I’ve had a hard time finding a passive income stream that works with a Raspberry Pi. Not having the ability to use Flash is a real killer. Couple that with being under-specced (especially the older models) for most applications and it seems like the Pi is always coming up just a little bit short.
However, I think I’ve found a way to monetize a Pi through having it autosurf. This isn’t going to be a massive moneymaker, but it will at least give the Raspberry a way to be put into service as a part of a passive income strategy.
To this point I’ve figured out how to setup a Raspberry Pi 2 and a Raspberry Pi 3 but I haven’t figured out how to bring the older models into the income stream. Using the word stream may be a misnomer also, it’s probably going to be more like a trickle.
My best estimate at this point is that the worst case scenario has the Pi earning 3.5 cents a day. This equates to about $1.00 a month after electricity costs have been accounted for. (I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to raise that number to $1+ a day by combining a couple of services together. I’ll discuss that in Part 3.)
To start this off we need to get an autosurf working on our Raspberry Pi. I’ve tried several and the first one that I found that works really well is Alexamaster. I’ve had a Raspberry Pi 2 autosurfing uninterrupted for a little under a day now using Alexamaster.
To do this I went with the Ubuntu Mate image available at the official page for Raspberry Pi. I tried Raspbian with several autosurf programs and it just struggled. The Ubuntu image worked right out of the box. (If you’re reading this I’m going to assume you know how to set up your Pi. There area million tutorials out there that will explain it if you don’t.)
Once Ubuntu was installed I fired up the pre-installed Firefox browser and pointed it to Alexamaster and created an account there. Once that was done I did as they suggested and installed the Alexa Toolbar extension for Firefox. Then I clicked on the Earn Points -> Autosurf tab and then I sat back. It just worked.
Like I said, I haven’t touched my Pi in almost 24 hours. I have it running headless but I know it’s still surfing because from my desktop I’ve checked my Profile page on Alexamaster and my points are steadily increasing. To this point my accrued point balance equates to a cash out value of ALMOST 3.5 cents. But those points intrigue me. If they mean what I think they mean then Part 2 of this guide is going to be where we exponentially increase our earning from having our Raspberry Pi autosurfing.
The ToS for Alexamaster dictate that you can autosurf from as many computers as you’d like BUT each computer needs to be on a separate IP. I’m a big believer in following ToS’s to the letter and as such I have no intention of trying to figure out a work around that would allow me to run more instances of Alexamaster‘s autosurf program on the Pi at my house. Depending on how much babysitting the Pi is going to need it might end up making sense to place some headless units at other locations with the ability to SSH into them. For now I’ll try to find a couple of other autosurf programs that will work on the Pi alongside Alexamaster . This actually fits one of my main overall strategies of passive earning – diversification. As I find other programs that will autosurf with a Raspberry Pi I’ll place them in Part 3 of this series.