When I was in college, one of the best ways to “make money on the Internet” was to install a toolbar that showed you ads while you surfed the web.
It was called AllAdvantage and as a poor college kid, it was a fantastic way to make money. We just left our computers on, installed software that would periodically move our mouse so the toolbar thought we were there, and just cashed the small checks whenever they came. It was perfect.
Back then, we weren't concerned about security or personal information and our internet was free (well, included with our $30,000 a year tuition!), so we just took it.
The days of something like that are gone but I've learned of something that is about as close as you can get to it – it's called Honeygain.
What is Honeygain?
Honeygain is an app that you can install on your computer (Windows and MacOS) or Android phone and it uses your internet data to run various queries for their clients. The company lets other businesses use their network to gather data and market research. The value of the network is that it's installed across several different devices and IPs, so their clients can get data from a variety of sources.
In terms of passive income, it's just about as passive as you can get.
And they aren't using your computer's processing power to mine bitcoin, they just use your internet.
Unlike some other market research applications, they don't track your behavior and sell it to marketing companies. What they do is use your internet connection to run various search queries that their clients are interested in.
A common use case appears to be search engine optimization research – they run queries on Google and other search engines from your devices to see what the results are. This can be valuable information because marketers are always curious about where they appear in the results and whether their efforts have been effective.
Another use case that they've outlined on their blog is price comparison websites. A store may change the price of a product or service based on what they think is the purchasing power of users. Someone who lives in a higher cost of living area, such as New York City, may be willing to pay more for something than someone who lives in a lower cost of living area, such as Charlotte. Price comparison websites can use the network to check prices on products and services to give their users the most accurate data.
How Much Can I Earn with Honeygain?
You get paid based on how much internet they use – not how much internet you use.
The current rate for Default Network Sharing is 1 credit for 10 MB of traffic that goes through your network and 10 GB = $1 USD. This means that each credit is worth a penny.
They also have a “content delivery” service where you earn 6 credits for every hour Content Delivery is active and running (not “in queue”).
Your dashboard will update with how much you've earned:
The tricky part about Honeygain is that the demand for their services is uneven. Sometimes you'll have high demand, few users, and you can make more renting out your internet connection. Sometimes you'll have high demand but if a lot of people sign up for it in your area, the demand will be spread out across those users. It's hard to predict how much you can make in a month because you don't know how much demand they have on their network.
When you read $20 in earnings, you can request a payout. They work through Tipalti, a California based payment company, but you can get your payout through PayPal.
Honeygain Referral Program
When you sign up for Honeygain, you get a $5 bonus to your account that you can withdraw once you hit $20 in points. They estimate that it takes 48 days to reach $20.
When you refer people to Honeygain, you get 10% of what they earn.
Is It Worth It?
This is hard to say because it depends on how comfortable you are with letting an application use your computer or phone's internet without you knowing 100% what they're doing. It's easy to install and run, the app is very clear and intuitive, but you're still letting an app use your data. It will only run when you're connected to wi-fi (or if you enable mobile data on the app), so you don't have to be afraid that they're using up your cellular data plan.
If you do choose to use cellular data, keep your eyes on your usage if you aren't on an unlimited plan. Also, keep an eye on your battery because if you increase your data usage, it'll drain your battery too.
They claim to take steps to ensure none of your personal information is being used – which is always a leap of faith with companies with limited history.
It comes down to how much you trust the company and there isn't much information to work with. I saw that it was posted to Product Hunt by “Kevin Riderlen” but I couldn't find more on him when I did some Google searches. I wish the site did a better job of providing more about the people behind the product to inspire more confidence.
They have a 3.8-star review (out of 5) on Trustpilot with over 250 reviews, though a lot of the reviews appear to be from people looking to get you to sign up with their referral link.
I believe the site's claims about what it does and how much they pay you as it all adds up. If you have a good internet connection and don't mind letting someone use it, this is as passive as you can get.
If you are less comfortable giving up that much control, you could always sign up for Swagbucks and just “watch” videos or surf the internet all day. It's less passive (since you'll need to click a few links) but Swagbucks has been around for years and Prodege, their parent company, owns several similar companies in this space. It's ad-based and you know exactly what you're doing (loading and watching videos) to earn money.
For now, I'm not going to install the application until I can learn more about the safeguards and the team behind it but nothing about it leads me to believe there's anything to be fearful of.