Ultimately, it is very unlikely that participating in online surveys will provide you with a steady, livable wage. However, if you enjoy participating in online surveys (especially if you like the prizes, coupons, and other more typical non-monetary earnings), be sure to avoid questionable third-party sites. Look for real paid surveys online that don’t require you to invest money.
And lastly, let's discuss privacy.  In some ways, Pinecone Research gets it right – they use the information to verify you are not a duplicate or in any way defrauding them out of a valuable opinion.  After that, they only use your personal information for developing metrics and usage statistics – not giving it out to every third party that comes along.  More importantly, they take consumer information privacy seriously.  When they compile their reports for their clients, they scrub all data of any identifying information.
Some pay with points that are redeemable for cash or goods and typically you must rack up a bunch to redeem them for anything of significance. Others may give you a gift card, discount, or another token of appreciation for participating. Many others pay nothing or only offer sweepstakes entries for completing screening surveys to determine your eligibility for other, paid surveys. A few don't pay much of anything, unless you recruit others, as in a pyramid scheme.
“I participated in an in-home product trial study. A coffee machine company sent me one of the coffee makers along with about 200 coffee pods. I received $7 for completing 3 short surveys. Plus, after the study, the company said I could keep the coffee maker. So, I got like 4 mos of coffee for everyone in my household, a free coffee maker and $7!” - David W.
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