The Pros and Cons of Starting an Internet Research Business

Overhead view of a woman using a computer to do internet research.
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The internet provides a vast amount of information. If you can quickly and efficiently navigate through that wealth of information to essentially find a needle in a haystack, you can create a very successful business as an internet researcher.

As an internet researcher, you can help individuals or companies to gather, synthesize, and present research on a variety of topics. Small businesses rely on the market research you can provide to help them launch a new product, or someone in the health industry who is working on an article for a medical journal might hire you to help gather data. There also are opportunities to work with individuals who, for example, are researching their family ancestry or trying to locate someone they lost touch with over the years.

Consider some of the pros and cons of starting an internet research business that you should explore before taking the plunge.


There are many reasons an internet research business could be a good fit for you. Some of the benefits of this business idea include:

  • If you have a computer and internet access, you have the equipment necessary to start an internet research business.
  • There are no time constraints since the internet is always available.
  • If you have a background in a research-based field such as journalism or library science, you will more easily be able to market your value to potential clients. 
  • Your business can be home-based or mobile. If working from home, you also should be able to deduct expenses for your home office when filing your taxes.
  • You can expand your knowledge as you work.
  • You can target broadly or specialize in specific areas such as market research, genealogy research, statistical research, etc.
  • Your researching speed will increase as you become more familiar with online search tools and resources.


Like most business ideas, there can be some challenges when it comes to starting an internet research business. Some of the potential challenges include:

  • You may find it difficult to sell the value of your services to clients if you are unable to convince them that your background and experience have provided you with skills that go beyond run-of-the-mill internet searches.
  • Establishing the business likely will require extensive networking, marketing, and self-promotion to build a client base.
  • You have to be able to objectively evaluate information since not all information found on the internet is accurate.
  • You need to have the skills and knowledge to go beyond basic Google or Bing searches. There are billions of pages of data that popular search engines don't reach, and you need to know how to find that data to be valuable to your clients.
  • You have to be especially careful to avoid plagiarism and know how to cite your sources when gathering information online.
  • You need to understand the different search operators and how to use them to find what you're looking for.
  • You need to know what questions to ask your clients to get a clear understanding of what information they need.