Diary of a Surfer-for-Hire

FRAMINGHAM (03/03/2000) - Friday, Feb. 259:35 a.m. - Just finished checking my e-mail. Time to start earning my living on the 'Net. First stop: AllAdvantage.com, the granddaddy of all pay-for-surfing sites. I fill out the forms, agree to the privacy policy and download the viewbar.

10:15 a.m. - I'm surfing for cash now! Read the latest news on CNN. Didn't know former President Bush was hospitalized. The economy is expanding like mad.

Microsoft will patch Active Directory.

11 a.m. - These sites are great! Who can I get signed up? I call my husband Bill, talk him into it and give him my member number so I'll get credit for the referral. I hang up and check out the latest news from CeBIT.

11:15 a.m. - Bill calls back. He can't download the viewbar. He got an e-mail from his law firm's IT department about inappropriate Internet usage. Hope this won't affect his partnership track.

11:30 a.m. - Just found a Web site that gives away free CDs for listening to Internet radio. I can do that while I surf! I go to radiofreecash.com and fill out the paperwork. Uh, oh. You need to sign up 150 friends to qualify for your first CD. I don't have 150 friends. Oh, well. I can still earn 20 cents per hour listening to music. I choose the Groovy '70s Rock track, and "Bad Moon Rising" blasts out of my speakers.

Noon - I sign up for iWon.com, the sweepstakes portal that is giving away $10,000 every day through the end of March. I check out my horoscope. It predicts "strokes of luck."

12:15 p.m. - Searching for other freebie sites, I run into paydate.com. It's a "relationship" site that awards coupons to members for placing personal ads and chatting with each other. You get one penny worth of "cupid credits" for every minute online. Don't think Bill will like it if I sign up for this one.

12:30 p.m. - Lunch time. War's "Low Rider" is pounding through my office.

How much money have I made so far? I go to my AllAdvantage.com account. Bad news: it's only worth 19 cents. I need to find sites that pay more.

1:30 p.m. - Hurray! I find a site that gives $15 Amazon.com gift certificates for testing other Web sites. I fill out the paperwork at vividence.com, but then I discover my first test won't come for a few weeks. Bummer.

3 p.m. - I'm getting bored with the surfing. I know why Cher didn't go to the Grammys, that my toddler should be using a spoon by now, and that a blizzard is headed toward Montana. Meanwhile, a Jackson Browne tune keeps stopping and starting on my Internet radio.

5:30 p.m. - Thank God I can turn this computer off. I have a headache, and I'm tired of Bob Seger. I check my earnings. Only $1.77.

Think I'll keep my day job.

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