6 Ways People Are Cashing In Pokémon Go

Across the country, American dreamers are cashing in on the latest craze in gaming — but how much you can make depends on where you live.

With 15 million users in less than a week, it’s no surprise that people have found lots of ways to make a buck off of Pokémon Go.

@MikeIsaac @ceodonovan Somebody somewhere is screaming "SEE, MOM!" about how Pokemon knowledge would never pay their rent.

Here’s a look at what they’re making and how they’re doing it.

1. Offering services as a driver, walker, hatcher, safari guide, or trainer

What it is: The worst way to make money is, obviously, to work for it. Within days of the Pokémon Go launch, people were offering their services as Pokémon Go walkers — people who will monitor your account and walk around with it while they wait for your eggs to hatch. Those with cars make the same offer, but with the luxury of air-conditioning, and not having to exert as much energy. Even savvier are the folks who offer guided rides, promising trips to gyms and PokéStops, and knowledge of the secret lairs of rare Pokémon.

What it costs: From Detroit to Los Angeles to Idaho Falls, Montana, hatchers and guides seem to be charging $20 an hour, give or take. That’s what one “former cross country runner” who runs 8 miles per day and has “extensive knowledge of Pokémon Go” is charging in New Orleans, anyway.

For the same price in Houston, you can hire a bodyguard/henchman to protect you from assailants while you play. “I live across the street from a battle arena and have seen several people almost get robbed or jumped for their iPhone,” he advertised on Craigslist. “DON'T BE IDIOTS PEOPLE!”

Of course, not everyone can charge the big bucks. In Houston, a full-on safari costs only $15 an hour. One woman in Jackson, Mississippi, is asking $5 per kilometer to hatch eggs on foot, noting that “all proceeds go towards funding my books for the fall.” In Baltimore, a 20-minute session on the basics will run you 5 bucks a pop — or, alternatively, 50 cents a question.

For those with empty pockets, in Kennesaw, Georgia, you can get a ride to some battle gyms in exchange for “trades like electronics, knives, guns, jewlery [sic], and of course I'm open to whatever you got to offer."

On the high-end scale, in Los Angeles, a driver costs closer to $30 an hour — maybe because of all the traffic. And in the Bay Area, you can pay up to $45 an hour to the experts over at PikaSpeed.com, whose offerings include PokéStop Runs (“guaranteed to max out your inventory”), PokéGym Runs (a “semi-intensive drive with frequent stops at the most popular gyms around the city”), and Pokémon Runs (“for those ready for some intensive hunting”).

2. Selling accounts and rare Pokémon

What it is: Playing Pokémon Go is, by all accounts, fun — but after the initial high wears off, leveling up to the point where things get good can be a drag. So some thrifty players, some of whom are bored with the game and some of whom are looking to make a buck, are selling off their accounts — the higher the level (the highest reported so far is 30, but it’s sure to climb), the rarer the Pokémon (say, a Charizard or a Pikachu), the bigger the payday.

What it costs: Most accounts for sale are in the low hundreds and are between level 12 and level 20.

In Atlanta, someone is selling a level 15 account for only $50 — a steal!

But in New York City, where a level 15 is going for 100 bucks, an account with a rare Dragonite is going for a cool $1,000. In LA, a grand will get you up to Level 25. Unsurprisingly, the most expensive Pokémon Go account we found was in ... San Francisco ... where a Level 26 will cost you $1,200, or, in local parlance, about half a month’s rent.

Buyer beware: Selling accounts is technically banned in Pokemon Go’s Terms of Service and could get you banned.

3. Taking advantage of the Pokémon Go craze to market other goods

What it is: These are people who were looking to get rid of old junk anyway and are using Pokémon Go as a marketing opportunity. People who had old Pokémon stuff lying around and are also trying to cash in.

What it costs: Anything, really. Tons of old Pokémon cards, T-shirts, and memorabilia are available for sale.

In the Bay Area, a used bike that’s “great for Pokémon Go hunting” is going for $275, while in New York, a similar ride is being sold for $200 — ”Go find Pokémon or whatever with this baby." For the less exercise-inclined, there’s an electric bike being sold in LA for $499 that’s “perfect for Burning Man Festival or EDC or Coachella or even for searching for Pokémon Go!

Also in the Bay Area, someone’s hosting a garage sale where Pikachu comes free, if you can catch it. And another one.

4. Offering Pokémon Go Hacking, Cheating, and Scamming Skills

What it is: People are offering to hack your phone and install software that allows you to catch Pokémon without having to walk around and find them.

What it costs:

In the Bay Area, an iPhone 6S Plus (128 GB), jailbroken and with a “location faker” installed, costs $900.

In New York, getting “ban-free spoofing” installed on your phone by some dude in Queens costs a flat rate of $199.

This is a risky one though: Location spoofing is banned in Pokémon Go, so be careful.

5. URL squatting

What it is: http://www.poketree.com/; Pokémongoride.com; Pokémonaddicts.com.

What it costs: $599; $500; your best offer.

6. Writing a guide to catching ‘em all

What it is: Doug Morrow is selling his text, Mastering Pokémon Go: An Unofficial Guide to Catching Them All, on Craigslist.

What it costs: $4, or free if you have Kindle Unlimited.