10 Tricks Websites Use to Make Money Off of Us

Posted on by admin | in longhorn

Some days I can almost feel my wallet shrinking in my back pocket as I sit in front of my computer browsing different websites. There are so many tactics for separating me from my hard-earned cash that it resembles a one-armed bandit more than an unassuming desktop. In fact, making money online is such big business that a lot of times you may not even realize that it’s happening until it’s already occurred. Here are 10 tricks that websites use to make money off of us:

  1. Adware – As if your proclivity for shopping online isn’t enough of a financial burden, now these websites are collecting your shopping info so they can sell you even more unnecessary stuff. I don’t need someone keeping track of my spending habits, unless it’s my accountant. And now that I think about it, I’m not really so sure about him either.
  2. Pop-up ads – Sure, you can filter them out, or just close them yourself… for the most part; but then there are the ones that move around when you try to click on them, or activate an ad regardless of where you click the window. I honestly don’t know how this seemed like a good idea for sales, but I guess it must work on some people because they just keep popping up.
  3. Selling your personal info – Why does every e-merchant need to know that you’ve just purchased an ionic air humidifier for $699? I suppose because when you hook a sucker, you’ve just got to brag about it to all of your friends and business partners.
  4. Cookies – This is sort of like maintaining a dossier in your files on every person who walks into your business. They know every transaction they’ve ever made with you, which is supposed to make your life more convenient. The truth, however, is that it lets the site owner know how you’ve been using the site so that they can repeat the success they had with you the last time you came by and, you know, bought that humidifier.
  5. Masked keywords – Search engines like Google have begun to crack down on such SEO tricks, but regardless it’s still being done. Web owners will post keywords on their pages invisibly by using the same color font as the background. This will then lead you to pages that are irrelevant to your searches and result in earnings for the owner, from site visits at YOUR expense.
  6. Memberships – Some websites offer the option to become a member, implying the opportunity for a preferred status or enhanced website experience. As often as not, it merely guarantees the website owner some cash flow and the benefits of membership are seldom worth the added expense.
  7. Plagiarism – Theft of content is a serious matter, but when someone needs to monetize their own website and lacks the originality to provide their own, they will steal yours. In such instances when your content is plagiarized, the website owner is literally making money off of you.
  8. Shipping and handling – This became such an issue between buyers and sellers on eBay that the TOS had to be re-written. There is a finite amount that needs to be collected in order to ship a product of a specific weight and size to a given address. Anything above and beyond that figure is pure profit.
  9. Back-linking – When done reciprocally and ethically, this benefits both parties. However, when a visitor to your website drops links to theirs, it can draw traffic away from you, costing you money, which goes to him instead.
  10. Identity theft – Disreputable websites can use the information that they collect from you when you visit and do business with them, and either use or sell that information to third parties for their own use.

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