All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad, is His slave and Messenger.
Earning money in the manner mentioned in the question involves some Sharee‘ah violations, and therefore we mentioned in previous Fataawa that it is forbidden. We have cited in our Fataawa the words of Dr. Saami ibn Ibraaheem As-Suwaylim underlining some of these Sharee‘ah violations. He said: “Praise be to Allah, and may Allah exalt the mention of His Messenger.
(A) Commissions paid in return for mere browsing without paying any subscription fees or any other kind of fees. There is nothing wrong with this type, Allah Willing, provided that these ads do not involve any Sharee‘ah violations or promote anything that is prohibited or objectionable under the Sharee‘ah.
Please note that some of these websites do not allow the users to continue browsing for free but require paying the subscription or else the account would be deleted.
(B) The second type requires paying non-refundable subscription fees in addition to browsing. The value of the commission is proportional to the amount of the subscription fees, and the greater the subscription fees are, the bigger the commission is, up to a certain limit. Part of these fees is used to cover the expenses of the company managing the website, and the rest – which is the larger part – is distributed in the form of commissions payable to the rest of the subscribers.
It is obvious that the commission of this type involves an exchange of cash for cash. A subscriber pays the fees, and other subscribers get their commissions from those fees, and vice versa. The sales revenue generated by the ads and the like is less than the income generated by the subscriptions. The income mostly comes from the subscriptions, and commissions are paid from that income. This type includes the exchange of cash for cash, along with variation in the amount and delay, let alone the Gharar (risk due to uncertainty) and ambiguity with regard to the subscriptions. Thus, the transaction combines Riba (usurious interest) and gambling.” [End of quote]
Allah Knows best.