How To Make Money Online By Doing Nothing
Let's be real.
You work hard on your blog. You write, revise, proof read, edit and post. You take photos, crop images, adjust contrasts and filters. You schedule, automate and promote your work. You do all this because it's what you love. You love creating content. You love storytelling. You love making beauty from nothing and sharing it with the world.
But, we all have those moments where we feel our work is all in vain. Sometimes you don't make any money off your work. You worry about bills. You worry that it'd be better to stop blogging, vlogging, podcastting and storytelling and just getting a normal job. If there was just some way to get paid, it would make all the difference.
While this article is titled "How To Make Money Online By Doing Nothing", that isn't totally true. You already do the work. You already create the content. You already do what you have to do to make money. So now, let's make money from it.
Imagine This Scenario
Let's imagine a rich businessperson approaches you with a suitcase full of money. This person then asks, "Will you count all the money in this suitcase?" You're going to be thinking two things:
- This is really weird and totally sketchy, and
- Can I get paid for this?
You know your time is finite. You have a lot of stuff to do and unless counting somebody else's money is worth your time, and can make you money, you won't do it.
So you ask for a cost to count their money. It's too low. But, they counter the offer and say that you don't have to actually count the money. You just need to find somebody who will. Now this has the potential of becoming something bigger. If you can find enough people to count this money for you, whatever little bit of money you make can quickly exponentiate. But, of course, now you have to offset the cost of having somebody else count your money. Will the money you be making be enough to pay your newly hired "money-counters"? Is this worth the effort?
The problem with human money-counters is exactly that. They're time is finite, they need to rest and they want compensation. Computer money-counters are different. They don't need to rest, they can count all day long and they won't ask for anything. Computers are made for counting. If you can automate computers to count this money for you, you can do your own work and make money off to the side.
From Fiction to Fact
Now transform this rich businessperson into a online bank that handle cytpocurrencies like Bitcoin. When a Bitcoin is sold between one person and another, computers need to confirm that transaction was legitimate. This is similar how banks work by verifying your rent cheques don't bounce. Only, instead of checking your account balance, Bitcoin does mathematical equations. Once an equation is solved, a group of transactions are bundled together into a "block". As these blocks get created, they form a "block-chain". It is recommended to wait until your Bitcoin transaction has block-chain verifying it before withdrawing it.
Solving these mathematical equations is called "mining". If you have a machine set up to do this, it's called a "mining rig". Each time these computers solve a mathematical equation, you make a little bit of money.
But, mining rigs are expensive. Normal computers can solve these equations at a slower speed, but are much cheaper. If you increase the number of normal computers you want to use, you can eventually match the income generated by mining rigs. But how do you get all these computers?
To make the best money off mining crypocurrency you need one of two things (or both): a lot of visitors spending little bits of time on your site, or few visitors spending a lot of time on your site. The more visitors you have, the more mining you can do, and the longer they are on the site, the more equations they can do. If you have a podcast or vlog, this is easy. Embedding it onto your site allows the visitors to consume the content you are already creating, but also use their computer for mining. If your podcast is 30 minutes long, this is 30 minutes the computer can solve problems. How many equations can be solved in 30 minutes? Around 40,000, depending on the speed of the computer. If you have 50 visitors a day, each listening for the full 30 minutes, you can now solve 200,000 equations.
How Much Money Are We Talking?
I heard about this and was curious. Mining cryptocurrency seems a weird way to make money, so I decided to check it out. I discovered Coinhive which mines the Monero cryptocurrency. Right now (December 5th, 2017) one Monero (MXR) is worth about $255.60 (USD) (Source). The value of a single Monero has gone up 155% this past month, and that's believed to continue. Now here's the bigger question: how long does it take to mine one Monero?
Getting to 1 Monero depends on how many computers you're mining, their mining speed and how long they are on your site. To experiment, I decided to use my travel blog as a guinea pig. I had the script running on my site for 6 days. In those 6 days, I had 1,900 page views, averaging about 74 seconds each view. In this time I did 5,300,000 equations or "hashes" and made 0.00065220 MXR, which is about 0.17 USD.
(This screen shot is from the 7th day because I forgot to take a picture. Sorry.)
Using these numbers, to get one Monero, we would do the following:
That's a lot of hashes. If it took me 6 days, with 1,900 pageviews and 74 seconds a page view, to make 5,300,000 hashes, then it would take me 1,533 days, or about 4 years, to make 1 Monero. That's a long time for only $255. But, the price of 1 Monero has increased from $100 to $250 in the past month. At that growth rate of 155% increase every 30 days continues, that would leave you with about $9,881.25 in 4 years. That's a pretty good deal, if you can wait that long.
Admittedly, my traffic isn't very good. People aren't on my site very long. If I can keep people on my site for 2 minutes, suddenly the length of time to get 1 Monero is cut in half. If I have somebody on my site for 30 minutes because I have a podcast, our math changes drastically:
So, how do you do it?
Setting it up
There are two ways to set this up on your site. You can either use Coinhive's "AuthedMine" script, which promopt the user to authentic first before the mining begins, or you can use their "non-AuthedMine" script that does not notify the user. The reason for these two scripts is because AdBlockers have begun blocking Coinhive's mining scripts, considering them "advertisements" even though the user doesn't see anything. Although the "AuthedMine" script prompts the user to accept it before the mining begins, it is (deliberately) very obtrusive to bypass these AdBlockers:To use this script, you'll use the following:
If getting your users' consent is important to you, but you don't want to use that method, you can look at the "non-AuthedMine" script and make your own prompt:
After they agree (or disagree), you could then set a cookie to keep their selection so they won't have to click every time they visit the site.
Coinhive has two other ways to make money by mining Monero. One way is by using their custom Captcha. It works the same way as Google's ReCaptcha but it does algorithms to validate the user. I've tried this on both my laptop and my phone and I find it to be very slow, so it may not be the best option.
Another way is by using their short-link generator. Imagine it's like Bitly, but instead users have to do hashes to get redirected. Again, I found this to be very slow, and the fact that it interupts the user experience doesn't appeal to me.
Is this ethical?
When talking about money making, it's difficult to talk about ethics. Chances are you are already tracking your users' data. You're tracking what they like, where they are, how old they are, what gender they are, their browsing habits, etc. If you're using Google Adsense you're reading cookies on their computer, you're trying to sell them products based on their browsing history and you're getting paid for promoting goods and services. If you're using Facebook Pixel, you're promoting goods they or their friends have showed interest in, and you're willingly letting Facebook collect and sell your user data to corporations.
Since you're already making money off your user for personal profit, is this different?
Some people would say yes. This physically interacts with the users' computer. There is a line between user and web master that shouldn't be crossed. Others will say no. This is just another revenue generating method. If anything, it's better than traditional advertisements because it doesn't interrupt user experience (imagine no more 30 second YouTube ads) and allows them to access your content more easily. Plus, it has the potential to make more money.
The final decision is up to you, but this method of revenue generating is slowly becoming more and more common. As the price of Monero keeps going up, it becomes more and more attractive. Is this an option you would consider using for your site? Tell me about it in the comments below.