After almost seven years of involvement with PTC sites I have now decided it is time to move on and focus on other things. So this will be the last blog entry here at ptctalk.blogspot.com.
There have been a number of contributing factors leading up to my decision to pretty much quit the world of PTC which I would like to share with you.
Reason #1 – Unreasonable rates of pay for tasks
The introduction of tasks, surveys and offer walls by some PTC sites was seen by many as a positive move. It meant people could earn considerably more each day than they could by simply clicking on ads alone. And I have to admit that in the beginning I was one of those people who was very much in favour of this new development. I even published an article here on my blog in June 2013 giving my readers advice about how to earn more money through tasks and offers available at Clix Sense.
However since writing this article my previously positive view has become increasingly tarnished for a number of very good reasons.
Over the last year there has been a dramatic drop in the amount we hard working members have been paid for completing tasks and surveys at Clix Sense. The amount offered for most tasks has dropped by 66%, and for surveys it has dropped by around 40%.
To give you an example, last year I frequently completed a number of search and click type tasks through Crowdflower at Clix Sense on behalf of a company called Fisher Investments. The tasks paid $0.21 (12p) each. Very similar tasks for that same company now pay $0.07 (4p) each. And believe it or not, tasks that pay $0.07 are amongst the highest paying. The vast majority pay much less than this.
I personally think it’s immoral for companies like Crowdflower and Clix Sense etc to pay their members $0.01 - $0.03 to carry out what are usually ambiguous 9-10 question tasks that often take in excess of 5 minutes to complete. That’s $0.25 per hour. It doesn't even cover the cost of the electricity you've used. And worse still, once you reach the end of the task you are quite frequently told “your answers weren't what we were expecting” or “your accuracy is too low”. You are then promptly expelled from working on the task and you don’t see a crumb of the measly $0.03 or whatever it was they were offering you to do it in the first place. To say this practice is taking advantage of people who are, let’s face it desperate to earn or they wouldn’t be there in the first place, is an understatement.
Reason #2 – Survey Providers Who Take Your Information but Don’t Pay
Whilst I acknowledge that the paid surveys available through sites like Clix Sense do indeed pay considerably more than the tasks, I have lost count over the last year of how many times I have had to walk away from my computer with steam coming out of my ears after spending 15-20 minutes carefully completing a survey, only to be told once I hit the submit button to claim my payment that I am not eligible to take part.
I don’t care what excuses the survey providers or the PTC site owners come up with. “We don’t get paid if you don’t get paid” is the classic excuse not to take matters any further made by Clix Sense when this happens.
“We can’t find any record of you taking the survey because you've completed it through a third party” is the standard answer given by the survey companies if you challenge them.
To me it’s quite straightforward. Stating that you will pay people a set amount in exchange for them giving their personal information and opinions, then taking that information but not honouring the payment once it has been given to you is tantamount to theft.
If PTC sites like Clix Sense are not prepared to take some responsibility for their members’ losses when it is them who is providing (and almost certainly taking money for providing) the platform in the first place, then they are in my mind just as guilty as those who take your information and run.
Reason #3 – The Rise of the Dreaded $0.001 Ads
When I first started writing this blog pretty much all of the ads at the more reputable PTC sites paid between $0.005 and $0.05 each. This meant that if you had a team of hard working referrals working with you, it was realistic to see earnings of $150 - $200 per month just from clicking ads alone. Nowadays the only sites that constantly pay no less than $0.01 and $0.02 per ad are Deals n Cash and Hits 4 Pay.
It’s a known fact that traffic from PTC sites is pretty much useless to anyone who is trying to sell anything, as the vast majority of members are freebie seekers and/or for the most part do not have the cash to invest in anything. So consequently the PTC sites started to struggle to keep the cash flowing in, as advertisers with any kind of budget were seeing virtually no return on their investments and were not prepared to continue paying for advertising.
So what happens next? Well in a bid to broaden their appeal the PTC site owners started offering reduced price advertising packages and the $0.001 ad was born! What you find now is that almost all of the PTC sites pay $0.001 for a good 98% of the ads they publish. Ads that pay any more than that are like gold dust.
Each of the $0.001 ads usually takes 10 seconds to view, which if you do the maths works out to $0.36 (£0.21) per hour. Admittedly this is a slightly higher rate than you will earn taking part in most Crowdflower tasks but it still falls way way short of being anything close to acceptable.
Whilst I think if you are promoting PTC sites to other paid to clickers, purchasing these low cost advertising packages serves some kind of purpose, if you are using PTC sites as a means of generating income from both your own activity and that of your referrals, the rise of these $0.001 ads has made it almost an impossibility to do so.
Reason #4 – I’m Sick of Feeling Sickened by the Injustice of it all
Many people working the PTC sites live in poverty stricken countries, and completing tasks and offers etc often provides them with their primary source of income. If companies like Crowdflower, Clix Sense, Treasure Trooper and Neobux etc who provide this type of “earning opportunity” had a shred of decency in them, instead of treating people like a commodity and keeping them down at the lowest level they can get away with, they could make positive moves to share their wealth and help to improve people’s everyday lives in the process. All they would need to do is be prepared to give a little bit and show some recognition of the fact that without their loyal members they would not have a business. When you consider that Crowdflower makes profits of around 3 million dollars per year, I feel sure they could afford to give something back and still make a profit.
Sadly it doesn't work like that, as it doesn't with countless big corporations around the world. Giving is not a word in their vocabulary. All they are driven by is greed.
I recently read an article published in The Nation in February 2014 which confirms this belief. The article states that back in 2010 the CEO of Crowdflower, Lukas Biewald is quoted as saying the following when giving a presentation to a group of techies: “Before the Internet, it would be really difficult to find someone, sit them down for ten minutes and get them to work for you, and then fire them after those ten minutes. But with technology, you can actually find them, pay them the tiny amount of money, and then get rid of them when you don’t need them anymore.”
I rest my case.
I have personally struggled with – but am now resigned to - the fact that this situation will never change whilst there are people out there who are prepared to continue working for $0.25 per hour. And Mr Biewald & co will continue to make millions of dollars of profits off the back of these people year on year for as long as they allow it to happen.
I know that everyone has a choice about how much or how little they are prepared to do where PTC and crowd sourcing sites are concerned, and everyone has the right to walk away too. Well I am sick of spending time fretting about the injustice of the situation as I see it, and I know the time has come for me to walk away.
So there you have it. I’ve now reached the end of my PTC journey. It’s been an interesting and in places rocky ride, but I have learned a great deal along the way.
If just one person who has read my blog over the last few years has managed to make a little extra money as a result of the information I have shared then I have achieved exactly what I set out to. But now I feel things have changed in the PTC world to such a point that if I continue to promote PTC sites generally I will be guilty of misleading people. I'm also sick of wasting my time for virtually no gain. Life’s too short!
I have deleted my accounts at all the PTC sites I was previously involved with apart from Hits4 Pay and Deals n Cash. I still consider both of these legit sites to be worth promoting to others, as once you have an active group of referrals working with you, it is possible to make an extra $100 or so each month in exchange for around 20 minutes of your time each week tops.
All that is left for me to do now is to thank all of the people who have taken the time to read and comment on my blog over the years and I wish you every success in the future.