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paid to surf


									Paid to surf
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          It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Paid To Click. (Discuss)
Pay to surf or is a business model that became popular in the late 1990s, prior to the dot-com crash.
Essentially, a company uses income from advertising placed on members' screens to pay them for time
spent surfing.
A pay-to-surf company would provide a small program, commonly called a "viewbar", to be installed
on a member's computer. Advertisers' banner ads were then displayed while the member was browsing
the web. Since the viewbar tracked websites that the user visited, the pay-to-surf company was able to
deliver targeted ads for their advertisers. Advertisers paid the pay-to-surf company a small amount
(typically US$0.50) for every hour of a member's surfing.
Members were usually limited on the amount of time per month for which they would be paid to surf
(typically 20 hours). However, pay-to-surf companies also paid their members for each new user
referred to the company (typically US$0.05 - US$0.10 per recruit). Thus, it was profitable for a
member to garner as many referrals as possible, encouraging some users to recruit members using
spam, though officially forbidden by the user's agreement.
The first and most well-known pay-to-surf company was AllAdvantage.[1] It launched in March 1999
and grew to 13 million members in little over a year with the multi-level marketing system of recruiting
new members. The scheme capitalized on the notion that anyone could make money on the internet
without much effort.
AllAdvantage’s success attracted many imitators. At its peak, there were several dozen pay-to-surf
companies. AllAdvantage had US$175 million in venture capital; its imitators did not and thus their
members were never more than a small fraction of AllAdvantage's.
After 18 months, even AllAdvantage ceased operations. At that point, AllAdvantage had paid out over
US$160 million to its members. Many members of smaller pay-to-surf companies were never paid
when the companies shut down.
By late 2001 with the dot-com bubble collapsed, very few pay-to-surf companies remained.[2] This is
not surprising since 100% of the revenue came from internet advertising, which was the area hardest
As with many Internet business models, pay-to-surf companies attracted people trying to defraud the
company out of money. First, as noted above, the companies had to deal with spammers, often having
to terminate member accounts. They were also required to get parental permission from members under
the age of 18, many of whom flocked to these programs as an easy source of income. Finally, utilities
started appearing which allowed users to simulate surfing activity.[3][4] Some users even created
mechanical mouse-moving devices which ran around their desks, i.e. "JiggyMouse".[5] These
programs and devices allowed users to get paid simply for leaving their machines on. This began an
arms race between the pay-to-surf companies who built fraud-prevention software and fraud program
developers, with each releasing increasingly sophisticated versions of their software.

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