There are all sorts of ways to make a couple bucks here and there on the internet. Most of them are tedious and time-consuming for relatively small payouts. A few programs, however, will pay you regularly just for the privilege of monitoring your device activity. Once you install an app on your phone and an extension on you computer browsers, the rewards start rolling in.
Who Would Pay for This (and How Much)?
Google and Nielsen are probably the two most significant companies that want your information. Google collects your information with its Cross Media Panel, while Nielsen runs the Media Insiders program. Both want your information for advertising reasons. Compiling media usage profiles allows them to better target ads, or in Nielsen’s case, help other companies target ads.
The Cross Media Panel pays $1 per week per device type. So if you install their app or extension just on your phone, you’ll make $52/year. If a tablet and phone, $104, and if tablet, phone and computer, $156.
Media Insiders is not as clear about how much they pay. It seems that you get rewarded in part based on how much data they capture. The Penny Hoarder claims you can earn up to $185 per year using three devices.
What Exactly Do They Monitor?
Is Your Information Safe?
Given all that these companies are collecting, is your information safe? Kind of. Google promises to only share your data with “trusted third-party Panel Partners.” Other than these platform partners, Google will only release information with your permission, at law enforcement request or when Google deems there to be a safety issue. Again, vague and broad enough to be slightly unnerving.
Coming to Terms With Signing Away Your Privacy
If you decide to participate in one of these programs, you need to come to terms with the privacy sacrifice. Initially I was a little unnerved by the thought of installing these monitoring apps. However, I’m now on board for a number of reasons.
In the first place, I figure I’m not doing anything illegal (that I know of), so I’m not worried about being reported to law enforcement. Furthermore, we already know that the NSA is collecting our data anyway.
Secondly, even without these programs, Google already is collecting data based on my web searches, email usage, and a number of other google services I use. Additionally, companies collectively monitor and collect everything from my address to my credit and shopping history.
With the amount of information that is already out, signing up for one of these programs does not significantly expose me any more than I already am. Given this, earning a decent chunk of change for no extra effort is totally worth it.
Since Media Insiders is not currently accepting applicants, I’m currently only signed up for Google’s Cross Media Panel. Since I don’t have a tablet, I can only make $104 per year with my 2 devices. However, for not doing anything (other than installing the apps), I’m quite happy with that.
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- While I do strive to only write accurate information and dispense valuable advice, I am not a licensed financial adviser. All information is based solely on my personal experience and personal research and should be treated as such. Find out more.