The anonymity of the internet is a double-sided sword. It is very easy to launch any type of online business, which is popularly known as ecommerce. Companies like eBay and Amazon are established models of how to make money online.
Anything and everything, and even something like genuine brick and mortar businesses, can be turned around, to suit the environment of the cyber world, to make money online. Most traditional forms of businesses are evolving into ecommerce markets. The potential of this market is limitless. Because the first thing that happens is that the business is open to billions of people, who can come across your web portal and would like to work with you. Therefore, a concept or idea is all that is required, to make money online.
The revenue earning potential of these websites depends largely on the advertisements. Slowly as the portals establish themselves, they reinvent themselves to make money online. Be it the classifieds genre like Quirk, or the hundreds of job search websites like monster.com, they all follow the advertising model to make money online.
There is of course a negative side, to the cyber world. There are several experts such as hackers, online phishing service providers and even scamsters who will advertise hard, to attract the unsuspecting web surfers, to register online, for providing services. Hacking and phishing are very serious and large spread offenses, where the security of a website, email or a bank account, is compromised, and the actual owner stands to loose money. But the phishers and the hackers do make money online. This dark underbelly of the internet needs stringent cyber laws and effective controls, to curb the malpractices and exploitation of the innocent users of the internet.
Of course the very platforms on which the whole internet survives namely servers, web hosts, web designers, animators, programmers, technologists, web masters, online directories and the yellow pages,, for the services they provide. The internet service providers, the telecom giants, too make money online by providing connectivity every where. There are several spin-off industries, which survive because of the online money makers, who may seek to outsource work to such third parties.
In conclusion, one can infer that, it is indeed very easy to make money online, if you have a unique concept; but one will have to be very careful and use only secure websites, to make any transactions.