Several jobs exist on a pay per hour basis but the better paid ones are probably contract jobs. Some examples of both: Copywriting; proofreading of web content/ebooks/newsletters etc. (elance, guru, rentacoder, graphicdesign, more).
Email or phone answering: Be one of the first line support staff manning a company's phone or email answering service. Filter out the easy questions by pointing the user to relevant sections of his manual and escalate those that seem genuine problems. You are saving the company's engineers' time and providing a valuable service - that they pay for. A variation of this is chat help where you actually sit at your PC and text chat to users who've reached a firm's website and clicked the help button. Sometimes a bit of training is involved.
Good at web design, HTML, CSS? Create designs (templates) and flog them. You can sell each one multiple times to webmasters who don't have the time or patience to get familiar with the intricacies and quirks.
Monitoring Wikipedia/ forums/ blogs for mentions of a particular name, brand etc. A recent expose showed that several Wikipedia entries were being manipulated by a US political party who had several stooges signed up for just this purpose. Wouldn't their opponents want to know each time they're manipulating some facts? Find someone who needs some news "managed" or needs to know when news is being "managed" and get paid for it. You need to be "proactive" as these jobs aren't "advertised" but the fact that they aren't advertised means that others do
n't know about them, you have an advantage. And there are opportunities in almost every language.
Directories: start one. Webmasters pay to be listed in your directory. The better your directory the more you can demand. Niche, hand compiled directories are a million times better than the SERPs dross and both companies and users know that.
Filling in surveys. True, there are a lot of duds around but there are still some programs that pay you for doing mind-numbingly dull tasks like filling in surveys. If you aren't fussed about privacy and are willing to disclose all your personal details (or fictional personal details) there's usually someone willing to pay you, From YouGov to Ciao. This - and some of the next few - are called IFW or Incentivised Freebie Websites, more here.
Get paid to read email. Why would companies pay for that? Plenty of reasons, not least that a human eye can spot SPAM that even the best program doesn't catch. Even the best anti-spam program has some false positives and some companies can't afford to have any.
Do other filtering. There are people who'll pay money to have you filter through those millions of ebay listings to find them the specific objects/ curios/ stock/ book that they really, really need. Another filtering idea: Businessmen looking to buy sites regularly visit the Site Buying/Selling forums and trawl through thousands of listings a week. Get talking to one or two of them, offer to get familiar with what they are looking for and to do the looking for them.
he web has allowed easy access to industrial quantities of free stuff. For example, in 2007, a major manufacturer of cricket bats had a problem. Cricket bats can't have knots in them so most of the wood from the willow tree has to be discarded as scrap. Not a few bin bags full but 70 tons. Per week. Yes, lorry loads per day! Free. They listed it on the eastex.org.uk site. Opportunity: Find a company that sells bark mulch for gardens. Find out how much they are paying to buy wood. Offer them 70 tons of fine willow a week at 50% of their current costs provided they pick it up themselves. Or contact manufacturers of chipboard/cat litter/use-your-imagination. OK, eastex may not still have that particular opportunity... but there are others. And on other sites.
CPA = Cost per Action. Apart from filling in surveys people pay for all kinds of other things. Like clicking on links (though you may want to check that you're not participating in click fraud).
Posting in Forums: Like hanging out in forums and chatting to other people? Owners of new forums have a problem. If there aren't a lot of conversations going then people don't stop to talk. So they get the chat flowing by paying for posts. So, jump in, start chatting and get paid.
Do something silly. The milliondollarhomepage guy got famous for selling worthless pixels on his page. But, because he was in the news/having his 15 minutes of fame people focused on that and paid money for what they would normally have realised was fairly worthless links. Yes, people are stupid. ClickHereYouIdiot. But some of these "stupid" people are millionaires today.
Do something more useful and less silly. Find a need in a niche and fill it. People complaining in forums about how they can't find replacement parts for a certain type of car? Find someone who'll make it and be the broker. People complaining about limitations in a particular niche software? Find a programmer to design a solution and start selling it.
Have expertise in a particular subject? Write regularly on that subject and give away your knowledge for free. People will bookmark your blog and visit regularly. The money is in allowing companies to advertise their products and services to your very eager audience. There are third parties like payperpost, blogvertise, creamaid, Blogitive, reviewme, loudlaunch etc., who handle the finding of advertisers.
Don't have expertise in a particular subject? That doesn't stop bloggers. Some of them blog on the most mundane things - from what they had for breakfast to how they spent their day. And still the advertisers come. So, don't blog to demonstrate your expertise. Blog to demonstrate your camera obsession and show all the stupid pictures you take everyday. Or blog about breastfeeding your kids.
Join the myspace bandwagon, build up a lot of "friends" and bulletin advertise (what?!) the hell out of them. Send them to pages where you promote affiliate programs and you could walk away with five figures every month. There are people who make a lot more.
Or use tools like myspace to promote your offline activities - like the music you create. The Arctic Monkeys were record label/ talent scout/ music agent free.
Sell trinkets to myspace users. They love them. Especially shiny ones. Myspace backgrounds, templates, animations, scripts, icons and other "myspace resources" are a multimillion dollar industry.
Writing a newsletter. Building a mailing list is a long term plan and it pays dividends but don't expect immediate results. If your newsletter is good and you promote it well you can collect hundreds of thousands of subscribers (who all get the newsletter for completely free). The more subscribers you have on your list the more advertisers pay to feature in your newsletter.
Find something that won't sell, let your imagination run wild. Be willing to think the most outrageous thoughts, the most impossible items to sell. Who would have guessed there'd be an active market for urine. Yes, that stuff you flush away. No, I'm not taking the ... mikey. Start selling your outrageous item and you may find that a market already exists. There's a guy you can pay to stick a message in a bottle for you and throw it into the sea. He's made tens of thousands of dollars already. And there are several others like him in all parts of the world. Or join the cleanup of those bottles and get your council to contribute.
Build a community. While some webmasters see lower returns from forum-type sites it's probably because they're using contextual programs like Adsense. One of the biggest webmaster communities (forum) is free to join and free to use though it's very busy, uses massive bandwidth, and costs its owner a bomb. Yet, he makes a very profitable income from organising conferences/tradeshows. His "community" ensures every one is a sell-out.
Be a link monkey. Webmasters want people to link to them. It makes them feel loved. And it helps them rank higher with search engines. But they don't have the time to go begging. You do that for them and get paid per link. If you're smart you'll find shortcuts and charge people a lot of money for identifying and approaching possible link "partners".
Related to the link idea above - start a directory submission service. There are lots of directories around like the ODP. Many take free submissions but you have to do these by hand. When you're familiar with the submission process at a few of the top ones it takes you a lot less time to make submissions. Webmasters have to register, wait for a reply, jump through other hoops etc. They'd rather outsource it to someone who can do it faster and has the time.
Another flavour of link-building: Dropping mention of your client's site in forums, blog comments etc. Yes, clients pay for it. There are spamming ways of doing it and some more decent ways. If you can make relevant posts, posts that contribute to the discussion, and provide only those links that are beneficial to that thread, you'll be in high demand with webmasters looking to spread the word about their good content. For example, if you genuinely feel that this list of 101 ways to make money is the dog's testicles - and you participate a lot in webmaster forums - you're bound to come across threads where dropping a link would help your forum mates. Some website owners pay for that.
Press release websites often need people to screen user submitted releases for profanity etc., before running the "news". Well known blogs often require the same kind of vetting service for user submitted comments to blog articles. Niche directories that take automated submissions need to prevent against SPAM so could use a human review of each submission. There are numerous such opportunities. Spamming site owners with offers of your service may not get you anywhere. The key is to identify a site that looks like it could use this service and make a personal approach.
Write an ebook. It's as easy as falling off a chair. Know something about something? Whether it's about growing cabbages, writing PERL, plucking nose hair or being a good cop - if you're a good marketer, or pay a good marketer, you can probably sell a few thousand copies of your ebook. People pay online and download it, no publisher, printer, book shop or other cumbersome details to worry about. In fact, you don't even need to do the selling. "Affiliates" do it for you (on commission). And, there are ebooks telling you how you can write and sell ... ebooks!
Become an expert in a particular niche, perhaps affiliate programs for kids' products, or mailing list services ..and charge for your advice either at online webinars ... or even at local business events. The great news is that this is the internet and becoming an expert in a niche often requires nothing more than spending lots of time (online) reading and absorbing. No school to attend, no fees to pay.
Data sorting and other mundane jobs usually pay by the hour. This is the online version of envelope stuffing except that there really are opportunities to do these jobs online. It's a matter of looking in the right places and avoiding all those scammers looking to part you from your money by asking for upfront fees.
Good at graphic design? Design and offer logos and icons downloadable for free (and without watermark on payment of a fee). Good icons sell for several hundred dollars a set. And each set can be sold again and again.
Create an award and some fancy logos to go with it. The more credible they look the better. Award them to websites you like ... provided they pay you an "admin" fee every year to continue using the logo. Giving awards used to be a useful way to get backlinks. But when people's egos are sufficiently stroked they'll pay to continue boasting about how good the "rest of the world" thinks they are.