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.
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?
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i-Say. This site only provides surveys through Ipsos, the market research firm that owns it. The site offers fewer surveys than aggregators do, but you stay on i-Say for every survey, which makes the overall experience easier. Sometimes it displays surveys you already tried, which is confusing. You can cash out rewards starting at 500 points, which is equivalent to $5. For more information, check out the i-Say review.
Convenience: 4.5/5.0 – While the sign up form is easy to fill out, you will have to enter more information about yourself up-front than other survey companies ask for. Typically, you just need to enter your email address and create a password to join, but Ipsos also requires your name and physical address. We only gave a slightly lower rating for this because the sign-up process is still very quick and painless.
Swagbucks. This site offers a lot of opportunities for surveys, but disqualifications are frequent. Sometimes we got disqualified just from clicking on a link to a survey. Swagbucks aggregates third-party surveys, so some sites it sends you to are better than others. It takes a long time to earn points, but the site’s expansive rewards marketplace has hundreds of options to choose from, including gift cards, sweepstakes and PayPal payments. Check out our full Swagbucks review.
One of the oldest and longest running survey sites, Vindale Research is a legitimate option for making some money from filling out surveys. Based in New York, the company offers both traditional surveys and evaluations, by testing products or online services. It’s free to sign up, and surveys pay between $1 and $5 each and product testing starts at $5 and moves up from there. The site claims significantly higher rates of pay, but as this involves slightly inflated pricing, for example discounting fees you may have to pay out to join subscription sites before receiving your end payout, they won’t be included here.
Summary: A real favourite, MySurvey is a popular panel allowing members to participate in market research surveys for money, covering topics like the media, tourism and products like electronics. It’s easy to set up an account on the site and begin earning points, which vary between 10 and 500 per survey, but are typically around the 100 mark for an average survey which would take 15 minutes to fill out.
Joining isn’t as straightforward as merely signing up, because you need an invite. However it’s not as tough as it sounds, as there are plenty of links doing the rounds online if you look hard enough, and Pinecone also advertises on websites, so you might get lucky by keeping an eye on banner adverts. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be vetted to see if you qualify – based on whatever demographics their clients want at that point – and if so, the fun begins!
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While product testing is offered, you’ll only get sent items if you qualify, and then it will only be a couple over the space of several months, so think of this as a bonus, rather than a regular part of your work. Some users get frustrated at the length of time they have to wait for vouchers to arrive after they order them – especially when somewhere like Opinion Outpost will pay out straight away. However it is unfortunately quite standard to have to wait weeks for payment from survey sites. Surveys range in duration from about 15 to 30 minutes and there are mini polls on the website which can help you tot up small amounts of extra points. Points do sometimes take days or even weeks to appear in Toluna accounts, which is worth noting.
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.
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.
And lastly, let's discuss privacy. In some ways, Pinecone Research gets it right – they use the information to verify you are not a duplicate or in any way defrauding them out of a valuable opinion. After that, they only use your personal information for developing metrics and usage statistics – not giving it out to every third party that comes along. More importantly, they take consumer information privacy seriously. When they compile their reports for their clients, they scrub all data of any identifying information.
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.