What follows is a comprehensive iPoll review (until recently SurveyHead). I have been doing investigative work by signing up to this paid survey panel with the goal to find out if this site can be trusted.
The panel has gain popularity in very short amount of time. But if you need independent opinion about the site before you decide if you want to invest time and effort into joining them, read this in depth review of iPoll.com to get your answer.
Who is iPoll?
This is a new kid in the block, as far as survey panels go. Survey Head, now recognized by its new name iPoll, started operation in 2008 by the same couple of guys who founded GoZing.com, Matt Dusig, and Gregg Lavin.
Just for the record, GoZing is reported to have paid out over $5 million to international survey panelists for completing online surveys, over the span from 1999 to 2005, .
Greenfield Online, Inc. took over Gozing by paying $30 million in cash in 2005, along the way created one of the world’s largest double opt-in Internet only panels.
By the way, Greenfield Online which is an Internet survey solutions provider also own Toluna.com.
iPoll’s parent company, United Sample (same founders: Dusig and Lavin.), counts a number of international corporations and market research firms as their clients.
EarningStation is a new rewards program that pays you for doing things you already do online. You can cash out after every $10 you make.
It helps its clients to gleam the intelligence from online surveys, and to help derive competitive advantages for these customers.
The site has an accreditation from the Better Business Bureau since 4/24/2009. It scores a ranking of A-. That rating is a measurement of the company’s ability to resolve customers’ complaints, and it is also an indication on its willingness to resolve any consumer complaint.
The total number of complaints the company had over the last 3 years is 294, according to the BBB. The BBB website further illustrated that all cases have been resolved.
The rating can be influenced by certain factors, including the number of complaints registered with BBB, the number of successful resolutions and the level of openness with BBB on its business.
So far so good as far as legitimacy and trustworthiness goes!
How it Works?
There is no geography boundary imposed on membership. Anybody over the age of 17 can apply to become a panelist. I wish other sites like Opinion Outpost (have you read my recent review of Opinion Outpost?) and MySurvey would do the same.
Registration is not only free, but iPoll would even credit a $5.00 welcome bonus into your account upon successful registration.
There is really nothing out of ordinary here. The modus operandi is to get people to sign up, dispense market research surveys (product testing and focus groups included) to qualified participants and compensate them for opinions expressed.
Well, how does this panel measure up?…
Like its competitors in the industry, it also employs a multi-tier payment scheme, the amount of compensation often varies according to the time taken to complete a survey and the specific market that the research is focused on.
iPoll pays its members with cash for every survey completed, so there is no ambiguity on how much one makes. I personally prefer this cash option as the more ubiquitous points-based system is often confusing, and to make matters worse, every survey panel has a different formula to convert these points into cash.
Here, go find a suitable survey, give your best shot on that survey and get paid in the exact dollar amount agreed. I love panels that operate this way!
The best payment option is obviously to get the payments straight into your bank account. NO, this survey panel doesn’t have this policy (nobody in the industry does that anyway), but they do the next best thing, by crediting your payments into your PayPal account.
The minimum payout threshold is $10.00, so once you reach and exceed this amount, you can request payout through PayPal.
The $10 is decent and it is pretty much the number everyone uses in the market research industry. Do expect a lead time of around 4 weeks for the payment to finally get to your account.
Redemption can also comes in the form of gift cards, backed by reputable brands like Visa and Amazon. And you can exchange your earning for gift cards from a variety of online and offline stores with denominations ranging from $10 all the way up to $200 .
In addition, earnings can also be converted into airline miles, magazine subscriptions, etc…
The option I like best is the ability to donate your earnings to charities directly, like the Make A Wish Foundation.
Other Reviews of iPoll
Consistent with the practice at Survey Satrap, my review also took me to the web to see what other people have to say of this survey panels.
Interestingly, the opinions are as varied as one can find, and this exercise has been an invaluable one for me as I add the feedback to my own perspective.
Majority have no qualm about the fact that this panel pays above-average rate for completed surveys. But there are downsides as well which I summarize as follows (these are experience from former SurveyHead users).
- The recent decision to change the minimum payout from $25 to $35 would not win this site many fans. Comparatively, this is obviously higher than what it used to be, but this rate is still lower than what some other survey panels stipulate, some can go up as high as $50. (update: It seems after countless complaints from members, the site has decreased the cash out threshold to only $10. Hooray!)
- Some cited difficulty to get qualified adequately for surveys. First off, they target a pretty tight band, like participants of specific age group and gender. Next, they would dig further in the form of detailed questionnaires in their efforts to find out if you possess the right attributes for the survey. For example, they ask if you are a coffee drinker and if yes, where you buy your coffee from and at what frequency. There is no guideline here, as a yes or no answer has the equal chance for you to get disqualified from the survey.
- Some view the 4-week Payment processing time as a way for the panel to rip off people. Well, the long time involved is annoying but this is also consistent with the average lead time in the industry.
- There is no referral program in place; but the site has promises this is a feature under consideration.
- There is little money to be made, one claimed to have made no more than $15 from the time he first signed up 6 months ago.
- People are turned off by what they perceive as the lack of decency or professionalism. One oft quoted incident is that a message that reads “We’re Sorry, Unfortunately the survey you attempted has already reached the required number of participants” could suddenly pop up in the middle of the survey.
- Something I find it real cool (and I have many agree with me on this point) is the look and feel of their dashboard. Most survey panels would be content to make that declaration that a member could qualify for a particular survey. The panel goes the extra mile to predict your chance of participating in that survey. But I have also noticed a discrepancy, the surveys pop up on your dashboard do not necessarily match those coming in via invitation emails.
- Members are grateful for that $5 welcome bonus when signing up with iPoll.
- Most are agreeable that there is some easy money when they first get started with the website. Upon completion of the profile surveys (each pays around 10 to 25 cents), one can easily accumulate $3.20 in just under 15 minutes.
- Most hails the site decision to have PayPal as a reward option.
Money is the prime motivator, and it seems over on iPoll, very difficult for one to reach the minimum threshold. With low success rate of qualification, and everyone going after a limited number of surveys (as suggested by the full participation message above), this survey panel would never be my top pick.
However, when money is tight or you need some extra cash to tie over, this may be an option out of desperation. As I mentioned earlier, one really cannot expect to make a living off paid surveys, so the lack of money scenario is not unreasonable.
While becoming a member of iPoll cannot meet your earning target on its own, as its evident from this review, you could join multiple panels to pull together a decent income from all these sources.
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!