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CompanyA tells JoeBlow internet searcher that since he is bored, they will pay him x cents (usually .25-2 cents) for every email he reads. He says sure, i dont have anything better to do. CompanyA then tells webmaster that he can get 10,000 hits on his site for $150. webmaster thinks it is a heck of a deal and forks over $150. CompanyA sends out 10,000 emails and pays each person 1 cent for clicking the link in the ad.
So technically, you would get 10,000 people to click a link to your site, and then close it immediately. And by "people" I mean 12 year olds with nothing better to do.