Monday, July 20, 2009

Not possible to earn with Homepages Friends anymore

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Have you heard about Homepages Friends? It was among the first paid to search programmes available online. I have personally earned about £30 from this programme.

It is undoubtedly easy to earn money from this programme which pays its members either through check or PayPal. Members are also paid commissions for referring new members to the service (similar to a multi-level marketing scheme). The searches made by members are automatically recorded and audited to determine the earnings payable to the members. I have no complaint toward the accuracy of the recording and audits but Homepages Friends is known to delay in paying its members even when they have reached the minimum payout amount and time dues.

Unfortunately, all good things eventually come to a (bad or not so good) end. Apparently, Homepages Friends could no longer pay us (50% of) the revenue made from our searches, we can only choose which charity to contribute the earnings to. Members from certain countries are completely restricted from using the service.

Check out the screen shot above, click to view for enlarged view. I am obviously using Homepages Friends search service from a country permitted to use it but still I get such error message. I am reluctant to contact the support to sort out the matter. Obviously user experience and welfare are not the priority of the company anymore.

I feel the members who were responsible for building up the service and helping it earn money are not properly compensated (and consulted over this crucial decision to stop paying members for their searches). The company also tried to offer cheap incentive such as cash prizes of £250, £200 and £150 in a lucky draw to coerce and lure members to agree to the new terms and agreement of the service in order to be eligible for the draw.

The prizes are not exactly cheap but what about other members who do not win? To whom do you owe the success of your company and service? Is this what your members deserve, some which have stood by you even when payment to them are delayed by a few months and tolerated your below par support system (as far as I am concerned there is only 1 staff which often does not offer solution or answer, the staff merely forwards generic responses towards members' concerns)?

It was good while the win-win (50/50) situation existed. You may turn your back on us when you no longer needed us. In a similar way, you will never know when your partner, be it or Yahoo! will turn its back on you. Thank you for the opportunity, we will now look elsewhere in the paid to search circle, we wish you the best of luck.

P.S. I am trying to speak on behalf of Homepages Friends members who are in the same situation as I am and feel similarly. I am aware that no all members and general public share the same sentiment towards Homepages Friends. If you feel differently, do share your opinions with us by commenting below. Comments and responses from Homepages Friends management and people who are in the know of the situation are also welcomed.
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