Making Money with Social Software

After my post about how to get paid to blog, even without your own blog, I started thinking about other companies that are paying people to use social software, and I realized that there are actually quite a few now that will pay you to:
– provide contact information
– refer people for jobs
– refer business deals
– blog

What I find particularly interesting about this is that in the past, making money online generally meant that you had to sell a product, either your own or someone else’s. Now, people are willing to pay you for your knowledge — what you know and who you know — and you don’t have to be a great salesperson or a marketing genius to make some money at it. You might even be able to make a living at it — maybe not with just one of these opportunities, but certainly by combining them.

Another thing that struck me about these business models is that they’re paying for the value of your knowledge, not your time. All too money online business opportunies (getting paid to read e-mails, take surveys, etc.) will never work out to much more than a menial hourly wage. But these have the potential to do more than that — in fact, some of them actually have an increasing return on your time investment.

Last of all, they don’t cost you anything to get started earning money. There’s no investment other than your time.

No investment, high earnings potential, no selling, no marketing — sounds good to me!

I’ve compiled a list of these on my About.com site (how to really make money online is the single most common question my readers there ask me):

Make Money Online (Without Spending a Dime)

I’m also working on a follow-up story. If you know of any other social software companies that are paying people for referrals, contacts, or other information (not just points or credit towrds a paid subscription), please let me know.