The key to succeeding with paid online surveys rests on two very important things; first is your ability to recognize the scam where it exists, and second is working towards maximizing the pay you get per hour.
The first of those two things, differentiating between online surveys for money legit and scams, is relatively easy to accomplish using a little bit of common sense and of course, the internet. For example, you are likely to come across an unknown site as you search the web for free online surveys for money.
So how do you verify if this unknown site is for real?
- Before you find yourself giving away your personal information and demographics to such a site, make sure to learn more about it from sites like Nielsen and About.com. The information provided by such sources is not the most detailed one around but generally speaking, it does contain some pretty useful insights and advice.
- The other thing you can do is see if this site is registered to the BBB. This can help you find out if the site enjoys the goodwill of its members or is one that scams people left, right and center.
- There are also a number of international organizations that you can rely on to get a better idea about any survey panel’s legitimacy and reliability. Some names that immediately come to the mind include ESOMAR (European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research), Council of American Survey Research Organizations and Marketing Research and Intelligence Association. Getting an official recommendation from any of the organizations listed above is no mean feat and requires a site to possess an excellent reputation over a long period of time. Needless to say, if the site you’ve come across does boast of such a stamp of approval, you can deem it completely trustworthy.
- Get a new dedicated email address just for surveys. Doing so will allow you to keep your personal email from clutter, while enabling you to stay organized with every panel you register with.
- Also make sure to be part of as many reliable survey panels as you can. Remember that making good money off a single site is possible but relying on the same to be a long-term cash cow is unrealistic and naive. You have to look at it just like any other money making adventure, you want to diversify where your money comes from. By joining multiple survey panels not only you increase your odds of making more money as a survey taker, you also increase your odds of having access to more and potentially higher paying online surveys.
- It’s also a fact that most survey panels look to target certain demographics. This means that at the most, you’ll qualify for roughly 4 or 5 surveys every week for any given site. Now you can join more panels if you want to earn more and are genuinely interested in surveys. I fall in that category as I am part of almost 30 online survey panels. The only downside of this is that all the panel information gets scattered. I deal with this by documenting all my data in a spreadsheet and have assigned a single email ID for all correspondence tasks with survey panels.
- You also need to be super quick in case you want to be part of high-paying surveys. The many years spent in taking surveys have taught me that invitations for well-paying surveys don’t last too long. You also have to consider that a lot of people make a beeline to get into such surveys. This is why I recommend that you link your main survey panel email ID with your smartphone. This will help you learn of opportunities as soon as they come with the best part being certain panels even allowing you to answer surveys through the phone.
- Lastly, another thing you can do is follow your favorite survey panels on social media sites like Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. A lot of survey panels send out contest information, exclusive surveys and news through these mediums to their followers.
A few other helpful resources to check out:
1. Avoiding Survey Scams by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson
2. What Is Market Research by OAMP
3. Online Surveys by Usability.gov
4. Guidelines for Participating in Online Surveys by CASRO