Taking online surveys is a compelling offer. You can earn money—either in cash or frequently gift cards or rewards points—and all you have to do is have an opinion. You can earn that money from the comfort of your own home in sweatpants with a glass of wine, or knock out a few surveys during slow moments at the office, racking up money when you’d usually just be trolling Facebook. Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity?

When offered a grand promise for a seemingly small price, many more are likely to fall for it. Being human, the idea of paying very little for great return is incredibly enticing. This is the leading idea behind offers like “Earn $200 every day! Just $10 for access to our exclusive list of high paying surveys.”  When entering the arena of paid online surveys, it's important to be wary of any offer like this that seems too good to be true.
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The only way to make this work would to be a serious survey junkie who can dedicate hours to the work, which defeats the purpose of a side hustle entirely. What’s worse is the idea that you can’t adequately plan your time—a survey might take twice as long as it says or five times as long. That kind of unpredictability means this isn’t a side hustle you can rely on.
The concept of data mining and profiting off that data mining isn't anything new.  And while some companies engage in some rather disreputable practices to do this, Global Test Market seems to be doing just fine with the whole “consent to disclose” thing.  More importantly, in some cases this may help you as some companies will offer to do more specialized product testing once they've identified you as their target demographic.
One Poll is a company that was founded in the United Kingdom, but it’s also open to consumers in the United States and beyond. It claims to be recognized by Money Saving Expert, one of the largest consumer websites in that country, which is a reassuring recommendation. What I recognized about it is that the surveys are short and easy to complete, so ideal if you’ve had a hard day and don’t want to do anything too taxing. New surveys are added on a daily basis, and some are amusingly quirky.
If you're looking to make money by completing surveys online – this site will not be very helpful for you.  Like the previous sites, they will take, retain, and sell your information to anyone that waves a dollar in their faces.  UNLIKE previous sites reviewed, they hide their consent for that information.  It's buried.  So not only do you make silly reward points that don't translate to cash but every third party service and product solicitor has your personal information.
Most reviewed paid survey sites effectively promise not to share personally identifiable information or not to share it without your consent. It's an industry standard by which legitimate marketing research firms are bound. But many membership sites reviewed don't make either promise or do so only in a limited or wishy-washy way. Unauthorized go-betweens don't have to honor marketing research privacy standards.
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.
Hop onto the iPoll survey site, and you’ll see a cheerful cartoon of a man walking his dog while thinking about products. Their boast is that thanks to its web, iPhone and Android platforms, you can complete surveys at home, in the office, at the beach, or on a walk. I put that to the test. This is one of the easiest to use survey sites on a mobile phone, and that’s because the surveys offered are sharp and quick, and the site itself is easy to navigate and use, whatever platform you’re using it on. This is a good choice for people whose online time is mainly spent on their cell phone.
By only sending you questionnaires you are already qualified for, Pinecone wastes far less of your time than many sites which require you to fill our qualifying questions before starting each survey. However some users have said they don’t receive very many surveys, which could be a consequence of their careful filtering. Equally the site retains the right to remove you from their panel if you no longer fit their desired demographic, so make the most of your membership while you have it!
**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) who are eligible to participate on a Survey Sampling International Panel and meet the minimum age requirement for the respective Panel. Quarterly drawings; enter by December 31, 2016 to be included in next drawing. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, mail-in method of entry, and prize descriptions, visit here. Void where prohibited.
There’s lots of additional ways to boost your income on Vindale, including rewards for opening adverts sent to your email account, or small payments for watching advertising videos online. The site pays out in plain and simple cash, and doesn’t mess around with rewards or gift cards, which many people familiar with the survey landscape find a welcome relief. However, as with OnePoll, you’ll have to earn $50 before you can remove you money from the site, which may not be as tempting as some companies where the threshold is much lower.

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.
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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.
We've tested hundreds of sites where you can take paid surveys for money and we've found that Swagbucks by far is our #1 pick. They've been around for years and have a solid track record of paying their users. Plus, we also like that they offer opportunities to get paid for doing things other than surveys, like signing up for offers or shopping in their portal.
Swagbucks remains popular as they are a reliable site, offering novel ways to earn rewards, including playing games and watching videos. Completing polls and surveys for money takes around 10 minutes each and can make up the bulk of your time on the site. You won’t always qualify, and getting to a late stage in a survey application process and then finding out you’re not qualified can be pretty galling. The slickly designed website is straightforward and pleasing to use and also allows you to make money on your shopping by offering a range of affiliate links. By simply clicking on the Swagbucks link and shopping at sites including Amazon, Walmart and Nike, you will earn points, as those companies are paying Swagbucks to link to them, and you get a share of their fee.
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