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In Depth: Easy ways to make money with your PC

In Depth: Easy ways to make money with your PC

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Published by: Crowdsourcing.org on Oct 09, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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October 9, 2011 at 3:00 am
Easy ways to make money with your PC
Let's be positive. Forget the credit crunch and the age of austerity - we're going to help youmake some money. Don't worry if you're no Alan Sugar; thanks to the internet and your PC, allyou need is a good idea.If you don't even have one of those you can transform your spare time into cold hard cash -legally. This isn't a guide to selling sell your old vinyl on eBay or flogging knackeredpaperbacks on Amazon. We've done our homework, trawled the web and put together a list of new, exciting and innovative ways in which technology can help you make money.We'll explore topics like human intelligence tasks: jobs that computers and software can't do,but are essential to the function of an electronic business. All you need do is sign up for aservice, set aside a few hours and do the jobs you're assigned.If might not be glamorous work, but if you have a PC and some time to spare it's a great way of earning a few quid. If you're feeling brave, we'll also explore how to start your own electronicbusiness in a thoroughly modern way.Back in the pre-wired age, the banks held all the cards. If you wanted to start a business, youhad to convince your bank manager that your great idea was profitable. Today you can forgetthe big
four. If you have an ambition to launch an amazing new site, all you need to do isconvince a community of lenders. If they're happy with your plan, the cash will turn up.
The equation works the other way too. If you have some savings and fancy being a venturecapitalist, read on.Before we get stuck into making our fortunes, a word of warning: keep your wits about you.The web is groaning with scams and scammers. We'll look at a few classic examples. Youshould also take a trip to our website and check out our definitive guide tostaying one stepahead of the con men. Don't be put off though. The internet is a great place to make cash - just remember the oldadage: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Peer-to-peer lendingServices like Zopa make it possible to borrow and lend without the bankers taking a cut
The internet gets rid of the middleman. Bloggers can publish to the web, bands can sell theirmusic direct through iTunes, and now, you can borrow directly from the online community - nobankers involved. It's called peer-to-peer lending or social banking, and it uses the principle of crowdsourcing.Let's say you want to borrow a couple of grand to start an online T-shirt business. Sign up toZopa and you can get a loan at a very attractive rate of interest, plus a flat fee. The moneycomes from a network of lenders, not a bank, and it pays to be a lender too. At Zopa, forexample, the average return at the time of writing is 8.3 per cent, which is better than mostshort-term savings accounts.What if a borrower can't pay back the money? So far, Zopa has done pretty well on that front,with a paltry 0.28 per cent default rate. But your investment doesn't go to one person - it'sseeded throughout the community at no more than £10 per borrower. If one person defaults, it'llhave little impact on your return as a lender.Zopa is the front-runner, but other sites offer a similar service. You may get a better return fromFunding Circle,for example. The main difference for borrowers is that there's no flat fee.Instead, a portion of the loan is paid to the service. Funding Circle prefers business customers,while Zopa is open to anyone with a good credit rating. You can get a better return if you'rewilling to take a higher risk.That's how it works atYes Secure.Borrowers post loan requests and you can choose who to lend money to. You put in a tender for that loan, setting your own interest rate. The return oninvestments averages 21 per cent, but although all borrowers are screened, it's riskier thanlending to the crowd. If a borrower defaults, a debt collector will be called in to pursue yourinvestment.
Microworking - make money for tiny tasksComputers are becoming ever more powerful, but some jobs still need a human touch.Work at your own pace with Human Intelligence Tasks
Computers have removed lots of boring and repetitive tasks from the workplace, but they'vecreated a fair few too. That's where Amazon's Mechanical Turk  comes in. Small tasks that can't be performed by software are farmed out to its subscribers, who turn the job around for a fewcents at a time.That unusual name? It comes from an 18th century sideshow attraction. A chess-playing robotwas toured around Europe, amazing audiences with its apparent skill and intelligence. It was,however, controlled by a human being hidden from sight.The micro-jobs that are tendered at Mechanical Turk (called HITs or Human Intelligence Tasks)could be any quick, computer related duty. In a typical session, a user might do a bit of dataentry or fill in a questionnaire. They might be asked to copy the text from a scanned image orsearch for a series of phone numbers. The more HITs you can complete in the allotted time, themore you can earn.With many HITs offered at just a few cents a task, it requires a certain amount of dedication toearn a crust from Mechanical Turk - but there are advantages too. Any temping agency can getyou a gig cleaning toilets or licking envelopes for half a day, but with Mechanical Turk you canwork from home doing as much or little as you want, at any time you want.Tasks that require a little more thought and effort pay more. Translating a short passage of textinto another language, for example, could net you a couple of dollars a time.

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