Web marketing plan: Getting paid to surf

But don't expect to get rich. Startup set to pay surfers a penny a page view for surfing member sites.

A Utah-based startup will launch a new service this week that pays users to surf the Web.

But unlike some existing programs, PointClick.com doesn't require users to watch a constant stream of ads, or meet specific demographics qualifications to get their cash. Instead, users get paid about a penny a page view when they visit a specific network of sites from the PointClick home page.

PointClick CEO Jody Rookstool said that the company has already signed up more than 200 member merchants.

The merchants pay PointClick an average of three cents per page view, around one cent of which is passed on to the surfer. The payments vary by merchant, with special deals for consumers, including a bonus for consumers who go the extra step and actually buy something from one of the merchant partners.

A 'third generation' venture
Rookstool said his company is part of the "third generation" of Internet firms. The first generation was paid, with consumers paying for access to the Internet and to content. The second, "free" generation saw companies like Geocities and Hotmail giving away services to consumers.

The next move is toward incentive-based models, like affiliate programs, he said.

"Instead of getting something for free, you're now incentivized to do it," he said. The company estimates that the average user could earn around $20 to $40 a month using the PointClick service, which will go live Thursday.

The program should help merchants because they are only paying for actual visits to the site, Rookstool said.

He said the company has developed ways to protect against "bogus clicks" by users. And the fact that each click is only in itself worth a few pennies should discourage people from surfing simply to get paid, instead of visiting sites.

"People won't surf to make money because they won't make enough," he said. And the purchasing bonuses will encourage them to become buyers at the merchant sites.


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