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.
Like American Consumer Opinion, Harris Poll Online offers cash incentives to people who are willing to log in regularly and complete online surveys and questionnaires. Once you join, you’ll begin earning rewards for each survey you take. Once you earn enough reward “points”, you can turn them in for purchases made on websites like Amazon, iTunes, Home Depot and Walmart. Conversely, you can also turn in your points for movies, books, and home goods ordered straight from the Harris Poll website. Plus, you’ll be entered into a $10,000 sweepstakes each time you complete a survey.
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Don’t overshare. If you’re asked to give your Social Security number, bank account number or driver’s license number, leave the survey. Velasquez recommends being “intentional” with sharing other private information with survey sites. Answering questions about a TV commercial probably is fine, but giving medical information may not be worth the risk.
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.
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.
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.
Define the research question: This is critically important to the success of a survey research project. Without a clearly defined question, it is difficult to determine the best approach for conducting the survey. For example, based on the research question, are the needed data exploratory, descriptive, or causal? The answer to this basic question has huge implications for the entire research process, yet it is often not directly addressed.