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Get Paid to MP3
Posted by netwebly |12.18.2000

It was only a matter of time before someone came up with this one...

Following in the footsteps of companies like and, Los Angeles-based says it will pay surfers whenever they listen to music on their computers. In return, the company gets to monitor listening habits and display desktop advertising.

Soundom says it will pay a percentage of advertising revenues back to participants, although it isn't saying what that will mean in real terms. The company will also pay members for referrals - using a page straight out of the viral marketing playbook adapted for the web by companies like Alladvantage.

The hook? Soundom says it will give a percentage of ad revenues to artists - about thirty percent according to one published report - meaning in theory, at least, the company will be sending cash to musicians losing money to unauthorized file sharing.

Soundom says it plans to make money by displaying advertising. The company also plans to market the aggregate data it collects to record labels and other entertainment companies. Participants must have soundom's monitoring software running in order to earn payback. Plug-ins are available for WinAmp, Sonique and Windows Media Player.

"Just about everybody has tried to offer something for free in exchange for advertising, and this is an extension of that model." Jupiter analyst Melissa Gluck told Business 2.0 "Not too many people have been successful at it."

On the surface, that's certainly true. A quick poke around the web turns up lots of companies willing to pay cash happy surfers for doing things. If you're willing to play ball you can get paid for doing almost anything: making cell phone calls, reading email from advertisers, going on a date (illegal in many states), and our personal all-time favorite, get paid for "protecting your own privacy."

How many of these companies are making anything that looks like real money? Your guess is as good as ours. But the right answer is probably not many.

Other infomediaries, like AllAdvantage, have had to endure widespread criticism for both the complicated structure of their payment programs and the behavior of their users. Privacy advocates have been especially harsh - arguing that many surfers do not realize how much they are giving away when they sign up with the company.

For its part, Soundom points to its privacy policy and says it will "aggressively investigate reports of spam."

Presumably, the company will also have to police efforts to manipulate its tracking system. Alladvantage has fought a running battle with members since people discovered that they could make more money by using automated programs to trick the Alladvantage system. The payback for playback program has run into similar problems. The company now aggressively monitors its charts as well as artist playback numbers for signs of fraud.

Business 2.0 ran a brief overview on Soundom a little while back. Good background, if you care about these things.

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