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].
There are also many questionable "middleman" third-party paid survey sites that hype easy money for participating in online marketing research from home. Here, the old adage is true: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Further, it’s worth knowing that there’s a lot of competition among these companies for your participation – which means potential for exaggeration, at the very least, if not outright scams.
One of the most popular sites, and rightfully so, Swagbucks offers traditional surveys as well as a range of additional ways to make cash. Filling out surveys for money will reward you with points called Swagbucks which can be cashed out through PayPal, or redeemed as gift cards for shops including Amazon.com. As a sweetener, they’ll even give you $5 just for signing up.
Illegitimate companies and scammers have a simple objective. They're after your information in order to get your money. It's much more common for internet scammers to target hundreds of people for small sums rather than a single person for thousands. This is because demanding large sums for a product that is somewhat unclear is an obvious red flag to most.
Surveys can be super quick and take just a few minutes to fill out, or require around 15 minutes of your time. Five minute surveys pay $0.50 and surveys range from $0.40 up to the higher – and rarer – ones at $10.Paying out by the usual methods, Crowdology does PayPal and also vouchers. Most importantly, the minimum reward threshold is low so when you’ve earned $8, you can cash it out, unlike other sites which make you wait until you have earned much more money. The site offers prize draws from time to time for things like cinema tickets and surveys can be expected weekly.
Privacy: 5.0/5.0 – As a sister company to Swagbucks, MyPoints is governed by the same privacy policy, which is detailed and very reasonable. In our experience, MyPoints has never sent us spam. As is typical, MyPoints does link to other sites that have different privacy policies, but to be fair, our 5 star rating is based on the MyPoints privacy policy.  You can view the MyPoints privacy policy for yourself here.
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.

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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Ultimately, it is very unlikely that participating in online surveys will provide you with a steady, livable wage. However, if you enjoy participating in online surveys (especially if you like the prizes, coupons, and other more typical non-monetary earnings), be sure to avoid questionable third-party sites. Look for real paid surveys online that don’t require you to invest money.
Design and pre-test questionnaires: Designing the questionnaire carefully and then pre-testing it before fielding it to your entire sample is crucial to getting data that are valid and reliable. For example, careful questionnaire design and pre-testing can help reduce the chance that respondents may interpret the meaning of questions differently. Future posts in this series will tackle these important steps in much greater detail.
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