The Cold Truth about Hot Online Jobs

10 January 2011
a sign - cold truth on hot online jobs
Hot online jobs. You like the sound of that, don't you? I'm referring to ads which promise work-from-home jobs with "great" pay. Many of them look like this:

"Earn $250 to $400 by filling up forms"

"Get paid to answer surveys.We pay $75 for each survey completed."

"Data entry jobs at $20 to $50 an hour!"

The ads appear to be targeted at women who want to work from home and at individuals from developing countries such as the Philippines and India where $500 is good money. The big question is... are these hot online job ads for real?

I think not... but if you have no idea how cruel some people can be, chances are you will get carried away with the testimonials and the sales page. In a word, you will get scammed. 

Legit Work

Data entry jobs do exist. They range from simple audio transcription and encoding to more complex secretarial work and proofreading. Taking the local scene into consideration, the Cebu-based company Innodata Isogen handles this kind of work. Majority of my former officemates themselves used to be full-time employees of Innodata.

Now that we’ve cleared data entry jobs, how about paid surveys? Suffice it to say that paid surveys aid companies with their market research. Although there are really companies that pay you to be a mystery shopper, a product reviewer or a survey respondent, you need to be a resident of the U.S. to qualify participation in most programs.

In a word, don’t get your hopes up when you come from the Philippines. I wouldn’t blame companies though. You cannot possibly provide feedback on products and gadgets that haven’t even reached the Philippine shores.

Bogus Pay

Real jobs and bogus pay are the worst and the most notorious combo you can find online. The problem with the ads is that they lure you into scams of all sorts by dangling $$$ in front of your eyes without the intention of paying you.

Common sense dictates that money is a much sought-after commodity. Nobody has ever been paid to do nothing... well at least not unless they want to harvest your organs. Something that can be done easily won’t pay that well.

Local and Virtual Scenarios – a Comparison

I’ve thrown tantrums of my own over rip-off rates pulled off by so-called “skilled” workers. Blame it on my being a weak woman. I needed a man to do the following jobs for me and paid a steep price:

Someone wanted to charge me P1,000 for cutting grass. Those who have been to my home know that the only grass you can find is at the front yard. It wouldn’t take half a day to trim. The same person demanded that I pay him P500 for collecting my garbage.

A plumber got away with P400 for sealing one small hole on my roof. He got the job done in less than 10 minutes with a smug look in his face. I never had to call on him again (thank God for my husband!).

The A/C guy was the worst of the bunch. I’m actually envious of his earnings. He made an easy P2,000 for every A/C unit installed. He finished all 3 installations in a day. Then he charged me P600 on another occasion for simply hoisting – yes, lifting without special tools of any kind – another A/C unit from the ground to the window. Sheesh.

Placing myself in the shoes of the workers, that’s what many online data paying jobs sound. You get paid handsomely for doing simple work (that men can do). The huge difference is that I paid those workers. Will online employers do the same? I doubt if you can meet one businessman today who would willingly dole out money for the simplest errands. Again, something that can be done easily won’t pay that well. Period.

Real Score

The hours I poured over googling, reading blogs and checking out forums turned up a couple of caveats. Here's the cold truth on those catchy and hot online jobs:

  • Some just want to collect your e-mail address and personal information. Congratulations, you've made yourself a willing target of identity theft and spammed advertisements... and maybe more of the nasty critters better known as malware and viruses.

  • Many companies require you to cough up a fee. The magic number ranges between $19.95 and $49.50. The fee supposedly covers membership, registration or training. Hello? You need a job to get money. You don't spend money to get a job!

  • You might get an assignment right away, but once you turn in your work, you will also stop hearing from the company. What a waste of time and effort!

  • Many legit employers want to get decent service with the lowest price possible. There are some who do recognize the value of quality work and will offer you fair pricing, but people like them are gems. You don't find them just anywhere. Simple projects with incredibly great rates are downright fishy.

  • Majority of Filipinos who do authentic data entry work get paid at $2 to $5 an hour. Established ones earn much more. Search freelancing sites and you will see the norm. The Pinoy's rates are considerably lower compared to a typical American's hourly rate, which can go as high as $35.
Whenever you come across an ad for hot online jobs, proceed with caution... or better yet... look the other way. This may sound cliche, but I want to end my post with this statement. "When something sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
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