Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Scam Called Readbud

***Update:  Readbud's website doesn't exist anymore. I'm so glad this scam finally got shut down. I just hope it doesn't pop up somewhere else under a different name.***

There is a site called ReadBud that is supposed to pay you for reading articles. I signed up for it a while back just to see if they were the real deal or not. This is how it is supposed to work. You sign up for an account and pick up to 50 interests and they post articles that are based on your interests. You read the articles and rate them on a scale of 1 to 5. These articles are usually pretty short and only pay a few cents each, but when your account reaches $50 you are supposed to be able to redeem your money through paypal.

I actually did this for a few months and made $50. I redeemed my money but was never paid (this was about a month and a half ago). I e-mailed them and asked when I'd be paid. They never responded. I e-mailed them again and surprise! Still no response.

If they ever actually pay me I'll post an update but I seriously don't expect to ever get that $50. I'm not too upset about it considering the fact that it was easy to get to the $50 amount. The articles were very short (but most of them were horribly written) and it only took a few seconds to rate them. So I really only spent a few minutes each day on the site.

There were several signs that made me think ReadBud was a scam though. For starters, you when you go to the site you are almost always bombarded with pop up ads (even if you have an ad blocker) and a few times my anti virus software blocked some attacks. (which I have to assume were coming from ReadBud, since this only happened when I was on the site.) However I am a brave soul and so I carried on!

But the entire time I used the site I couldn't help but wonder what they were getting out of it. At first I thought maybe the site was getting people to rate articles for the authors, so they could get a good idea of whether people liked the articles or not. (I thought maybe the articles were going to be used for "article marketing" or something like that.) But after reading awful article after awful article I realized that probably wasn't the case. Anyone willing to pay for a service like that would probably have better writing skills.

Then something interesting happened. one day I logged in and there was a note saying that I needed to click on the "sponsors" in order to get more articles. Ah, then I realized how they must be making money. People are clicking on their ads. Not that there is anything wrong with that. These days that is how most sites make money. However, just about every ad network I can think of makes it very clear that you can't click on your own ads and you can't TELL or ASK anyone else to either. That is click fraud. The companies that advertise on ad networks want QUALIFIED traffic to come to their site. Why would they want you to click their ad about bird food if you don't own (and have no desire to own) a bird?

So when I realized that they were probably involved in click fraud, my expectations about being paid went down even more. If they would violate the rules like that then chances are they will violate everyone else as well. But I love to test out various ways to make money online to see if they work or not. So I kept at it so I could tell others about my experience.

I've checked out several other reviews and complaints about the site and they all pretty much say the same thing. So to sum up everything...ReadBud is a scam. They do not pay and they are probably involved in click fraud. If you try to use the site you might end up getting a computer virus as well. So stay away from Readbud.

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