I did a lot of research over the weekend to find out what survey panels still pay in cash because, as you may know, many of them are now beginning to offer just gift cards to Amazon or other retailers in exchange for your time spent. I came up with a list of 20 ways you can take online surveys for money (although depending on the company they might also occasionally offer other rewards like Amazon gift cards as well).
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.
After joining a survey site, you provide some personal and demographic information, which legitimate survey sites will keep private. That information will be used in choosing participants to take surveys on certain goods and services. If you get selected to take part in a survey, you will be notified through mail to take a short survey to see if your profile suits that survey. When you are deemed qualified, you will be requested to take a longer survey.
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.
They used to be cash-only, but in 2013 they switched over to a points system. Panelists can share their opinions in surveys and complete other various offers in exchange for points. 100 points is equal to $1, and most of their surveys pay up to $3. Survey topics are diverse and cover a variety of different topics. Pinecone Research is unique in that they emphasize consumption related surveys more than other panels.
Mainly conducting polls for governments, public bodies and the business world, Opinion Outpost is a popular survey site as unlike some sites, which require you to accrue a significant amount before you can claim your money, it has one of the lowest payout thresholds. You only need to fill out five surveys, earning a couple of dollars, before being able to claim pay, so you can redeem your money more quickly.
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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!
There are also many questionable "middleman" third-party paid survey sites that hype easy money for participating in online marketing research from home. Here, the old adage is true: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Further, it’s worth knowing that there’s a lot of competition among these companies for your participation – which means potential for exaggeration, at the very least, if not outright scams.
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.