Amanda Page had serious student debt—$48,000, to be exact. She was working as an adjunct professor at a couple of different colleges, trying to piece together a full time teaching career, and she wasn’t making enough to tackle what she owed. So she started supplementing her income with side hustles like freelance writing, working as a temporary receptionist, and grading math exams online. As she dove into debt and frugality blogs, she came across a new gig: taking paid surveys online.

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.
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.
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.
As well as using your laptop, you can fill in MySurvey forms on the move by using their app available for both Apple and Android phones. This is perfect because surveys should really be about filling time, rather than dedicating particular time to them, so being able to pass time in queues or while commuting and simultaneously make money is very appealing.
Congratulations go to Panel Place, which gets 2nd place on the Survey Cool list of the best paid survey sites for 2018, but just what makes it so good? Above all else is the fact that it has a very large number of surveys to choose from, so there really is something for everyone. It does this because it includes surveys available from a variety of other top survey providers, including Toluna and Valued Opinions. It’s available to users across the world as well, and payment can be made by way of a gift card or sent securely to a PayPal account. It’s a deserving number one.
Although it might seemed biased to put forth this assertion, the proof is truly in the pudding. Whereas virtually every other way you can earn money online will require some level of skill, more time or the like, paid online surveys consistently offer consumers an opportunity for completely autonomous and consistent participation. This means that there are no contracts, fillers or complexities to navigate, just simple, unadulterated activities that put extra cash in your pockets. 
By filling out your user profile thoroughly, you’ll be able to make sure you get invites to surveys which are actually suitable for you. There are basic qualification questions at the start of each questionnaire too, to ensure you are suited to filling it out before you get going. And you can make the most of the huge Toluna community yourself too – if you want, you can create your own polls on the site to ask people about anything and everything! It’s a nice addition to be able to get involved and have in-depth conversations with fellow users.
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).
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.

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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.
Surveys can be super quick and take just a few minutes to fill out, or require around 15 minutes of your time. Five minute surveys pay $0.50 and surveys range from $0.40 up to the higher – and rarer – ones at $10.Paying out by the usual methods, Crowdology does PayPal and also vouchers. Most importantly, the minimum reward threshold is low so when you’ve earned $8, you can cash it out, unlike other sites which make you wait until you have earned much more money. The site offers prize draws from time to time for things like cinema tickets and surveys can be expected weekly.
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.
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.
Wow, This is the first article I’ve ever read that 1. didn’t offer up filling out surveys as a serious way to earn extra cash, and 2. said everything I’ve ever thought about surveys as a side hustle. I don’t know why people keep suggesting this, when as you point out, there are much better side hustles to score serious cash more efficiently. WELL DONE! ;)
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.
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