3 Illegal Ways I Made Money On The Internet

3 illegal ways to make money on the internet

by Roman on November 13, 2009

Over 10 years has passed since I did any of this but I figured it would still make an interesting read.

1. Advertising

About 10 years ago I made a website on Geocities – the address was something like www.geocities.com/mywebpage.
I used a special program and a list of more than 20 000 proxy servers to fake the visitors number of the website. I probably had no users at all but the counter said about 100 000 visits daily :)

A lot of people contacted me and wanted to know how I got such a huge number of visitors and asked to do link exchange. I didn’t do it!
Instead I signed up for a program and offered ads on my website. These were tricky ads – they required clicking and filling out forms on the subsequent pages.

I had a special program intended to do just that. The program was called CaCa and it was made by a Russian hacker who also offered support.
Do date this was the most advanced cheating program I have ever seen (but I haven’t seen many) – it offered features to fake the click through rate of the ads and even allowed you to make it look like more people are on the website during the day and less in the evening.

The advertising company sent me my first check but then closed my account because I was not generating any sales. I could have used the same technique on other pages but I didn’t.
More than money I just wanted to see if I can do it.

What is a proxy? A proxy is a way to connect to the internet through another computer. If someone connects to the internet via a special proxy it becomes impossible to trace them and to tell who they really are. Multiple proxies are often used by computer criminals to hide their IP address.

Why you couldn’t do it anymore:
I did it before there was Google or any modern advertising companies. Today Google Adsense and other similar programs have large blacklisted proxy lists that they keep a close eye on.
When someone uses an anonymous proxy server to change their IP address and to click on ads they will know it immediately and most probably cancel your account due to fraud.

2. Get paid to Surf programs

My first encounter with making money on the internet was a website called Spedia. They offered a bar that would sit at the bottom of your screen while you browse the web and show you ads – you would make money just buy browsing and occasionally clicking on ads.
I followed all their rules but for some reason they thought that I had somehow cheated them and closed my account just before I got my money. I was very disappointed.

I then started to look around for similar programs and found GetPaid4 – a company that has since gone extinct.  Me and couple of my friends would kind of break in to the schools computer class and play games throughout the night on some computers and on others log in with the GetPaid4 bar and have a program move the mouse cursor and simulate surfing on the web.
Each of us had programs making money for 4-5 people at the same time. This meant that we would get multiple checks with the names of different people. These people were our friends who had nothing against making some money for only cashing a check in their bank.

Why you couldn’t do it anymore:
This one has actually multiple reasons. We had 20 to 25 computers making money at the same time from the same network. This means that all these computers had the same IP address. It would immediately raise all kinds of red flags today.
We also used programs that automatically moved the mouse cursor – it is very easy for another program that has been loaded in your memory to detect mouse moving applications. This would also indicate an immediate red flag.

3. Get Paid to Read Email

I opened an account for 1 of the first web services that used to pay people for reading  emails. The way it worked was that they had 2 banners – on the header and on the footer of the email. Their advertisers paid them some money for advertising and they paid 60% of it to the people having email accounts and seeing the ads.
I have since forgotten what was the name of the company but it went bankrupt pretty fast. They didn’t require you to click on the ads – this meant that they were probably showing CPM ads. Nobody knew 10 years ago but today it is common knowledge that these are the worst kind of ads to make money.
The people who got paid didn’t get enough money to stick around and the companies advertising probably didn’t get anyone clicking the ads.

I signed up for all sorts of spam emails and made sure that I got thousands of mails per day. Then I used a program to click “next” and read all the emails during the night while I was sleeping. :evil:

Why you couldn’t do it anymore:
These kinds of basic web services are all bankrupt. The business model wasn’t simply viable. The websites still working usually want you to fill out some forms and click on things. This is a lot more difficult to cheat. Automatically beating CAPTCHAs is almost impossible.

Would I Do It Again?

No. And if someone asks I am willing to give all the money back even if more than 10 years has passed.
In total I didn’t make more than a few thousand dollars all combined. It was a great learning experience but nothing beats making money the honest way.

If I think back I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t know half as much about computers and the internet as I know today if I hadn’t done what I did. So I am happy I did it but I wouldn’t do it again!

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