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.
To save time and money, many companies are turning to online market research. Surveys, in particular, can easily be conducted online or over e-mail. The cost of a 200-person, e-mail survey is $2,500 to $5,000. To get the same number of responses from a snail mail survey would cost between $5,000 and $7,000, and phone surveys can run as high as $15,000 [source; Yahoo! Small Business].
A few paid survey sites do pay relatively well in cash. However, many sites hype hypothetical, best-case scenarios that can't possibly apply to each and every consumer for each and every hour of participation. In the real world, the likelihood that you'll often earn the higher of the hyped amounts is slim. Most online paid surveys simply don't pay much, and you must be invited to complete them. To be invited, you must fit targeted demographics. That alone limits your earnings right off the bat, as you can't possibly fit every demographic.
CashCrate. Many sites reward users through a confusing point system, so we appreciated that CashCrate discloses the monetary value of each survey. However, during surveys, we often struggled to determine when we were actually earning money and when we were attempting to qualify for paid opportunities. And after five hours in this confusing process, we didn’t earn enough money to cash out. Read more in our CashCrate review.
The only problem with rewarding consumers for taking online surveys is that it gives them the incentive to cheat. The more surveys you fill out, the more points you get. So people get creative: They randomly answer survey questions as quickly as possible, establish multiple e-mail addresses to answer the same survey five or six times, or lie about their demographic (a white male says he's a black female, for example) to participate in surveys for which they otherwise wouldn't qualify [source: Frost & Sullivan].
First, thank you for providing this extensive list. I wanted to offer a quick follow up. After reading your post I decided to give Survey Junkie a try and I’ve already closed the account. Yes, I can tell it’s well organized and it is definitely a user-friendly platform. The problems I experienced were first that not one of the surveys they emailed me about were available. I did, however, complete several surveys from the site itself and I found them to be lengthy – in itself, not a problem, but 3 out of 5 told me I didn’t qualify after I’d already invested 10 – 12 minutes filling out the forms. They got more than enough information from me to be useful which is an old and highly unethical trick in market research – which happens to be my background. All in all, it was a LOT of wasted time.

How It Works: Pinecone Research is owned and operated by Nielsen, the billion dollar data and measurement company responsible for TV Nielsen Ratings. With Pinecone Research you earn $3 per survey, which typically take 15 to 20 minutes to complete. The downside to Pinecone Research is that they are strict with their demographics. So, you may not qualify depending on your age, education, or race. Sign up to see if you’re eligible.
As well as filling in the familiar surveys, you can sign up to complete free and paid offers, which is how many users say they make the bulk of their CashCrate money. In these cases companies will pay you to sign up to their website, or to try out the service they offer, such as a financial credit check. These are often quick, straightforward ways to earn a few bucks. As the name suggests, paid offers require you to pay out to claim the offer or to sign up for the service, but what you get back will cover this and add a small profit on top. If you’re signing up for a monthly service though, make sure to note in your calendar when to cancel it or you might find yourself out of pocket as they auto-renew each month.
First, thank you for providing this extensive list. I wanted to offer a quick follow up. After reading your post I decided to give Survey Junkie a try and I’ve already closed the account. Yes, I can tell it’s well organized and it is definitely a user-friendly platform. The problems I experienced were first that not one of the surveys they emailed me about were available. I did, however, complete several surveys from the site itself and I found them to be lengthy – in itself, not a problem, but 3 out of 5 told me I didn’t qualify after I’d already invested 10 – 12 minutes filling out the forms. They got more than enough information from me to be useful which is an old and highly unethical trick in market research – which happens to be my background. All in all, it was a LOT of wasted time.
i-Say. This site only provides surveys through Ipsos, the market research firm that owns it. The site offers fewer surveys than aggregators do, but you stay on i-Say for every survey, which makes the overall experience easier. Sometimes it displays surveys you already tried, which is confusing. You can cash out rewards starting at 500 points, which is equivalent to $5. For more information, check out the i-Say review.
No matter the site, the earnings from taking surveys can be meager compared with other work opportunities. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, for example, and our hourly earnings ranged from 41 cents to $2.03. Most survey sites also required a minimum amount of points before we could redeem them for rewards. On many of the sites, we didn’t reach that minimum amount after five hours of work.
While surveys vary widely in how they are conducted and used, there are a number of components that are common across nearly all surveys. Many of these common features have been studied in extensive detail by survey methodologists, psychologists, statisticians, and many other fields of research. The general process of survey research is outlined in the figure below.
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