I have always been a big fan of Focus Forward Online ever since I became a member some years back. The name does appear sort of regularly in my personal blog but I never did find time to commission a proper review on it, until now…
Focus Forward Company
The company behind this paid survey panel is Focus Forward LLC, a market research company based in New York popularly known for its active recruitment of quantitative research across states.
The company also operates the very well-known Focus Forward Transcription which offers medical, technical and many other types of transcription services.
The parent company has some over 500,000 respondents, taking part in surveys that range from focus group to online studies, product placements to interviews, in exchange for cash.
This market research firm is a memebr of some of the most respected market research organizations such as PMRG (Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Group), MRA (Marketing Research Association), CASRO and more.
The company does not participate in Better Business Bureau’s accreditation program (learn more about it here), so its not a n accredited business, which is why it is rated F on a scale of A+ to F.
Focus Forward Online Review
The survey panel specifically targets four categories of respondents; they are consumers, business professionals, physicians, and other healthcare workers. The basic criteria are that one must live in the United States and of at least 18 years of age.
Registration is straightforward. However, you will be taken through a list of personal questions you need to answer in order to join the site. These question include anything from your health to electronics you use, the kind of car you use and so on.
Needless to say, they don’t ask these questions to be nosy, answering these profile surveys will help the site match you with surveys that you are likely to qualify for. So, I would take my time and fill out the form as completely as possible.
You will receive a confirmation e-mail if the application is successful.
After one becomes a full-fledged member, the site will start to send out invitation e-mails to various online surveys and focus groups they conduct.
On average, there is one to two invitation e-mails sent out regularly. Typically, the surveys are fairly interesting and should take no more than 20 minutes to complete.
In my time there, I have also noticed that some invitations actually linked me up to some special survey community.
- Focus Groups
In general, its operation is not much difference from those of other paid survey sites, but what makes this interesting is the focus group and online bulletin board opportunities.
There are plenty of opportunities for focus groups, usually online focus groups, and occasionally for interviews.
Regrettably, I never really got a chance for full involvement, except for once I came pretty close — I easily passed the qualification criteria, but had to let the opportunity pass as I was busy with my holidays planning.
For me, I didn’t have much chance to fill out surveys here. I got luckier with the product testing opportunities offered by them.
Much of these were achieved through following their twitter feeds – where they regularly post product testing and focus group opportunities.
- Product Testing
I once agreed to a product testing opportunity that lasted some eight weeks. Upon filling up the online questionnaire, I was promised $50 and the test product (worth more than $100) is mine to keep at the end of the test.
After completion of the original test, the panel wanted me to carry on, which I agreed. Soon the next product (of about $140) came for testing and I was required to compare this second product with the first one I completed.
Another eight weeks gone, and I duly completed the questionnaire they sent.
For my effort, I got another $50. It did not take much of my time, and the best part is I got two products (combined value of $240) to keep and I was paid $100 in cash, all for agreeing to this simple exercise.
Account Deactivation Issue
It is also helpful that one can stay active during the membership period. The basic guideline is that one has to participate in at least one survey every three months, or he or she stands to lose the membership.
FF would then disable the personal account, and all the hard earned money would be gone.
They may consider reactivation of the account if you write in to appeal, but the earnings forfeited earlier would not be restored.
I never understood why some sites do this. I mean, if I took a survey and earned cash or points, I have earned it, its not fair to get that away from me because I haven’t been active for a while. I guess that’s why it pays to always check each site’s terms and conditions.
Rewards and Payment
Focus Forward seems genuine in wanting to pay good money for focus groups participation. There are plenty of opportunities (both online and telephone focus group) here and the rewards are generous.
Members are able to take surveys without leaving their homes and able to do so at desired time. The reward for your effort is usually $1-$5.
Other opportunities presented here are product testing, telephone interviews or focus groups.
Such exercises would demand more commitment on your time and effort: getting to a facility or office for that necessary focus group, spending time on the phone with an interviewer, or conducting diligent test on a new product at your home.
But the effort is well justified, with FF paying out $75-$250 for individual exercise.
You will have to have at least $20 in your account before you can consider cash out. Since the normal surveys pay only $1-$5, and they don’t come frequently enough, it can be easy to get frustrated.
Anyway, I am not a big fan of such surveys. Moreover, I have been fortunate enough to get invited to various online focus groups, and getting paid $200 in those I qualified and completed the exercise. So, this survey panel would stay on my radar in the meantime.
There was once I was invited to take part in a $500 focus group, too bad I was so busy with my holiday stuff that I just couldn’t find the time to participate. But with such kind of opportunities on the horizon, I am in no hurry to quit this place.
Overall, my verdict is that Focus Forward is a decent site. Members are accorded with opportunities to participate in online surveys and focus groups.
If you want to make some extra pocket money, Focus Forward Online is certainly one place worth checking out as this review and those of others attest to that.