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    Apps that pay you to play: how they work and what you risk

    Who I am
    Judit Llordés
    @juditllordés

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    Surely no one will actually pay you to play a game on your phone, right? You've probably seen advertisements for apps that offer to pay you just to play on your phone. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Let's take a look at how these Get Paid to Play (GPT-Play) apps really work and what you can gain or lose as a user using them.


    How apps that pay you to play work

    Games you download via the app may collect different information than the GPT app itself. This includes social media logins, including your Google Account if you use Google Pay for in-app purchases.



    Apps that use augmented reality may also collect more specific location data while you're using them. Always check the Privacy Agreement if you are concerned.

    Unlike apps that pay you to take surveys or shop at certain stores, it can be hard to see what app companies earn from playing on your phone.


    These apps tend to be free to download, as are the games they offer, so you may be wondering how they can afford to pay you. The money comes from the game's developers, who pay the app to get your attention and information.

    Users can spend money on in-app purchases while playing. They can also share the game on social media in exchange for in-game rewards. This is especially likely if the user has to advance the game up to a certain point in order to qualify for the gift card prize.

    Finally, if a user likes the game, they can decide to give it a good review or tell their friends about it. All this helps to increase the app sales.




    These apps also record user data and share it with game developers, who use it to improve their marketing strategy. The data collected varies, but usually includes your age, gender and location, as well as information on how long and how often you have played the game.

    If you log in to the app using a social media account, information stored on that account may also be shared.

    When a game developer sees an increase in sales or downloads after being promoted to a GPT-Play app, it increases the credibility of the GPT-Play app, attracting even more game developers to pay.


    risks

    Your personal data is sold to game developers via these apps. It's one of the main reasons developers pay for you to use these platforms. Unfortunately, there's no way to stop these apps from collecting this data, although you can confuse location data with a VPN.

    However, it's worth noting that there is little a developer can do with this data other than delivering more targeted advertisements. In fact, you're already sharing most of this information with your social media and browser providers.

    You don't have to worry too much about your banking information either. Since most of these apps use gift cards to refund their users, they can credit you via an email address. You should never be asked to enter your credit card or bank details in a GPT-Play app to receive a gift card.


    Games you download via the app may collect different information than the GPT app itself. This includes social media logins, including your Google Account if you use Google Pay for in-app purchases.



    Apps that use augmented reality may also collect more specific location data while you're using them. Always check the Privacy Agreement if you are concerned.

    How to improve online privacy

    A mostly harmless way to make money

    These apps make money by selling your time and data - there's no way around it. However, the data they collect is not particularly sensitive, nor can companies use it to harm you. The most you need to fear is targeted advertising.

    These apps don't pay you enough to quit your day job, but if you have a lot of free time, they can be a relatively safe and easy way to make some change.


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    • How to play Brawlhalla on PC [Windows and MAC]
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