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There are many articles that have extensively covered a variety of money-making apps, side jobs, and passive income opportunities out there, especially here on Frugal for Less.
But there’s one money-making opportunity that’s hardly mentioned – earning with your web browser.
There are many browser extensions that pop up whenever a coupon or deal can be found on the website such as:
- Ebates Cash Back button – Applies cash-back promotions automatically to the site you’re on
- Amazon Assistant – Notifies you of any deals available
- Honey – Shows coupon codes available for the store you’re visiting
- Qmee – Shows price comparisons and where that item is available cheaper
But the Cocoon Browser plug-in is different.
Cocoon is one of a very few browser plug-ins that pays users to simply use it to surf the internet.
Cocoon is offered by the Virtual World Computing company and “is dedicated to the end-user’s internet experience”.
The cocoon browser is available in two versions – Cocoon and Cocoon Asia.
The standard Cocoon browser is available in the US, France, Spain, UK, India, Canada, and many other countries, while the Cocoon Asia version is available in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, and Singapore.
The browsers are available to download for Windows, Mac, and soon there’ll be an Android version available.
Let’s see what the Cocoon Browser has to offer:
What is the Cocoon Browser Extension?
The Cocoon plugin for your browser creates a secure encrypted connection to the Internet so that no one can see your browsing history when you’re online.
This means that the servers and websites you connect to can’t see who you are or where you are connecting from.
So, you’re not just getting extra privacy and protective software, you also earn money by surfing the web with it.
Have you ever used social media, such as Facebook, and noticed they’re advertising products that you’ve previously looked at?
Cocoon will stop all that annoying junk.
Not only does Cocoon enhance your online safety and privacy, you’ll get paid just for surfing the internet, the average user can make about $150 to $300 a year.
Cocoon will work with Google Search and Google Maps and you can even set Google to be your homepage on the Cocoon browser.
Is Cocoon Safe to Use?
The Cocoon browser comes with an anti-virus and anti-malware program as well as many other protective services that standard browsers don’t, or even those offered by the AVG Anti-Virus program.
Some of the computer protection services that Cocoon offer include:
- End-to-End Encryption
- Proxied Browsing
- Email Scanner
- Protective Cloud Technology
- Hard Drive Protection
- Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware, and Anti-Rootkit
- File Transfer Protection
- Protection from Phishing Websites
Cocoon also protects your privacy by using “isolation technology” that prevents companies from tracking your movements around the web or using your browsing history data.
The cocoon browser is free to use, but they do have a paid version.
The paid version is $19.95 a year and offers additional anti-virus protection as well as ad-free browsing.
If you’re worried that your current installed virus software isn’t working well, you should try Cocoon.
How to Sign Up on Cocoon
You need to go to the Cocoon website and create an account.
Here’s how to begin:
- On the sign-up page enter your email and a password, agree to the terms, and click Join.
- Once signed up you’ll need to download the Cocoon browser:
- On the Mac: Open the vwc_cocoon.dmg file and drag the cocoon application to the Applications folder, then open the Applications folder and double-click the Cocoon app to start.
- On the PC: Start the download and click “Save”, double-click the file to begin installing, once done the Cocoon windows opens and you’re ready.
- You can sign in with your new account information and start setting up your preferences (like making Google your homepage).
It’s pretty easy – sign up, download, sign in.
Then you can surf the internet as usual.
How do You Make Money with Cocoon?
As I mentioned, you can make around $150 to $300 a year from browsing on Cocoon.
Cocoon has a program called Cocoon MDR, or MyData Rewards.
How much you’ll actually make depends on how much you use the browser as well as the variety of sites you visit.
Market rates change from season to season, but they state the average is $150 – $300 a year, which is a great passive income for doing basically nothing but your usual web surfing.
Cocoon does take 20% of the profits from selling your data though.
You can maximize your earnings by:
- Use the browser more – The more you surf with Cocoon, the more you earn.
- Visit different sites – The more variety of sites you visit the more data you’ll share and the more valuable your data becomes
- Use Cocoon during Seasonal Changes – Market researchers are more interested in data when seasons changes, so use your browser for your holiday shopping and other popular shopping times.
All your data is collected anonymously and any personal identification is removed before sending to market researchers.
No data is collected for any visits to financial institutions, government agencies, healthcare content, or adult themed websites.
Unfortunately, MyData Rewards is only available to those in the United States, this is because they do not accept the use of VPNs – Virtual Private Networks.
Both the computer or phone and the IP address must be located in the United States.
What are the Payout Options?
The only payout option currently offered by Cocoon is direct deposit to a PayPal account.
Once you begin using the Cocoon browser, there’s first a 45-day period to establish your account.
After that, you’ll start earning in monthly increments and this can be tracked on your Cocoon homepage.
Since Cocoon wants to avoid handling fees, they do not accept on-demand payout requests from members.
Instead, your payments are deposited to your PayPal account quarterly.
The dates of the deposits are:
- March 31st
- June 30th
- September 30th
- December 31st
Cocoon is currently working on adding more payout rewards to be available in the future.
Other Users Review the Cocoon Browser
I was only able to find one user review site on Softronic from 2012.
There were only 95 users that voted and Cocoon was rated 8 out of 10.
A few comments were:
“Been using it for a little while and starting to like it more and more. the anonymous email is awesome and should be standard with all email programs.”
“This is something of which, well, is like a cocoon. You create an account, later log-into account and, you, the user, are now enveloped in a blanket, yes again, cocoon, of protection.”
These reviews were written in 2012, so I’m not sure on their validity these days and I assume the browser has improved a lot more in the last 7 years.
I also decided to research the parent company – Virtual World Computing:
- Established in 2008
- Featured in magazines such as CNET, PC Magazine, and PCWorld (but the latest version I found was from 2015)
- One of the Board members is Aaron Emigh, current co-founder and CEO of Brilliant, former co-founder and CTO of Shopkick, and also worked as CTO for Maven, the founder of eBay, and created many patents and technology software for security and data privacy.
So, if the company has been around for quite a while, been sponsored by several technical magazines in the past, as well as having one of their board members be an experienced user and creator of secure technology, I would assume that Cocoon would be legitimate.
Pros and Cons of Using the Cocoon Browser
Here are my pros and cons from studying the Cocoon browser:
- Private and safe internet browsing
- Can create temporary email addresses
- Prevent companies from tracking your data, which means no more browser history focused advertising
- Stores your browsing information on the Cloud instead of your computer
- Secure connection on public Wi-Fi servers
- Doesn’t work on all websites and may need to turn privacy off in order to be compatible
- No on-demand payment available
- Cannot earn money with other data-tracking apps
- Could cause problems after uninstalling
Similar Money-Making Browsers
I have mentioned a few money-making browser extensions at the beginning of this article, but here are a few more:
- Piggy – $5 to sign up and get notified for coupon codes and cash-back offers.
- InvisibleHand – Shows available coupons and discounts for the traveler (hotels, car rentals, and flights)
- Browsy – Get 200 points for signing up and earn by leaving your browser open
- Perk.tv – Part of the Perk App family, you earn 2 points per video ad watched on its browser
- Wallaby – For credit card users and it will show you bonuses for those credit cards (such as bonus points or cash-back)
- Swagbucks – Get $5 when signing up and 50 points when installing the SwagButton extension for any points earnings available on any website.
Understand though, these are just shopping or cash-back extensions and not security and protection extensions.
My Final Thoughts
I personally didn’t download Cocoon for myself to test out.
I have several accessibility features set up on my laptop and browser and did not want to lose those.
Nevertheless, here are my final thoughts on Cocoon:
Many browsers offer privacy or protection options but not both – the Cocoon browser claims to do both.
This would be a great browser for those who travel a lot as it offers protection while using public WiFi.
You may recall a great money-saving travel trick is to clear your cache of cookies because some travel sites raise their prices each time you visit their site, by using Cocoon you will prevent this from happening.
Although Cocoon can be used in many countries, you’ll only earn for your data in the United States.
I’m still on the fence on whether you should get the Cocoon Browser or not.
On the plus side, it offers a lot more privacy and safety features than standard browsers and the AVT Anti-Virus software has.
On the negative side, if this program is so great why isn’t it more popular?
The RestorePrivacy website listed their top private and secure browsers and their top 5 were:
- Firefox (modified and tweaked for privacy)
- Iridium browser
- GNU IceCat browser
- Tor browser
- Ungoogled Chromium browser
I tried searching on this site for Cocoon, but it returned no results.
So, if you’re really worried about your privacy then go ahead and get Cocoon, otherwise, I don’t think it matters much.
Be warned though that you should only use browsers and browser extensions from verified sites, otherwise they may contain spyware or other malicious software that’ll track your movements online or damages your computer.
Are you interested in earning money by surfing the web, check out these articles:
- Top 5 Rewards Programs To Make Money Surfing The Web
- Get Paid For Surfing The Web With Bing Rewards
- Earn Passive Income By Surfing the Web – Google Screenwise Trends Panel
- DollarTracks – Earn $45/Month Passively By Auto Surfing