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.
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Survey Junkie. This site is a smaller survey aggregator, but it stands out. The site has a clean, easy-to-use dashboard and offers a high point value for each survey you complete. The point system is direct and shows you how much your points are worth in dollars right on the dashboard. But you have to get to 1,000 points, equal to $10, before you can cash out. Check out our Survey Junkie review for more information.
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.
Harris Poll has made a strong presence in the market research industry. They are a member of the National Council of Public Polls (NCPP), the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO), the Council for Marketing and Opinion Research (CMOR), and the European Society for Opinion & Marketing Research (ESOMAR). The firm abides by the standards of these organizations, thus proving their reputability.
Free to join, the site runs a range of special offers, including awarding prizes at random, giving you daily targets to hit for which you receive bonus points, and posting deals on their social media feeds. They have a great new app and a strong referral scheme. However, like everything, it’s not perfect – it can start to suck up a lot of your time. Swagbucks runs on the premise of incentivising day to day internet use to make both you and them money, so it is worth being aware of this so it doesn’t end up seeping into too much of your life!
Playing games online: if you like playing games, why not turn the hobby into a moneymaking activity? There are tons of websites out there that reward their loyal fan base with points when the complete a game or play for a certain amount of time. These points can then be exchanged for real money. Sites are able to do this by sharing the profit they make from ads as an incentive for users to visit the site.
I’ve had bad experiences with iPoll. I’ll answer the “screening” questions and am told I qualify to take the survey, then once the survey is around 90% complete, I’m told the survey is “closed”. My guess is this is how they’re getting their data without having to pay participants. I’ve also gotten “invalid website” in the middle of some of their surveys as well, of course, after answering 15 minutes of questions.
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.
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.
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.
Scammers use a diverse variety of methods to allure and dupe unsuspecting victims. Some ads and offers look so real that even the most seasoned internet veterans can be tricked. However, many scams target people new to the market who may be more susceptible to “get rich quick” schemes because they're unaware of what you can reasonably make taking surveys. It is incredibly uncommon to be offered more than $10 to complete a 20 minute survey. Not that one offering that or more is definitely a scam, it's just important to be cautious. While some experienced and well credited survey takers receive legitimate offers paying that pay big money, if you're new to survey taking you should definitely steer clear of anyone offering you hundreds to complete a survey.
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.
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.