There was a time when it seemed like anyone with a wacky idea and a PowerPoint presentation could make millions with an Internet business. (Our favorite example was a start-up called Digiscents and its "ismell" appliance, which delivered odors over the Web.) Well, the dot-com boom went bust quite a while ago, but there are still plenty of legal and viable ways to earn some extra cash online.
Kip Kedersha has made more than $110,000 posting how-to videos on Metacafe.
Before you begin, it's important to three basic concepts about about online advertising, which is key to online revenue.
1. Contextual advertising programs automatically post targeted advertisements on a Web site, based on the daily content of that site. The best known of these programs is Google Adsense, which pays Webmasters a small fee every time a viewer clicks on an ad.
Google recently opened AdSense to third-party ads, which means a larger advertising inventory and the potential to earn more money through the placement of those ads.
2. Affiliate marketing programs provide monetary rewards for driving Web traffic to their sites. Amazon.com has a popular affiliate program. Many others can be found here.
3. Search engine optimization is the key to making money online. If the search engines can't find you; you're sunk. Dig into SEO and learn as much as you can -- the more you understand the better your chances for generating cash.
Got it? Without further ado, here are eight ways to make money online.
1. Produce & Star In How-to Videos
Got know-how? Of the many thousands of mini-movies available on the Web, few are more popular than the instructional video, according to officials at Metacafe, a video hosting site that sees 30 million unique viewers each month. Of the top ten successful contributors in Metacafe's Producer Rewards program, seven produce how-to videos. (Topics include how to make a tomato glow and how to turn a laptop computer into a popcorn maker.)
Video contributors earn $5 for every 1,000 times that someone watches their video. Average contributors make between $250 and $500 per month, while above-average earners make upwards of $2,000 per month, according to officials at Metacafe.
Instructional videos tend to have more staying power than entertainment videos because those who use them are likely to refer to them repeatedly. "A video on how to change a diaper will hold its value longer than a comedy skit," says Jason Liebman, CEO of Howcast.com, a new how-to video site that pays freelance producers $50 per video up front, plus a 50/50 revenue share after the video crosses 40,000 views.