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.
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!

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 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).
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There are myriad ways in which individuals can make a little extra cash each week, but few compare to the speed, ease and consistency of paid online surveys. Making money online should always be a spare-time type of activity, and surveys might be the only ones which fulfill this requirement time and time again - no matter how long an individual chooses to participate in these programs - while the opportunities to have a little extra cash in your pocket should be savory.
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.
CashCrate is a great site pairing traditional surveys with a range of unique deals that can help you make money online. After signing up with a few details and filling in a brief survey for your profile, so CashCrate can identify some basic demographics, you’ll be awarded your first 25 cents and be on your way to greater riches! The best deals and offers are available for US users, and the minimum earnings to have a payout from CashCrate is $20 – which they pay you and their six million users as cash.
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.
If you run the numbers, Page says, online surveys simply aren’t worth the time. “If you’re spending 20 minutes to make $3 on a survey, do the math. That’s $9 an hour—maybe—if you qualify for the $3 survey every time,” she says. According to Page, “the survey side gig is just not sustainable. There are wiser ways to spend your time that will earn you more money in the long run.”
I have a very serious question I have been a member of InboxDollars for over 2 years they send me emails that say here’s a survey for you and they waste 10 minutes of my time going through it to tell me that I don’t qualify I wrote them and said I gave you all my demographic information please do not send me this and waste my time but they consistently do that.
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.
I have a very serious question I have been a member of InboxDollars for over 2 years they send me emails that say here’s a survey for you and they waste 10 minutes of my time going through it to tell me that I don’t qualify I wrote them and said I gave you all my demographic information please do not send me this and waste my time but they consistently do that.
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By only sending you questionnaires you are already qualified for, Pinecone wastes far less of your time than many sites which require you to fill our qualifying questions before starting each survey. However some users have said they don’t receive very many surveys, which could be a consequence of their careful filtering. Equally the site retains the right to remove you from their panel if you no longer fit their desired demographic, so make the most of your membership while you have it!
The site will even allow you to monetise your internet searches, if you swap from Google or Safari to their own search engine. The Swagbucks search engine, which is actually running Yahoo, will pay you Swagbucks every time you search. For games, there are options like Scrabble and Wheel of Fortune, which won’t pay you much, but could be worth a go if you fancied playing a game anyway! Swagbucks TV allows you to watch advertising videos on a range of topics, including news, fitness and entertainment. There’s a snag – your earnings are capped at 150 Swagbucks, but it is worth a look if you’re prone to wasting time watching viral clips.
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.
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.
Just like the other survey sites, every time you complete one of the surveys, you’ll receive anywhere from 35-250 points, which equals about $1.50 to $1.75 per a survey. Once you rack up enough cash to payout (which you’ll have to accumulate at least $50), you’ll have several different options to receive your money. You can get your money through a check, through your PayPal account, or redeem it for gift cards.
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.
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