The only problem with rewarding consumers for taking online surveys is that it gives them the incentive to cheat. The more surveys you fill out, the more points you get. So people get creative: They randomly answer survey questions as quickly as possible, establish multiple e-mail addresses to answer the same survey five or six times, or lie about their demographic (a white male says he's a black female, for example) to participate in surveys for which they otherwise wouldn't qualify [source: Frost & Sullivan].
Rewards vary based on the survey type and the company conducting the survey. You may get paid online through PayPal or a Visa gift card, or get free products so that you can try them and provide feedback. To get the best out of online surveys, it is recommended you join several websites (10 to 20) so as to give you sufficient invitations daily at the best time frame. Regularly check your email and be honest while giving your opinion. Don’t give up if you don’t get selected for a survey after the first screening process, as it will take a while before you get selected based on your demographic.
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.”
Free to join, the site runs a range of special offers, including awarding prizes at random, giving you daily targets to hit for which you receive bonus points, and posting deals on their social media feeds. They have a great new app and a strong referral scheme. However, like everything, it’s not perfect – it can start to suck up a lot of your time. Swagbucks runs on the premise of incentivising day to day internet use to make both you and them money, so it is worth being aware of this so it doesn’t end up seeping into too much of your life!
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.
About that money: Survey companies typically don’t pay you for each and every survey—you have to meet a payout amount to earn your reward. Page says it took her months to reach the $30 payout on one survey site—time she could have easily spent on more lucrative side hustles. This presents a problem if you need money fast or if you decide to change course and try something else—you might end up answering tons of questions and never actually see that money.
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.
Swagbucks remains popular as they are a reliable site, offering novel ways to earn rewards, including playing games and watching videos. Completing polls and surveys for money takes around 10 minutes each and can make up the bulk of your time on the site. You won’t always qualify, and getting to a late stage in a survey application process and then finding out you’re not qualified can be pretty galling. The slickly designed website is straightforward and pleasing to use and also allows you to make money on your shopping by offering a range of affiliate links. By simply clicking on the Swagbucks link and shopping at sites including Amazon, Walmart and Nike, you will earn points, as those companies are paying Swagbucks to link to them, and you get a share of their fee.
Post-recession, a lot of workers started looking for ways to earn extra cash. While most side gigs won’t supplant the steady cashflow of a regular job, they can pad a paycheck that hasn’t seen a significant boost in a few years. Paid surveys are often mentioned as one way to earn a few extra dollars fast. But are paid surveys a legitimate way to make money – or are they scams? The answer is that it depends on the survey and the company you are taking them for.
InboxDollars. New users get a $5 bonus after confirming their email address with InboxDollars. But that didn’t make up for how little we earned per hour while taking surveys — 41 cents, the lowest rate among the 12 sites we tested. On occasion, instead of sending us surveys, the site directed us to promotions that required our address, phone number and birthdate. Read our InboxDollars review.
Avoiding scams online is pretty easy once you’ve become familiar with how false ads work and have developed realistic expectation about how much money you can make for the time you spend. On the surface, making money taking paid online surveys may seem like a long shot, but it certainly is possible and many people enjoy the benefits of taking part in them. So don’t be afraid! If you want to try it, read some of our reviews and sign up for the ones that look interesting to you!
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!
Survey Club has been offering online paid surveys since 2005, and in the fast paced every changing world of the web that’s a reassuringly long amount of time. They are a bit of an acquired taste, in that they specialise in long, detailed surveys for high end clients rather than the quick and cheerful consumer surveys that you may be more familiar with. Whilst this does mean that you may have to commit a bit more time, it does mean that if you have the patience to persevere with them they pay more money than most survey and reward sites. They also offer local taste tests (see what I said about ‘an acquired taste’?), and secret shopper opportunities.
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.