Does PTC really work for those who want to earn money working from home?
Anyone who's considered throwing off their day job for working at home has come across them at one time or another - the PTC, or Paid-to-Click sites, that draw in people with the promise of making money from the comfort of their own homes, and all from the simple act of clicking and viewing ads.
Does it really work, though? Is it truly a viable option for people who want to work from home?
Understanding how PTC works
To be able to answer this question, we have to understand what we're dealing with. How does the PTC industry work?
Simply, the PTC owner puts up his site, and then tries to draw in advertisers. These advertisers pay a fee to the PTC owner so that their advertisements can be displayed on the site. Then the PTC owner draws in the viewers or subscribers by offering them a portion of the fee received from the advertiser in exchange for "clicking and viewing the ad." Generally speaking, PTC sites guarantee the advertisers that they will be getting exposure for their ads; and then again guarantee the viewers that they will be paid for viewing the ads. If the viewer brings in more people to view ads, they get paid a referral fee and a percentage of the clicks of the people they bring in. If we look at it from the viewpoint of advertising, it is a place that brings the sellers and the potential consumers together, and the PTC sites get paid for providing the "marketplace," so to speak.
Of course, in the nature of online trends, the industry itself has taken on a life of its own, and has warped into its own distinctive creature.
What makes PTC different from traditional advertising?
What I do not like about PTC is that they have taken all advertising principles and basically thrown them out of the window. Advertisements are supposed to be geared towards attracting consumers, potential customers, or even for disseminating an idea or concept that the promoter wishes to sell. Effective advertising integrates creativity, an intimate knowledge of the target market, and touts its products by showcasing the advantages or benefits of their products or ideas. Hence, you have to have a good product to sell to begin with, and then you have to be a good salesman to sell it. In the greater competition of the marketplace, this means survival of the fittest. PTC sites, on the other hand, offer consumers money if they will "just look and see what is available." Hence, the advertisements that do appear on PTC sites are those most likely struggling for an audience, or struggling because of poor quality advertising (or scams looking for potential cons). But in what must be the greatest irony of all, most of the advertisements on PTC sites are simply advertisements from other PTC sites. In effect, PTC sites guarantee each other a market of potential subscribers since the ones viewing those ads in the first place are those who are already subscribers to the PTC industry.
Though to be fair, the PTC industry does not pretend to be any substantial forum for serious advertising. They are PTC because they pay you to click advertisements, so the focus is more on being a place where people can earn extra cash while "working" from home, rather than being an advertising nook.
Is PTC a viable work-at-home option?
The answer here may differ from person to person - I've come across stories of people who now make several hundred to a thousand each month, if the proofs of payment they post online are to be believed. These are mostly the ones who started early in the industry, and were therefore able to capitalize on the newness of the market, with the rest of the world as a large untapped potential for referrals. These were the people who first brought other people in. Obviously, from the way that the PTC industry has expanded in recent years, these pioneers would have been well-placed for big referral and percentage fees from the latecomers.
But - and let me just emphasize that this is only my opinion - I do not think that PTC sites are at all a viable work-at-home option. For one thing, you don't really earn much when you "click and view ads." At most, you get paid 1 to 2 cents for each advertisement you click, from an average of 10-15 advertisements each day. If you were lucky, you would be able to earn one dollar after several days to a week of viewing ads, and then you can only get paid after you earn as much as 10 dollars. If there were any money to be made from PTC sites, it would be from referrals. But how easy is it to get enough people to join you for it to make a difference, particularly now that the number of people who have tried, and left, PTC sites, is greater than ever before?
In recent years, too, the PTC industry has become a breeding ground for scams. There are PTC sites who never pay the viewers; there are sites that actually provide machine-generated clicks to the advertisers. The number of these sites have proliferated exorbitantly, making the process of winnowing out the legitimate and non-legitimate sites difficult. Various watchdogs have also come onto the scene, and sites providing listings of who pays and who does not pay are just as popular as the PTC sites themselves.
And yet - notwithstanding those precious few who really do make good money in the PTC industry (they must be out there, right?), one has to question the overall usefulness of joining one of these sites. You are spending some of your precious time, are consuming expensive electricity and online connection fees, in order to view (or to promote) advertisements that don't really say anything. Though I suppose that in the end, PTC sites actually do operate on advertising principles after all -
"Advertising frequently uses psychological pressure (for example, appealing to feelings of inadequacy) on the intended consumer, which may be harmful." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising)
The target audience, in this instance, however, is the person who is in need of money. By promising payment in exchange for clicks, then PTC actually has the largest target market in the world - those who are looking for just a little bit of extra cash.