

'Good' HYIPs usually display all/most of the following signs:
You don't see it advertised, a very good friend of yours told you about it.
New members get in by invitation only. There are no commissions paid.
Their website doesn't come up on search engines, or they don't even have a website.
There is absolutely no banners or links to anything else on their website.
They do not allow posting on rating sites or in public forums.
There is a variable return, paid only on trading days, or weekly, or per month.
The minimum investment is at least $25 and there is a maximum.
They have less than 5,000 members.

I am constantly testing HYIPs, of both categories. I don't use my *own* money though.
I use profits made from HYIPs to test new ones, diversifying as much as possible.

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5. Back to the roots.

While I am still making money with HYIPs, I am not really satisfied with the way
they work. There is very high risk involved, you can't make a lot of money fast,
and it takes a lot of time to monitor them, replace failed ones, read the forums
to keep yourself up to date on HYIP news. Lots of time involved, to just make
a few bucks here and there.

I started thinking about the old times, when I first tried to make money
on the internet. Some of the programs weren't too bad. So I went back
into my archives and searched for those that might have evolved into
something better by now, three years later. Maybe some programs had
outgrown their teething problems and might be worth a second glance?

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5.a. Paid-to-Surf with an interesting twist.

You probably all know those paid-to-surf programs where you have to look at
hundreds of websites filled with ads to make a few cents. Maybe you've even
seen some of those autosurf programs where you don't do the clicking yourself,
you just have the ads running in a background window while you do other stuff.
Now, of course, that isn't very exciting and you can't make lots of money either.

But there are a few paid-to-autosurf programs that combine surfing for money
with an *investment*. You have to autosurf some 100 or more pages per day,
which takes about 25 minutes, to earn around 1% daily on your *investment*.
Investments are called *membership upgrades*. You may invest any multiple of
$4 or so, up to $10,000 with some programs. Which means 25 minutes of having
your computer browse websites automatically could earn you up to $400 per day.
What they offer there is NOT any kind of securities or shares or stocks, so I'm
not sure if the term *investment* would be accurate here. I think they're ponzis.
Could be a way to make more money than with the usual paid-to-surf programs.
But only, if you get in early. These games are definitely not selling advertising.

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5.b. A certain program became huge, then crashed.

The very first Shared-Profit-Reward that I owned back in 2002 had been given to me
by a company that doesn't want to be named anymore. This company was some
kind of matrix program where you had to pay a monthly fee and were earning
referral commissions. They offered some type of investment program for the *near* future,
but that future never seemed to come. So I got tired of waiting, cancelled my membership,
and got more SRPs from other Shared-Profit associates. See above for results.

But I kept watching this company, and I kept hearing about them on various forums.
Late in 2003 they finally did offer one passive income opportunity, but it was still
a matrix structure where you needed to fill downlines before being allowed to participate
in the loan program. Then, early 2004, they finally got rid of that. You could just join
their "2% program" and hope (or pray?) for some decent returns, without referring.

It had grown to gigantic proportions and is in serious trouble by now.
Reminded me of the Wellspring Capital Group, avoiding some of their mistakes.
The CEO was not some invisible, secret, anonymous person, whom you might
have had a hard time trusting your money with. He travelled the world and met members.

The program was a little bit expensive to get in, and a little bit complicated to understand.
They also had frequent problems with their internet connection, and they stopped
paying in December 2004. Still saying they're working on it, even while being investigated.
But I made my deposit back within 17 weeks, so I can't complain.
I'm watching the usual story unfold - this time in *cinema scope*, giant scale.

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6. Considering myself an *oldie* in 2005. So what is it that I learned?

There are hundreds or more offers of so called *opportunities* to make money
on the internet. If you are willing to work a lot and spend a lot of time with your
computer, you can make some money with those. Most people don't make enough
money for a living off the internet though. I have never personally met anyone
who actually became a millionaire with any of these *opportunities*.

A shocking amount of the opportunities offered on the web are outright scams.
They are Ponzi- or pyramid-schemes where only the people, who join early
in the game, really make money. Sometimes not even the first ten members see
any profits. Only one person usually makes *good* money: the one who started it.

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6.a. How to recognize a Ponzi-scheme.

Ponzi-schemes are named after one Mr. Ponzi, who had a thing going with investment
in postal stamps. Supposedly developed a *secret* system how to make huge profits
on those stamps. Mr. Ponzi ended up in jail, everybody lost a lot of money.
Most of those HYIPs I've tried over the years are *Ponzis*, meaning they don't
invest your money in anything. They just pay money coming in from new members
out to old members. Works as long as membership grows exponentially.

So, how can you find out if a program you just discovered is a Ponzi? Go thru the
following checklist. If your answer is *yes* to more than 4 questions, it's probably a Ponzi.

Does it offer unvarying profits of more than 10% per month?
Is there an unwillingness to disclose the sources of income (even in general terms)?
Is the founder or CEO a 'guru' or messianic person, motivated by high ideals?
Are there claims of revolutionary methods and secret processes for wealth generation?
Does it have a base of cheerleaders whose enthusiasm supports the scheme against all objective criticism?
Is there a clear division between 'believers' and 'heretics' - in which the unbeleivers are
made to appear guilty for daring to question the authorities?
Is there censorship and moderation of free and open discussions relevant to the
scheme's structure and performance?
Do you see continuously changing rules, frequently very poorly explained by the executive,
and left for multiple, and often incoherent, interpretation by volunteers or other participants?
Are profit payment delays attributed to the actions of third parties, and allowed
to go unresolved for unreasonably lengthy periods?
Secrecy, manipulation and delay in the release of operational information?
Hyping up of otherwise mundane procedural adjustments, creating the impression that all
changes are exciting improvements?
Emphasis on distant future projects, to the neglect of current problem resolution?

In a free world, you may of course choose to invest (or refrain from investment)
in anything you wish, and even obvious Ponzi schemes can be profitable.
But if you want to become engaged in these things, be sure to safely
withdraw your initial investment at the earliest possible time, and play the rest of the
game using 'their money' ONLY!
Implement a management plan which continues to withdraw 'real money' on a regular basis
and maintain a 'net positive balance' against the reinvestment of part of your profits
for future growth. That way you won't get hurt!

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6.b. Are forums and rating sites a good source of information?

Most HYIPs have their own members' forum. Sometimes set up by the owner of the
program, sometimes set up by a group of members.
And there are also several forums, that talk about all kinds of different programs
in a more general way. You can also have a look at various rating sites, to see if
a certain program is still paying, or for how long it has been paying.

The one serious flaw common to all these websites is: the content is written by ordinary
people - members of those programs, sometimes administrators of the programs.

All these people post their personal opinions, speculations, questions, experiences.
Some will try to manipulate you, some will have their own benefit in mind, some will
be liars, some might just be honestly mistaken. You have no way of checking wether
or not the content of these posts is the truth.

When I first started out in this area of business, I joined every single forum I could find.
I spent about two hours daily reading new posts, answering some of them, reading and
writing personal messages to other members. I met lots of new people at first, but after
a while I realized, that the same people are members of the same forums I was a member of.
I became known on those forums, people trusted me and seemed to like my posts.
I was even given moderator jobs in several forums, and at first I thought this was an honor.

After about two years in those forums, and roughly 1,200 posts I wrote, I noticed that I didn't
really benefit from my participation. On the contrary! I spent my precious time wading
thru hundreds of outrageous posts, lies, insults, ads for scams, most of them full
of spelling errors, written by people who have a limited knowledge of English and
a low level of education. Not much information, and not much fun either.

When I found out, that there was more than one forum with threads about
myself (?!?), I decided it was time to leave those forums and move on.
How would you feel, reading people's twisted opinion about yourself?
Some crooks even abused the reputation I had built, pretending to be me,
and then scamming others for some small amount of $$$.

Today I'd say forums and rating sites are good for total newbies. Just to find out what
programs people are currently playing with, and which ones are obvious scams.

Once you have outgrown that very first newbie stage of your hobby, you don't want
to waste your time on forums and rating sites anymore.
And if (or when) you get to the point where you are really making good money
online, whatever the program(s) are, you want to stay out of the headlines
for your own safety.

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7. Big moves ahead, less time to play.

My personal/family life is taking priority over my online/internet activities
for the remainder of 2005, and most likely the first half of 2006.
That means I can't monitor the HYIP-world as much anymore.
I'll be concentrating on a few select programs, the ones I believe will last
long enough to be worth my while.

I won't waste any time to determine wether they are ponzis or legitimate
investments - I'll just use the risk management strategies I developed
over the past five years: consider it a gamble, invest only what you can
afford to lose. Take your initial deposit back first, then *let it ride*.

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7.a. DXinOne seems to be this year's big one.

Everybody probably heard of DXGold (or DXinOne), or maybe you're
already a member. Don't ask me, wether it's a scam or not - I don't know.
And, like I said before, I go by the asumption that this one is just as much
a gamble as all the others. Always consider your money lost.

What I like about it is the very short *money at risk* time - just 90 days.
What I didn't like at first is their complicated system. A giant website,
dozens of links to click on, you feel lost at first.

But I'm smart, I can read, I took my time to learn - without buying any
overpriced courses. And by now I feel comfortable with the operation.
Of course, I have my initial deposit back. So it's a *free ride* for me.

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7.b. One or two private programs, plus a few games.

Diversification is still a good way to reduce risk. Even when you don't
have the time to look for dozens of programs to diversify into.
So, when you get lucky enough to be invited into one of the very few
private programs, that still accept new members - just do it.
They usually last longer, and they try harder to be honest.

But even if you were lucky, it's still fun to play some of the newer
games/ponzis out there. New HYIPs are opening daily, just give them
a week - then jump in, if you like. But don't expect to get *rich* with those.
It's just as fun as casinos - but less time consuming.
As long as you don't get addicted, it's OK to play.

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8. The end of the tunnel?

I remodeled everything and started a new life on the other side
of the Atlantic. A new home, a new job, new hobbies, new friends.
HYIPs somehow drifted out of focus, even the ones I thought would last.
Every single one of them vanished, including the "private" ones.

I was so busy getting settled in, that I simply lost track of the
entire HYIP industry. My previous findings were proven true, though:
it is a gamble, illegal for US-people in most cases, even if you "just play".

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8.a. Lots of rules.

Any activity related to financial transactions is heavily regulated
in the USA. If you want to participate in the market without fear
of ending up in jail you need to be aware of many very strict rules.
Online gambling is illegal, sports arbitrage is illegal, giving financial
advice without proper license is illegal, recruiting members for
any kind of financial scheme is illegal.

Some people may have tried to argue with the authorities about
these types of businesses being illegal, or not. I prefer
to simply stay out of trouble. So I just held still and did nothing.

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8.b. Getting somewhere, even in the USA.

Actually, the one thing I continued to do is: observe.
The few legal options for people living in the USA are mostly
set up for those with big money and/or lots of spare time on their hands.
I have neither, but I still discovered one viable option.

Now, since I don't have a license as a financial advisor,
I can't disclose the one viable option for us little people in the USA,
but you are smart (maybe smarter than I am), so you will find it.

One piece of advice, though: don't expect to get rich over night!

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