With interest rates at 0.5% and most highstreet ISAs giving a similar return I've been struggling to find somewhere to save my money.
Zopa's philosophy remains unchanged, you move money into your online Zopa account, set the rates you wish to lend at and Zopa lends your money to people that need it.
When setting your rates Zopa gives you guidelines as to the market rates, these change frequently and I tend to set mine on the high end of the recommended rates. This means my money is lent our slowly however the return rates are higher.
I lend out a maximum of £10 per person hence my maximum exposure per loan is limited. Zopa has a number of markets and you can choose the rates you lend to each one (if at all) A* being the best market and B being the riskier, obviously the rates for the riskier markets are higher.
Through your loan book you can see the usernames of who you lend money to and the reasons, most are for DIY, cars or to consolidate existing debts however you do get some more entertaining ones.
If you need access to your money quickly Zopa has a rapid return facility however you lose a percentage of your earnings by using this.
My difficulty with Zopa came in trying to calculate the percent rate of return over a period of time. Therefore just over a year ago I took the decision not to add anything further into my account.
Over a year long period I could then calculate the years earning as a percent to then compare with other investments.
As a result in this time I had one unpaid load (ie bad debt), once taking this into account and the 1% Zopa fee my return was 5.56%.
Compared to high street ISA's and similar this is a good return.
About two months ago I sold my first website on Flippa.com, a site dedicated to buying and selling websites and domains. Launched earlier this year by a team from the internet resources site Sitepoint the marketplace is like Ebay for buying and selling websites.
The site I sold was www.ipodhistory.com, I originally bought the site from the Digital Point Forums about 18months earlier for $180 (£90 at the time), it was my most expensive site I had bought and was a relatively big gamble. Over the following year and a half I invested in search engine optimisation, added new content and grew a community. In this time I tripled the traffic and advertising revenue.
I listed the site on Flippa and immediately received interest and a number of offers. After around two weeks the site sold for $2000 (£1300). I was paid through PayPal and the transaction went very quickly and smoothly.
You can list sites on Flippa either with an auction style listing or where people submit private bids for a site. Flippa charge a listing fee with various optional extras (about $28 for my site) plus a final value fee of 5% (with a cap of $498).
It's sad to see the iPod History site go from my portfolio but I'm more than happy with the return on investment.
2009 has been a tough year for Bloggers to make money compared to 2008 but there have been opportunities and ad networks have matured to become better accepted by marketers. Gone are the large amounts of money for private ad sales in favor of link exchange agreements and PPC amounts have tumbled.
Here is how some of my sites have fared over the past year for monetization.
Sponsored reviews have fared well in 2009 with advertisers keen to show their products in a natural way to consumers and search engines. They are often criticized for degrading the quality of a blogs content but I've found a sponsored review mixed in between a number of good quality posts to perform well. Strict new rules for Bloggers in the US may mean some good opportunities for non-US blogs in 2010.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
It's been a rough year for Pay Per Click marketing, the amount made per click in 2009 has plummeted on a number of my sites, hopefully 2010 will see the PPC market performing much better.
Google Adsense - Has been a reliable income throughout the year though relies heavily on people clicking high value ads. Adsense performed well on my iPodHistory site before I sold it however has failed to do well on 12stix or ImAFish.
Clicksor - Has replaced Adsense on a couple of sites where they are not suitable for Adsense or have been banned. The amount per click is fairly poor even compared to Adsense.
Monthly ads are where you are paid a set amount per month for an advert though these often base prices on Google Page Rank and Alexa ranking. There are a number of key players:
TNX - Has been a consistent payer throughout the year but relies on paying a small amount for a lot of adverts.
LinkLift - Recently out of beta, LinkLift is one of the newer players but has shown good growth throughout the year.
Linkworth - Advertising revenue has dried up significantly from Linkworth over the past year.
Text-Link-Ads - TLA has paid consistently low amounts all year.
Teliad - Has paid consistently for higher Page Ranked pages.
Private Ad Sales
This time last year there was a lot of money for private ad sales however this has declined significantly. Companies are now turning to link exchange programs rather than paying directly for ads. Even the better paying gambling sites have been cutting back on their advertising budget.
Hopefully we are over the worst in 2009 with the slump in the advertising market. There are plenty of opportunities out there for Blog monetization but Bloggers need to work that extra bit harder to attract the advertisers.
Advertising revenue has been sliding in recent months but has been offset by the weakening dollar. It might be time now to start working on a strategy for increasing advertising through the recession.
The service is simple to install with a small PHP script to embed into your sites template. From there everything is automated. A cost in TNX points is given per page based on page rank but you can still earn from pages without a page rank.
TNX is good for:
- If you have a site with a lot of pages - such as a blog with posts, category pages, monthly archives and pages.
- If you have a site with a good page rank or have page rank on internal pages.
- If you do not want to worry about selling advertising, approving adverts or adding/removing adverts manually from your website.
Payment can be made at any time to your PayPal account.
Payments for the Christmas period should now have been sent out - how well did you do? I was surprised how easy it was to make money without having to do anything! Did you know if you get your friends to sign up through EI42 and they each get their friends to join and purchase through EI42 you can make over £100/month!
Your store should look just like mine below (but with your username)
Now is the perfect time to start recruiting people - then let your friends do all the hard work while you watch their purchases make you cash back!
It's easy to promote your EI42 store:
- Email the address to your friends.
- Add it to your email signature.
- Send it to your friends on Facebook or Myspace.
- Add it as a shared link on social networking sites such as Facebook or del.icio.us
- Add it to your forum signatures.
- Send it to your contacts in Instant Messenger programs such as MSN and AIM.
Good luck and happy earning!
With Christmas coming up now is the perfect time to start pushing your EI42 store. Top retailers such as Amazon, Play.com, HMV, Comet, Dixons, Orange, Toys 'R' Us and Marks and Spencers allow yourself and your friends to earn cashback through EI42.
With the average Cash Back around 5% on a Christmas shop of £1000 you will be saving £50! Now imagine your friends spending that and you earning cash back on their purchases!
If you have signed up already your EI42 shop URL will look like mine below. Now is a perfect time to be emailing it to your friends and family, adding it to social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace, adding it to your email or forum signature and telling people in the pub!
Happy Christmas shopping and I hope you earn plenty through yours and your friends cash back!
I've previously looked at cash back sites in parts one and two of the incredibly popular Cash Back: How to Make Money Online series. Since then hundreds of clone cash back sites have popped up, I've largely ignored them as they offer nothing new or exciting.
This was until I was contacted by a new cash back site that offered a slightly different model, one that benefited you and your friends. The site Ei42 (E is for Everything, I is for Internet, 42 is the Answer to Life the Universe and Everything) sets you up with your own on-line store which you earn cash back through. Anyone else you get to use your on-line store will also earn you cash back.
My on-line store is : www.ei42.com/pwhite
People can also join Ei42 through your store and earn themselves cash back. As a reward you get 10% of the cash back they earn. If other people then sign up through your friends store you still earn cash back, this time 4%. As the model expands and more and more of your friends and their friends join and spend through the site you still earn money.
The store is the most impressive part of the site, the way they have integrated products from different merchants is different to any cash back site I've seen before. The themes leave a lot to be desired aesthetically but are usable and well structured.
However compared to other cash back sites such as Quidco and Rpoints Ei42 does not show you how much cash back you will get from each purchase. The creators state that they want to remove the worry involved in using a cash back site and having to work out how much you will earn from each purchase.
From the people I've shown Ei42 they think its a great idea because you can make money out of your friends however they would not use the site as they don't know how much they would be making. One person made the example that if Quidco no longer offered cash back then you would have no incentive to use Quidco and if you do not know how much you are making from each retailer how can you decide who to buy from?
I would like to see Ei42 expand on their store and provide web masters with ways to integrate the store into their own sites - so for instance I could sell products through ImAFish earning cash back. They could even provide Facebook widgets of products allowing people to buy and earn cash back that way.
Ei42 is evolutionary rather than revolutionary and I've found it hard to see it more than a cash back site. Ei42 has removed an important part of the cash back process and replaced it with a complex referral program. Your own store is impressive but needs to be taken to the next level so web masters can integrate it with their own sites and social networking profiles.
Here are a list of 30 Bingo sites that offer either £5 or £10 free sign up bonus without having to deposit anything. They have all been tried and verified to work by Benjie and myself. We have both won hundreds of pounds through playing Bingo such as on www.boomtownbingo.com.
Most of these sites use the same service meaning that you will need to pick a different username per site, all your other details can stay the same.
The added advantage of them being the same service is that you can play yourself in order to increase your chance of winnings. One method is signing up for 4-5 sites at a time (in different browsers or computers) then all join the same bingo game (buying the maximum number of cards) this way the jackpot is higher and your chance of winnings is 4x higher.
Once you win take the money out immediately, most of these sites have a minimal withdrawal of £30 so if you win £20 you will need to deposit £10 then withdraw straight away.
Benjie has produced a spreadsheet to track your winnings (right click and select save link as).
Experience has told us that playing Sunday night is not a good time to win as its peak bingo playing time. I've had good results on week nights and weekend end afternoons.
Let me know how you get on and if you have done as well as us!
Previously reported on this forum post.
Zopa is a social lending and borrowing website that allows you to exchange with other people in the community.
The site was founded through consumer research showing people were fed up with borrowing money from banks who make huge profits and that certain people found it hard to get credit.
The community aspect of Zopa is that the people lending the money are you and me, in fact anyone can sign up and start lending their own money to other members.
You get the control to set your own interest rates and to set the market you lend to. When signing up to borrow money you have to be credit checked, the outcome of this then puts you into one of four markets - A*, A, B or C. The better the market you are in, the lower the interest rate you will be able to borrow money at.
Zopa stands for 'Zone of Possible Agreement' and states that the average interest rate is about 6.75% however usually for an A* market this is lower at about 5.5%.
This is great for borrowers in this market as the interest is much better than what you would find on the high street. This isn't so good for lenders as after Zopa fees and tax you would be better off putting your money in a savings account.
The B and C markets are where lenders are more likely to make a better return, however the risk of lending money is significantly increased.
**the rest of this blog has become corrupted**
Last April we looked at how you can use the website Quidco to make cash back on many of your on-line services and how to exploit free gambling offers. This second article looks at the website Rpoints (affiliate link) and how you exploit it in a similar way to Quidco.
Like Qudico, Rpoints offers a cash back mechanism for your purchases. An example being I want to buy a DVD, I find website under Rpoints with the highest cash back then I buy the DVD through this site. If the cash back is 2.5% on a £10 DVD I can expect to get 25p back. Multiply that by all the purchases you do over a year and it soon mounts up especially with a few big purchases like TV's, game consoles, computers, insurance or holidays.
With Rpoints as the name suggests you collect points, each point is worth 1p, so 100 points is £1 and 1000 points is £10. Points soon mount up and there are a number of daily free points that can be collected.
Rpoints offers 500points (£5) bonus just for signing up, claimable once you have made 2500 points. Rpoints also has a nice affiliate scheme so if you get your friends to sign up through your link to can get more 500 points bonuses. Rpoints doesn't take £5/year like Quidco does however the cash back amount is not always as good as Quidco so its important to weigh the two sites up before purchasing an item.
On the Qudico article we discussed how to make money through signing up with gambling offers, spending the bare minimum to make the most back in Cashback. We showed how it wasn't hard to make at least £200 and have a lot of fun in the process gambling. The process it very similar with Rpoints however they have nicely put together a page with all the gambling links and how many points they are worth.
Even if you have completed most of the gambling links through Quidco there may still be some on Rpoints that you havn't done. I recently signed up for the National Lottery gaining 200points for just buying a lottery ticket. Many of the gambling offers are a lot higher - upto 4000 points (£40) though its important to look at what the requirements of the offer are. Some of them are not specific and it is best to stick to the offers that state the exact requirements e.g. "Earn 1000 points when you deposit and play through at least £10".
In order to access the forum you need to be a member however membership is free plus you get a 500 points bonus for joining.
Post below any questions of your experiences with Rpoints.
Update 10/04/07: Rpoints will match any other cash back sites with their Highest Cashback Claim, so if you do happen to find a site that offers better cash back then you can claim the difference through Rpoints.