Get paid to take surveys! Being rewarded for your opinion sounds almost to good to be true. After all, why would anyone pay me to give them my 2 cents about their products and services!?
Questions like that are the reason why so many people still think this whole thing is nothing but an elaborate scam. But the reality is that market research is a big part of how companies and businesses improve their products and come up with new ones.
But for many people this process is still not very well understood. Which is why I have been getting email after email from SurveySatrap’s loyal readers feigning confusion about the entire process of getting paid for taking surveys.
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This prompted me to once again visit the roots of this process and explain the whole thing in a detailed manner; a process that helps me earn more than $300 – $400 each month!
In this write-up, I’ll attempt at presenting a realistic and unbiased outlook towards legit surveys that pay money.
But first, here is a list of trusted survey sites that I personally use to make some extra money in my spare time:
1. Survey Savvy
2. Survey Spot
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3. My Survey
5. Ipsos iSay
7. PineConeResearch: Since they don’t always accept new members, this link will take you to another post on SurveySatrap where I posts updates whenever they open the doors for new members.
10. VIP Voice
How Paid Surveys Work?
As I mentioned, market research is a big part of today’s product development. After all, who better to tell you what they want from your product than your customers, right!?…
But, getting those customers to give up their time to talk to you is not that easy, especially in 21st century when fast paced lives are a norm.
That, is how and why paid surveys come to be. Market research firms realized that in order to got people to give their opinion, they needed to reward them with something.
In the early days of market research, there were no rewards, in fact the whole thing was done in a totally different way. Little by little firms started offering compensation in order to lure people in to participate in their studies. The rewards were free products and samples. But as online surveys become the industry standard for getting faster results from a wider variety of consumers, rewards offered started to change as well.
Gradually panelists demanded better and more exciting rewards for their time. That coupled with the fact that sending physical goods to survey takers would actually cost these companies (in shipping and handling fees) more than the reward itself, led to the kind of rewards offered we see today, gift cards and cash through check and latter on through online payment systems like PayPal.
That is the Knots and bolts of this whole “cash for surveys” phenomenon.
How to get started?
Getting paid for answering surveys is a fairly simple process. First up, you need to register with a survey site and fill-in the member profile the site puts up.
Having done that, you can expect to hear from the site via email anytime a survey fitting your profile comes up.
How long each survey takes?
This survey invitation will typically include details about the length of the survey in question, the compensation you stand to earn in return for the time you spend (provided you do qualify), and a link directing you to the actual survey.
On average, you’ll be required to spend around 15-20 minutes on a survey.
How much can you make?
The amount of money you can expect for each qualified and completed survey is highly dependent on the actual panel, the length and subject of the survey itself.
But from my own experience, I would say normally you can expect anywhere from $0.50 to $5. But this number can go as high as $50 or even more, though the higher paying ones tend to be very very rare.
How do you get paid?
As for compensation methods, you’ll be usually paid in any of the below three ways:
- Points – These can be exchanged for prizes
- Sweepstakes – You’ll be rewarded with entries into sweepstakes held by the site
- Cash – You’ll be paid cash ranging from $1 to even $50 for every survey
Starting off, I’d like to state that there exist a number of legitimate paid survey sites that will pay you money in return for taking legit surveys.
However, a few bad apples have played spoilsport by creating a situation whereby people are asking the above question fearing survey scams.
One thing that disturbs me to a great extent is that people new to taking paid surveys are encountering a lot of negativity from others both on Q&A sites as well as forums.
There’s a good chance that such people were scammed by a fake survey site or they might just be plain pessimistic.
Whatever may the reason be, I for one don’t need you to assume that online paid surveys are the handiwork of those intending to take advantage of gullible and naive people.
Instead, these surveys are a completely legal technique related to market research whose growing effectiveness and importance is now acknowledged as our lives are getting more intertwined with the internet every passing day.
The sad part is some individuals have sought to use this to their advantage by floating survey sites that promised people the moon. Yes, earning through surveys is easy. However, taking surveys still involves work.
That’s why anyone wanting you to believe that a ton of money could be made by doing very little hard work is talking complete horse-shit!
Now the question is, does a middle way exist? It actually does and that is exactly what is advised at Survey Satrap; a sound mixture of optimism and caution.
Having Said all of that, it’s a given that you’ll encounter at least a couple of fraudulent survey websites on the web as there exist as many rogue ones as reputed ones.
You should absolutely avoid sites that:
- Ask you for a payment in return for membership confirmation.
- Guarantee a fixed income from the very beginning.
- Withhold information about the modes in which you’ll get rewarded in lieu of your participation.
- Insisting on extra personal information – For example, a site shouldn’t be asking you to divulge your Social Security Number, bank account details or even your credit card number.
- Fail to specify and put up publicly policies that govern privacy.
- Sell your member and personal information to other organizations/companies.
If you have been a victim of a survey scam, please be sure to report it. The more people report these scammers, the less people will be victimized.
If you think you’ve responded to an online scam, you can file a complaint with:
- The Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Department .
- The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
- Your state Attorney General.
Finding Real Legit Survey Companies
Searching on the web for “paid surveys” will net you a lot of results, but how many of those opportunities are reputable is a big question. The best way to wade through this confusion is by trusting the opinions of people who’ve been there and done that.
Here’s how and where to locate them:
- SurveyPolice – The site enables survey-takers to assign different survey sites ratings based on certain aspects including customer service quality, promptness in payment, website reliability (crashing issues during surveys), implementation of privacy standards, recruiting policies etc.This data is then used for ranking survey sites, which is followed by the displaying of the top 10 sites on SurveyPolice’s homepage.The site also has a provision whereby users can register complaints against different survey sites, while the site itself tries to address them.
- Volition – This website has a wide following and the database it provides of ‘the best’ paid online survey sites is based on a number of different criteria including pay.
- The Frugal Living Forum – This site allows you to learn about the recommendations of other readers of Frugal Living.
- Other Survey Review Sites – Of course, not all review sites are created equal. Many of them recommend any so called survey site that gives them a commission for sending them new leads, even if its a known scam.That said, there are many honest review sites out there that will tell you the truth. Yes, most of those also get commission for getting new members to sign up for some of these sites (just like I do here), but they value their integrity more than they value the money. So, they do actually warn you about scams and only suggest legit sites they have been using themselves.In that light, who cares if they make a few bucks when you use their link to sign up. It’s not like you lose anything. Everyone wins; you find legit panels to earn money with, survey sites get new members, and the webmaster makes a little money while feeling good knowing he or she has helped find find and register with survey sites that actually pay while avoiding scams.
- My Favorite Survey Sites – These are sites that I recommend as well as use. You can find them by simply browsing Survey Satrap and reading my reviews.
It is also a good idea to look for each site’s profile on the BBB (Although I wouldn’t read too much into that since their rating system works is not a good way to measure the legitimacy of a site).
Maximizing Your Earnings
While there are no secrets (as some sites who are trying to make money off of you by selling you guides and eBooks would want you to believe), there are somethings you can do to increase your odds of making more money as a panelist.
- Join many reputed panels
Panels existing for many years (or centuries, as is the case with some in their offline avatars) usually pay considerably higher for each survey compared to ones that are relatively new to the scene. This is expected since the older and reputed panels enjoy strong relationships with big-spending corporations.Two high-paying panels that immediately come to mind that I have also written an extensive review about are Survey Savvy (review here) and I-Say by Ipsos (review here). However, they are certainly not the only ones around of that ilk.
- Respond Quickly
Make sure to respond to every survey invite that comes your way. Available slots for surveys usually fill up fast.
- Keep an Updated Profile
Ensure your profile is updated with the latest information. This information is used to decide your suitability for different surveys.
- Adopt an Open and Honest Attitude
Survey panels are pretty seasoned at recognizing when people rush through their surveys to earn money. If you desire to be eligible for paid legit surveys like product testing, you ought to have a lot of patience.This is because such surveys are very thorough in their execution and hence take time. This is most apparent in cases where you are required to write something down, which a market research company might single out and appreciate you for.
- Stay Organized
Keep a spread sheet of all the panels you are a member of and surveys you take with them. Documenting everything will allow you to look back and see how much money you made with each panel and whether its worth staying with it or joining a new better and higher paying site.
Be sure to read my list of 70 paid survey tips. It’s a comprehensive guide full of tips and tricks I have picked up over the years.
I sincerely hope this post was able to shed light on the reality of online surveys and how you can earn some extra money while voicing your opinion.
I’d like to end here by saying please stay away from any site or anyone who promises you a fixed income. There are lots of such sites and people who are more than willing to take your money through bogus claims and lies.
No one will be able to get rich as a survey taker, not me, not you and not anyone else, no matter how many survey panels you join, how many surveys you take, and how much time and effort you put into it. That is a fact!
That said, it is also a fact that you can make a little extra money by participating in web-based market research studies. Hundreds and thousands of people from all over the place do in fact get paid to take surveys and so can you.
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