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How to Research Before Joining a Rewards Program

We've all seen the ads, for the greatest site of the month, promising high paying emails an equally high payout and selling ads for next to nothing.

We've also all heard the adage, "If it sounds to good to be true, it usually is."

The key to joining a winning program is research. So here are some tips to assist you in making informative choices about the programs you join and hopefully save you some fustration in the long end.

1. Read the terms of service (TOS) and frequently asked questions (FAQs) pages of the program so you have a definitive understanding of the requirements prior to joining. As Pete Seeger once said, "Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't."

2. Take a good look at the advertising page most notably the pricing. Are they making a profit or grossly underselling ads? An ad special is one thing but a constant flow of 10-cent emails to all at the selling price of $1, for example, is a recipie for disaster. The bottom line is undersold ads kill a site. For more in sustainability visit:

3. If the site runs on CashCrusader scripts, take a look at the runner.php page (which can be found at http://www.Insert_Program_URL_Here/scripts/runner.php or for example to verify that the commission settings match what is on the index page of the program. Also take a look at the program's activity requirements. You'll see something like, "Must login every XX days and be at least XX% as active as your downline to get commission from downline clicks." In layman's terms what this means is you need to either login or click on a link every XX days to earn from your referrals AND you'll need to be able to click on XX% of links to earn from your downline. Links include paid links; search links; paid to click; top, middle, bottom sponsor links; site support links, contest links, limited links, targetted links, point emails, etc, etc.). The trouble is there's no

way of knowing how often click counters are reset or how active referrals are or when they're clicking. A reasonable setting for this is 25%. Anything higher and you'll need to judge for yourself especially if you are from a country that isn't search engine friendly; or if the program sends out lots of limited clicks that are expired by the time you are able to click them; or you have your account on vacation mode.

4. Get to know where you are submitting your personal information to. Do a WHOIS via to see who the webmaster is, when the domain is set to expire, where the host is from, etc.

5. Use forums to your advantage. Ask other members what their experience is, do a search through BeenPaid's forums and the popular forums like: and read the information on the programs both on the bad and good side and decide if that is something that you want for you.

6. Finally use your common sense. The damage that has been done to this industry by the influx of programs with dishonorable intentions is on the rise. Sustainable programs cannot compete with their ad pricing; advertisers are spending their dollars wherever they can find low rates; sustainable programs aren't getting advertisers for these reasons; members are joining these lemons and promoting them all the while forgetting about the tried but true.

You can end this vicious circle but it starts with you making better choices. And if you've joined one of these programs, it's never too late to quit ;)

(c) 2005 Patricia Taylor. All rights reserved. This article can be reprinted freely as long as the author bylines are included.

About the Author

Patricia is the webmaster of a community of over 5000 members that share information on how to earn from free to join programs and of a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Search Engine offering low cost targeted traffic for advertisers and generous Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Feed Revenue for publishers.