Post-recession, a lot of workers started looking for ways to earn extra cash. While most side gigs won’t supplant the steady cashflow of a regular job, they can pad a paycheck that hasn’t seen a significant boost in a few years. Paid surveys are often mentioned as one way to earn a few extra dollars fast. But are paid surveys a legitimate way to make money – or are they scams? The answer is that it depends on the survey and the company you are taking them for.
Like many survey sites, Toluna rewards you with points, which you can then cash out for vouchers for the usual suspects like Amazon and iTunes, or money through PayPal. A slightly novel element of the site’s payment plan is to offer the chance to take your points out early if you gamble them for prizes. While you have to store up a grand total of 60,000 points before you can claim vouchers for around $12 – something some people find to be a downside of the site – if you are willing to settle for a prize, you can play with just 500 points. You can decide to try your luck with a “giftie”, a kind of scratch card game. By gambling some points, you can see if you have won the gift or lost your points – so it is not one for the faint hearted!
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.
One example would be that a brand like Coke or Pepsi wants to know more about what kind of people are buying their beverages. They might want to learn more about the age, gender, income, or location of the people who like or dislike their products. They might use this for marketing purposes or to make decisions about their future products. Brands like this spend a lot of time and money investing market research to get your feedback. You just get money for doing them a favor – it’s a total win-win!
Paid survey site companies invest billions of dollars into marketing research online. They always want to find out more intricate details of a consumer's relationship with their product. Whether it's a new television show or just an existing product line, companies like Disney, Samsung, and Sony go to great lengths to find out their ideal audiences.
The other type of paid surveys CashCrate features are targeted surveys, which are available only to you and people who meet your demographic profile. It's very important that you fill out your profile on CashCrate right when you sign-up. Not only will you earn $.50 instantly, you'll also be eligible to receive these special surveys. So why are they so great? First, they'll often pay more than Daily Surveys. That means when you see one available, you should jump on it right away.
How It Works: Swagbucks is a favorite of mine, as well as a favorite of many readers here. Not only do they offer a wide range of surveys that pay cash, but you can also earn points for the everyday things you do online like searching, shopping, and watching videos. In total, Swagbucks has paid out over $187 million in rewards. Even if you’re not interested in doing surveys, it’s still easy on the platform to earn decent money with what you’re already doing online today.
After you sign up, you’ll receive surveys on various topics and products via email. Once you complete these surveys and build up a stash of points, you can redeem them for cash via PayPal, purchases made through Amazon.com, or gift cards to various retailers. As an alternate suggestion, you can even redeem your rewards as a donation to the Red Cross.
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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.
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.
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.