How It Works: Swagbucks is a favorite of mine, as well as a favorite of many readers here. Not only do they offer a wide range of surveys that pay cash, but you can also earn points for the everyday things you do online like searching, shopping, and watching videos. In total, Swagbucks has paid out over $187 million in rewards. Even if you’re not interested in doing surveys, it’s still easy on the platform to earn decent money with what you’re already doing online today.
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.
To take surveys, you need to qualify. This means answering a battery of questions up front—before the paid portion of the survey. Page attempted a variety of side hustles to pay off her debt, and says that taking online surveys was the “least helpful” side hustle she tried, mostly because she simply couldn’t even get to the surveys themselves. “You can spend almost 10 minutes just trying to qualify for a survey, and then [get] declined,” she says. “It takes way too long to determine if you’re eligible to take the survey, just to make $5,” she says. Short of magically being the right demographic for every survey, you’re looking at getting turned away more often than not, and wasting time answering questions that don’t come with a pay off.
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.
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Rewards are paid out in cash and PayPal, but the catch of having short surveys is reflected in the pay, which can be miniscule per survey. As you need to earn $50 before you can withdraw anything, that’s a lot of low-paying surveys before you’ve made your money! Some people have complained online that once you get close to the withdrawal amount, the surveys dry up. One way around this is to refer a friend as you’ll receive a bonus when they sign up and you’ll hit your target to withdraw your funds. It’s a bit of a downside, but there are hundreds of very happy consumers who love the site, so it’s worth a shot, especially if you get fed up with the boring or repetitive nature of some of the quizzes elsewhere.
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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.
The only way to make this work would to be a serious survey junkie who can dedicate hours to the work, which defeats the purpose of a side hustle entirely. What’s worse is the idea that you can’t adequately plan your time—a survey might take twice as long as it says or five times as long. That kind of unpredictability means this isn’t a side hustle you can rely on.
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.
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.