Hotspex is one of the most unique market research panels out there. The site I am about to review has been a favorite of mine for some time now.
From the way it refers to its panelists, to the way it conducts online surveys, and prizes it gives, Hotspex surveys has carved a special place for itself amongst all other online panels.
A Little About Hotspex
Before we dive into how the site works for its panelists, let’s get some background on the company as a whole and what it does.
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Since its inception in May 2000, the panel which is run by Hotspex research firm, has made rapid strides and this is best illustrated by the 78 people (or rather HotStaff) it employs.
Although the company has its headquarters in Toronto, Canada, it also maintains an official presence in cities like New York and London.
This is a firm that specializes in market research and has operations in more than 19 countries around the world. The brand is known to conjure up innovative surveys that are also highly consumer friendly.
Just to give you an idea on how innovative this company is, it ranks number one when it comes to spending the most amount of money to update its research methodologies and bring further revolutions in the same.
The firm is a member of some of the most important and globally recognized marketing research associations such as AMA (American Marketing Association).
Join InboxDollars, a fun site that pays you for what you already do online (watching videos, visiting sites, shopping, and taking surveys). Plus they give you $5 for free as soon as you sign up.
As for the companies standing with the Better Business Bureau, it gets a B- rating on a scale of A+ to F. There were a total of 6 complaints against the site in the last 3 years or so, but it is not clear if these are complaints from panel members or companies they conduct studies for.
Either way, it’s not a big deal, since even the biggest and best companies will encounter few complaints from unhappy customers here and there.
Getting Started as a Panelist
Hotspex has a unique name for all its members; ‘Innovators’. What impressed me though was that the site was open to everyone. This means that regardless of which country you stay in, you can join this panel. This is in stark contrast to many other popular survey websites.
You can sign up with Hotspex by clicking on the “Sign Up Now!” tab present on the main page. You’ll be asked to enter some demographic info and after doing that, remember to confirm the email ID you provided during the sign-up. You’ll receive an email from [email protected] to which you need to respond.
It might well be a few weeks before you start receiving survey invites. The site normally sends me 1-2 survey invitations per week but there have also been instances where I didn’t receive anything for almost weeks on end.
So, if you do not receive any invites for some time, don’t let that disappoint you as the site is indeed quite sporadic with its invites.
You are able to view your survey invites (mostly the ‘fun’ ones, whose explanation you can find below) on the main page. Your BUX balance too is displayed at the very top.
There are two ways in which you can take Hotspex surveys. You can either take them through email invites or you can pick them up from the “Survey List”, which can be found in the main page once you login.
However, these surveys listed on the site are not the same as the ones you receive via email. These are, as the site calls them, “fun” surveys that pay almost nothing (10 minutes of your time equals just about 1-5 BUX).
Because of their time hogging nature and almost negligible pay, I avoided taking these fun surveys. Instead, I’d advise that you are better off waiting for surveys through email invitations as they are much more valuable.
A typical survey invite will carry information on the survey’s title/topic, the number of BUX you get on completing the survey, the duration of the survey and if you’ll be provided with any incentive in case you do not qualify for the main survey.
There are also the “impact on new products” rating and the “fun” rating and frankly speaking, I can’t make out the difference between the two.
I found their surveys to be pretty simple and organized. I didn’t have any technical issues to speak of either. Before any survey, you are put through a minor questionnaire to gauge your suitability for that survey.
If you qualify for the same, you are directed towards another page where a confidentiality agreement awaits you. For signing it, you need to enter your name. After that you are taken to the survey’s main questions, which are quite self-explanatory.
The site also has a “Spin the Wheel” game that comes up right in the middle of your surveys, which gives you a chance of winning an iPod Touch or even more BUX.
Once the survey ends, you can leave feedback on your opinion of the survey. The rating screen look something like this:
The panel also conducts monthly sweepstakes where you are entered in after finishing a survey.
If you want to check the surveys you’ve taken till now, hit the “My Profile” tab located at the top of your homepage. This will cause a drop-down menu to open up and here you need to click on the “My Surveys” option. Each and every survey you’ve taken till now is arranged by the date you took it, the amount you earned in the process, and the topic of the survey.
Their mode of payment is through ‘BUX’, which by now you must have guessed is the site’s own version of redeemable points. You receive BUX points as compensation for answering surveys.
You can exchange your accumulated BUX through what is known as Prize XChange. With this, you get the option to exchange your BUX for various rewards.
And although majority of these prizes involve redeeming BUX for entries into sweepstakes, the other prizes are all expensive and top of the line stuff. Some examples of the same include cameras, camcorders, iPod Touches, and even video gaming systems.
Personally speaking, I’ve never bothered with these kinds of sweepstakes as I’ve never won anything with them. I doubt I’ll do so in future and as such, would prefer saving up my precious BUX for bank payments, which is also something that this XChange system offers.
Known as Bank XChange, here you can opt for a PayPal credit or gift cards from Amazon.com in return for your BUX. To be able to access Bank XChange, you should have completed at least 5 surveys; doing so gives you VIP member status as well.
This is a praiseworthy move by the site as it didn’t even have such a payment system a year or two ago. Bank XChange is also one of the reasons why I have started taking surveys with them. As for the waiting period, your payment normally reflects in about 1-2 weeks.
The site also has another feature known as the “HotPot”. You can chip in with a certain amount of your BUX to this pot in return for entries to a sort of sweepstakes, where you can win 10,000 or even more BUX. A lucky winner, selected at every month’s end, stands to take home one half of this money.
As for the other half, it’s given to any charity that the winner chooses. Again, I refrain from participating in this while preferring instead to hold on to my BUX for Bank XChange.
Also, you can only order payments worth $50 a month. Additionally, this has to be a combination of PayPal funds as well as Amazon Gift Cards.
So, in case you order $40 worth of payments via PayPal, you can order an Amazon Gift Card worth $10 in the same month. I haven’t seen this methodology used in other survey sites and hence, can’t see the reason behind it. However, this doesn’t bother me much as I don’t make more than $50 per month from this site anyway.
100 BUX are also waiting for you in case you successfully refer a person to the Hotspex. In order to do so, navigate to the “Refer a friend” page and write your friend a personal message with the simple tool provided.
Once your friend signs-up and completes his/her first survey, your account is credited with 100 BUX.
My Review of Hotspex
My experience of answering surveys for money on this site stretches over many years now. The site usually sends me around 2-3 invites every month although this is not often.
The site’s surveys, however, are quite interesting and I find them quite interactive, which makes the whole process very enjoyable.
Most surveys on the site can be completed in 5-15 minutes. Topics of the surveys are very diverse as well.
Not long ago, they offered only sweepstakes entries. Although I’m a member since 2008, I mostly ignored the site till the time it started to offer other compensation options like PayPal and Amazon gift cards around a year ago.
I do tend to cash out through either PayPal or Amazon gift cards around 3-4 times throughout the year even though the site doesn’t send too many survey invites per month.
The other thing that keeps me going is that their surveys are never dull unlike those from other survey sites. Nifty and attractive additions (due to prizes like iPod Touches) such as “Spin the Wheel” only further add to the freshness of the site. However, I must admit I haven’t won anything important till now.
I’m also of the opinion that their prizes are reasonable and fair, which is something I like seeing:
- You can earn 5 BUX for even trying to qualify for a survey regardless of the end result.
- Your BUX is credited almost instantly after completing a survey.
- You can play certain rewarding games like “Spin the Wheel” right in the midst of a survey and win bonus points for the same.
The site’s customer service is also pretty good. I got in touch with them concerning an issue with my Hotspex account and got a response in one day. The issue too was solved rather quickly.
If you have been reading SurveySatrap for a while, you probably know by now I like charities and anything that has to do with improving the planet and animals living on it. This panel is one of my favorites because for every survey you complete, it will plant a tree in Peruvian rainforest. I truly applaud their efforts and good will on this front.
In spite of this particular panel offering a lot of sweepstakes entries, it still offers you the options of PayPal credits or Amazon gift cards through the Bank XChange system. And although the frequency of survey invites is not very high, they do send out enough to help you cash out more than a few times through the year.
There is also the small matter of Hotspex surveys being thoroughly enjoyable. Yes, the site doesn’t pay you as much money as some other bigger survey panels but, as evident from my review, I recommend you join Hotspex since it is legit and quite good, if all you are looking for is a way to make some extra cash.
If you have to only sign up for one paid survey site to make money with, I recommend Ipsos-iSay. Ipsos is the most fun and well-paying panel. Give it a try to see how you like it. It is free anyway!