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.

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).

The point of each survey is to present you with a topic you're interested in and qualified to discuss for the benefit of the researcher. Surveys range in time required, from very short to quite long. Because researchers are looking for opinions only from certain segments of people, you may find you have to try a few surveys before you're qualified to give your opinion on one. Keep at it, and you'll eventually find one that's right up your alley.


Survey Club has been offering online paid surveys since 2005, and in the fast paced every changing world of the web that’s a reassuringly long amount of time. They are a bit of an acquired taste, in that they specialise in long, detailed surveys for high end clients rather than the quick and cheerful consumer surveys that you may be more familiar with. Whilst this does mean that you may have to commit a bit more time, it does mean that if you have the patience to persevere with them they pay more money than most survey and reward sites. They also offer local taste tests (see what I said about ‘an acquired taste’?), and secret shopper opportunities.
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.
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.
They include sites that seem to be their competitors because they earn referral fees when you buy memberships. A couple mentioned in scam forums even try to dupe you into buying the same list at other membership sites they own under different names. Naturally, these sites also have an incentive to exaggerate how much you'll earn from online paid surveys.

Sometimes survey invitation links direct you to other survey companies, rather than keeping things in-house, which can feel a bit like spam. As is common in the industry, you can sometimes get stuck filling out lengthy qualifying questions which take up to 30 minutes just to see if you’re eligible for a survey. Needless to say if you find out you are not then this is extremely frustrating.
A well known survey panel, Valued Opinions is owned by leading market research company ResearchNow and is open to people in more than 20 countries around the world, including the USA, UK and Australia. The site uses a range of different languages and has around three million members busily filling in surveys and questionnaires. Most surveys taken will reward you between $1 and $5 and take up to around 20 minutes to complete, asking you about marketing, brands and products and even news events. There is a steady rate of invites to surveys, but you won’t always be qualified for them, which can become tiresome.

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While it might be hard to believe at first, American Consumer Opinion will pay you real, actual money to share your opinions and complete online surveys. Once you join their online opinion panel, you’ll be asked to offer opinions on new products you have tried, test out new advertising campaigns, and tell companies what you think of their marketing techniques and slogans.
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.
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.
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.
Above all, thanks for that great article. I really enjoyed reading it all for the last 5 minutes with a mug of coffee! Despite this article being next to perfect, if I can, I’d like to add one of the best survey sites, in my mind, to this list. It would be, “ClixSense”. They’re a really old, and huge, presence in the research industry and have partnered with many of those listed in this very post. So, signing up on ClixSense lets you take paid survey invitations from multiple survey sites and research firms, like Opinion Outpost, Nielson Media Research, YouGov, I-Poll, MySurvey, Toluna and more. Almost half of all of those survey sites are listed here.
Select a representative sample: Selecting a representative sample from your sampling frame is also important for collecting valid and reliable data about the population of interest. For example, if you are sampling from a large database of customer email addresses and only wanted one response per household, you might want to cross-check each email address against mailing addresses and remove duplicates to avoid some households having a greater probability of selection. Then you would likely draw a random sample from the remaining list of email addresses.
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