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* Apps with ads in them. Easy enough to churn out, but decreasing revenues and most of the high earning adverts are the scummiest. Low value and of low moral usefulness.

* Solar Panels. In the UK, the government pays you per kWh generated. Needs an upfront investment, but stable income and you reduce your own energy bills. See http://shkspr.mobi/blog/tag/solar

* Renting out property. Needs a much larger initial investment, and requires ongoing maintenance. On a good month I only hear from the managing agent once per month with details of how much rent is being paid.

* Stoozing. Find a credit card with 0% interest on balance transfers. Stick the money into a savings account. Or, if you like risk, on a horse. Need a good credit rating and decent savings rate to make more than a few hundred a year though.

* Affiliate marketing. If you can find a good theme (e.g. Halloween) and a decent place to put the links (somewhere that wants them - not spamming them everywhere) it's possible to get a moderate passive income. Well... not quite passive, requires upfront time commitment of selecting links and locations.

* Hosting / simple websites. Again, little bit of up-front commitment. Works best if you can find a local niche of people who want a friendly face to host their websites. Usually as simple as buying a domain, setting up WordPress, and turning on automatic updates.

In general, the best passive schemes require a large initial outlay and/or a dubious moral outlook. A better way to enhance your income is to eat out less, stop buying stuff you don't need, and shop around for deals. Boring but true!

I have had some success in affiliate marketing using an approach that I think many on Hacker News could duplicate. I launched my Amazon affiliate site about a year-and-a-half ago and its earnings have increased by about $100 per month with December being the first time I earned over $2,000 in a month.

The approach is to find a type of product where Amazon has thousands of listing but the specifications are not very accurate and the filtering criteria are limited, and where there are highly active forums with people talking about and asking about these products. Then you build a proper searchable catalog for the products. Include lots of search criteria, sorting criteria, side-by-side comparison, recommended accessories, anything that would be useful for people looking to buy them.

Once my catalog contained over 1,000 models I started replying to posts on forums with a link to my site that provided what they were looking for. People loved the site and it wasn't long before they were posting links to it to answer each others questions. That's all it took to start ranking on Google which is now responsible for 3/4 of my traffic.

Initially this is not passive income. The first few months are a lot of work for very little money. Eventually the balances shifts to the point where additional work is only needed if you want to keep growing. Amazon's product advertising API allows you to get current prices, availability and popularity (sales ranking) to keep everything fresh.

Did that entail a lot of hand entry of product information? (considering that Amazon was, as you said, lacking specifications)

Yes it did. I have spent a lot more time researching and documenting specs than I have writing code. The good news is that I don't mind that type of work. I often build spreadsheets for fun to compare things I'm thinking of buying so I just took that to another level.

You seem like you might be a good fit for something I have in mind - how do I contact you?

I never noticed before that this site doesn't seem to have any way to send private messages. I guess if one wants to be reached they have to share a way publicly.

True, but you could use a throwaway email that automatically forwards to you for a limited time.

Could you contact me at nicolas.john611 @ gmail.com?

Please email me as well: piptastic @ gmail


what are you looking for?

Did something similar for gifts. was a little hacky, but fun to build.

what is the typical commission that you earn on a single purchase through a link clicked on your site?

Currently my average commission is about $5.

Do you mind sharing your site?

I'd prefer not to but I'll check back a few more times to see if there are any questions about my post to answer.

There are lots of people telling others to write reviews without having purchased/used a product. Did you have to do it too? I mean, is your site only side by side comparisons or do you also post reviews?

My site does not have any reviews. Each product overview is just a description of the product and its specifications. Rather than telling people which one to buy I give them the ability to find the one that best fits their criteria. I rank all of the products by how popular they are and I think many people trust this more than they do a review.

would love to connect w/ you. My email: kadnan@gmail . com

In the nicest possible way, your post reads like "Passive income suggestions (2006)" - e.g. I can't really believe that stoozing still works when interest rates are so low, and getting new affiliate sites ranking is very difficult these days.

Using the free credit balance transfer for a savings account seems like a bad use of money. At best you're going to get something a little below the rate of inflation. You're better off investing it into a conservative index fund portfolio, but at that point you may as well just do the same thing but trading with leverage.

> Solar Panels. In the UK, the government pays you per kWh generated. Needs an upfront investment (...)

It also required upfront confidence in the sustainability of the government subsidy. In The Netherlands a lot of now-solar panel owners decided to invest because of subsidies, but last year the government decided to stop the subsidy for 2016. Especially with the low energy prices, that makes it a net loss for a lot of people.

The UK Conservative government has also just cut solar feed-in tariffs. The new scheme starts on Monday.



Nevada just did the same thing.

> Apps with ads in them. Easy enough to churn out, but decreasing revenues and most of the high earning adverts are the scummiest. Low value and of low moral usefulness.

I assume that by apps you mean native mobile apps. Anyone know how ad-supported mobile apps stack up against web apps? On the one hand, there's no such thing as ad blockers for native apps. On the other hand, web apps run on more platforms out of the box including desktops, and desktops in general seem to be easier to monetize via ads.

> Hosting / simple websites. Again, little bit of up-front commitment. Works best if you can find a local niche of people who want a friendly face to host their websites. Usually as simple as buying a domain, setting up WordPress, and turning on automatic updates.

Does anyone here have experience with this? It's an awfully saturated market, and there's not a lot of ways to differentiate yourself without turning it into a full-time job. That said, if it is as easy as edent makes it sound, I'd love to dive in as an excuse to get some system administration experience (and try out some ideas I have in that area).

>there's no such thing as ad blockers for native apps

There is on Android. Two options: install a pseudoVPN proxy that happens to consult an adblocking filter; root your device and install an /etc/hosts blocker.

I don't have direct experience on the hosting question, but I have often though that if you could come up with the purely simplest way to allow a small, local business to create a one-page website, they would pay $30 a month for the service. Better yet, target a specific niche – Restaurants, spas, landscapers, etc. You could then have a dead-simple template they could type their info into.

Not gonna win any design awards, but so many small-biz sites suck badly because the tools available aim to do too much and become complicated or encourage the user (probably non-technical to begin with) to get too fancy and do too much.

Piggy-back off this and up-charge: https://picnic.sh

Biggest challenge would be gaining traction.

I've tried at that price point. They won't pay that but will want you to do more for less. Small business has proved to me that even a simple cms is not something they think their business needs. They're happy to trial and have themes development done as long as it's cheap but they just won't update their site themselves. And mail hosting is worse. forgot passwords and new users issues, Outlook configuration (even though comprehensive instructions were sent) and they want you to respond within the hour like it's enterprise level support.

thinking back one client moved because she said she couldn't update her site herself (note it was a cms) and some dude bamboozled her into drupal. He used the theme I'd built her from my custom cms and years later the site still has the same content copied from the one I did for her..

A friend of mine does that, but there are a few problems with that model:

- it's harder than you think and a lot of work to find new customers

- customers usually want more than "just a website"; you also need to offer things like newsletters, online reservation, etc.

- if you get enough customers to make it worthwhile, you will be get lots of support requests

Every time I meet him, someone calls him for help with their website.

Agreed. I guess I was thinking more of a "landing-page-as-a-service" option.

Barebones, but enough so anyone searching locally wouldn't have trouble finding their phone number, hours, location, etc.

I don't use Facebook or the yellow pages. If you don't have a website, I probably won't find you. And if your website quickly tells me what I want to know vs. making me click through pages under construction to find it, I'll be much happier.

But, as markyc said, Facebook may be the best strategy for small businesses.

maybe a facebook page works better these days though

Good point. Probably the best option for many types of local businesses.

* Also UK focused - Matched Betting. Exploiting Bookmakers signup/recurring offers for a guaranteed profit. This is good for an early surge of ~£2k followed by a pretty easily achievable £200-£500 per month for <5 hours commitment per week.

Any guides or links to get started on this kind of thing?

There are plenty of services that are paid and not set up in your best interestes (Profit Accumulator is the most popular these days).

If you're interested I highly recommend the MoneySavingExpert Matched Betting forum - http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/forumdisplay.php?f=41

It is free, unbiased (lots of the specifically tailored sites like PA mentioned above have affiliate deals which reduce the amount you can earn) and active.

Discussion on the MSE forum is restricted to what they define strictly as "risk free", not "EV+" opportunities, but that's a healthy start.

Their definition of risk free is making a guaranteed profit regardless of the outcome - Either natural arbitrage or an offer-dependent forced arbitrage.

http://bonusbagging.co.uk looks like a scam website, but I know a few people who have done it, myself included.

There is an upfront time element needed, and then to keep it rolling you'll need to take advantage of reload offers if you want a trickle, but if you're prepared to put the work in and use a site like this that does most of the "thinking" for you, it can work.

That website reminded me of parrotsecrets.com made & written about by cringely [1]. It is designed to slowly increase excitement in the reader as they progress through the page (that's why it repeatedly insists you slowly read the whole thing instead of skimming) as it leads them towards a sale.

[1] http://www.cringely.com/2009/03/14/parrot-secrets/

a guy I know very well does websites like this. He uses a bit more tech behind it with bandit algos etc and nets 1 to 2 million a month. He has been at it a good number of years now.

That home page is awful even by the standards of actual scam websites.

I remember the now defunct site that showed me how to bag bonuses as a student a decade ago being straightforward about your pretty modest level of expected winnings (and for blackjack bonuses, modest level of risk) and focusing mainly on the actual maths.

For anyone that wants it as a passive income project, there's some very nice potential affiliate earnings (redirected through another domain, naturally) for anyone that wants to create a less scammy looking explanation...

Either he means exploiting bonus programs for new members, which is hardly sustainable and unless there's an endless supply of those. Or it's your regular arbitrage gaming, which is also hardly worth the effort and not free of risk. If it's an arbitrage scheme in an exchange, where the quotes might vary over time, your are gambling and at that you are probably playing the bookie who always has the better latency.

There are various sites such as oddsmonkey that do a lot of the effort of finding price disparities for you, so you can arb with confidence. Regarding bonus arbing, as long as you don't get banned lots of places perform regular stunts with free bonuses for inactive accounts to try to drag punters back in. (Disclosure: I work for an exchange)

"arbitrage scheme in an exchange, where the quotes might vary over time" - The nature of arbitrage is that the profit opportunity is available at a single moment.

What I interpret your explanation as is more akin to trading - Buying backs at a time and waiting for odds to fluctuate at an exchange for a sale.

Although there is no (simple) way of doing a pure arb between a bookie/exchange, all the popular exchanges expose existing liquidity in a market and you can quite safely reduce the risk by double checking available liquidity at the exchange in the seconds before placing your back bet.

It's a combination of both. Initial signups is not sustainable, for sure, but there are some regular offers from a lot of bookies that are exploitable not for guaranteed profit, but "EV+" opportunities. This is where my consistent side income comes from.

Renting out property is a lot more than a large initial financial investment.

Most people I know who do well in that space do so after several years. Once they learn how to be a landlord, learn the quirks of the market they invest in, etc, it can be pretty low stress, although not necessarily hands off.

But if you're just starting out, you should expect to make some mistakes and run into some headaches as you figure things out.

You can hire landlords to do the work for you though.

"Stoozing" (hadn't heard it called that before) hasn't been profitable in a long time, unless you're willing to take huge risks (in which case, there are better ways to make leveraged bets). I haven't seen a balance transfer offer with a transaction fee of less than 2% in quite a while. Even at 1%, you'd just break even.

Even if you are willing to take on a moderate amount of risk, most people - even those with good credit and decent incomes - are going to net a few hundred bucks per year off this thing, max.

It is a really poor way to make extra income.

> Stoozing. Find a credit card with 0% interest on balance transfers. Stick the money into a savings account. Or, if you like risk, on a horse. Need a good credit rating and decent savings rate to make more than a few hundred a year though.

I remember doing this in 2007. I wasn't aware there was a specific name for it.

also called arbitrage

>Stoozing. Find a credit card with 0% interest on balance >transfers.

Doesn't really work anymore : Most balance transfer credit cards charge a minimum fee of 1% to 3% on the transfer amount AFAIK. Savings account pay less than 1%.

True. You're better off shifting 100% of your spending to the card and keeping what you'd otherwise be spending in savings/investments.

About how much qualifies as "moderate" passive income?

Regarding your closing statement: http://slickdeals.net/ is awesome.

http://hotdealsclub.com/ is another one but without the pictures. It is done by a friend of a friend. I still check it out for black Friday and Monday to see what tech deals are out there.

UK Solar isn't a good idea any more, the current government has slashed the payments and it's only going to go down more...

Feed in tariff dropped, but the installation costs dropped significantly too. I've not done the calculations for a while but it still might be profitable.

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