Post-recession, a lot of workers started looking for ways to earn extra cash. While most side gigs won’t supplant the steady cashflow of a regular job, they can pad a paycheck that hasn’t seen a significant boost in a few years. Paid surveys are often mentioned as one way to earn a few extra dollars fast. But are paid surveys a legitimate way to make money – or are they scams? The answer is that it depends on the survey and the company you are taking them for.
Pinecone Research works a lot like other paid survey sites. Once you sign up, you’ll earn points for each survey you complete. As an added bonus, the responses you give during surveys will help you learn about new products before they hit the market and influence their respective marketing campaigns. And once you start racking up the points, you can redeem them for cash or prizes.
In the middle of all of this is a new breed of research corporation that relies on you – the survey taker – to determine this information. For your time? Many survey companies will pay you to take surveys for money or for other cash alternatives like gift cards or physical prizes and rewards. It depends upon the company as to whether they'll offer money or other offers and special deals.
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About that money: Survey companies typically don’t pay you for each and every survey—you have to meet a payout amount to earn your reward. Page says it took her months to reach the $30 payout on one survey site—time she could have easily spent on more lucrative side hustles. This presents a problem if you need money fast or if you decide to change course and try something else—you might end up answering tons of questions and never actually see that money.
A popular and free survey site, Toluna boats more than nine million users across the globe and is well known in the industry, having been running for 17 years. Offering questionnaires for you to fill in to provide leading companies with your opinions, Toluna also runs a range of internal games and schemes, as well as offering product testing to some lucky users who can bag free products.
Referral program: Referral programs are a common aspect of thousands of websites as they are a great way to get new registered members. As you may already know, some of the biggest e-commerce giants as well as other companies offer rewards and bonuses to users for referring their website to their friends and family. All you have to do is subscribe to their referral program and share a link to your friends.
This is where it can all go downhill quickly. In the pressure to make as many pennies out of a nickel, a lot of research corporations will not just sell your answers but the data associated with it. Details that you provide when taking paid surveys such as your name, address, age range can all be attached together quickly to fulfill a lot of larger companies' requests for information (RFI).
One of the oldest and longest running survey sites, Vindale Research is a legitimate option for making some money from filling out surveys. Based in New York, the company offers both traditional surveys and evaluations, by testing products or online services. It’s free to sign up, and surveys pay between $1 and $5 each and product testing starts at $5 and moves up from there. The site claims significantly higher rates of pay, but as this involves slightly inflated pricing, for example discounting fees you may have to pay out to join subscription sites before receiving your end payout, they won’t be included here.
OneOpinion. This site is a survey aggregator with an effective screening process. Its dashboard is informative and displays helpful sections, such as your activity and a customer support form. The site was above average at picking surveys we qualified for. As for the points awarded per survey, 500 or 1,000 points may look high at first, but when converted to actual rewards, you’d get 50 cents or a dollar. Also, you can’t cash out until you reach 25,000 points, equivalent to $25. Read more in our OneOpinion review.
Send Earnings may have to be satisfied with the twentieth and final spot in our table, but that’s still an achievement to be proud of in such a competitive market. There’s a good selection of surveys to choose from, which I always welcome, and you can grab your money and run once you hit the thirty dollar threshold. There are lots of other money earning options as well, but watch out for the ‘play games’ pitfall as it could end up costing you more than you actually earn.
To take surveys, you need to qualify. This means answering a battery of questions up front—before the paid portion of the survey. Page attempted a variety of side hustles to pay off her debt, and says that taking online surveys was the “least helpful” side hustle she tried, mostly because she simply couldn’t even get to the surveys themselves. “You can spend almost 10 minutes just trying to qualify for a survey, and then [get] declined,” she says. “It takes way too long to determine if you’re eligible to take the survey, just to make $5,” she says. Short of magically being the right demographic for every survey, you’re looking at getting turned away more often than not, and wasting time answering questions that don’t come with a pay off.
This site pays highly – at least $3 a survey and up to $6 for testing products. If you stay with them, the pay even increases by a few dollars, taking the wage far above the standard survey rate. Owned by the renowned New York market research company Nielson, Pinecone offers a variety of content and emails surveys to members as and when they are suited to you.
They used to be cash-only, but in 2013 they switched over to a points system. Panelists can share their opinions in surveys and complete other various offers in exchange for points. 100 points is equal to $1, and most of their surveys pay up to $3. Survey topics are diverse and cover a variety of different topics. Pinecone Research is unique in that they emphasize consumption related surveys more than other panels.
Each of their surveys you complete will be worth between 100-5,000 points depending on the length and subject. There are a variety of different topics to cover like consumer goods, healthcare and travel, just to name a few. Once you reach 3,000 points you can start redeeming rewards. You have to call and redeem points over the phone, and it typically takes a month for the rewards to reach you.
Cashback shopping: Who doesn’t love getting cash back? It's a great incentive for shopping because it feels like you're being paid to do so. It's usually best to use the offers only when you were already intending to buy the product. If you love saving money at discount stores or at places that offer cash back, there are a lot of survey sites out there that will open a lot more offers to you. Survey sites can offer cash back because they're paid a portion of the profit for referring you.
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This site offers surveys for money, paying out cash rather than points and allowing immediate rewards. Crowdology is a pretty popular website with a decent reputation which works with big brands and television shows, so can have some interesting content to keep you interested while you’re filling in forms. You could be answering questions about everyday topics or issues, such as saving money or online shopping, as well as your opinions about various products.
Sign up today to join 3 million members worldwide, all earning credit, sharing their opinions and telling companies what they think. You could be one of them. Fill out our short registration form now, activate your account and start earning rewards from top brands including Amazon.com, Target and Macy’s! Your first survey and reward will be waiting for you.
When you complete an online survey the results end up with a business’s decision committee who then will take all the opinions that have been submitted honestly and a new product or service will be born. If you’re not a member yet, join today by clicking on ‘Join for Free’ anywhere on our site. Experience it for yourself, there are no obligations so you can choose when you decide to participate and to thank you for taking part we reward you too.
The number one reason why I liked MySurvey the best out of the 30-something sites I had the privilege or misfortune to try, was no doubt its versatility. This versatility is present not only in the reward system and the referral program – which are important aspects on their own – but clearly shows in their surveys too. Filling out boring surveys always feels like hard work, even though it’s really not if you think about it. With MySurvey, you will see a huge variety of different topics.