When it comes to paid survey panels, NPD Online Research Group (now known as VIP Voice) is a known name. My review of the site below focuses on the different features of the site and tells you whether there is any truth to the scam stories surrounding it.
As is my habit, I’ll also be digging deeper into the site to see if those positive voices are indeed true.
About the Group
Update: Recently the company has changed the panel name from NPDOR to VIP Voice.
With a little over 2.5 million panelists, NPD, also known as NPDOR, is one of the most popular online survey panels (I really don’t understand why considering their not so popular reward system!).
The panel is operated by The NPD Group, one of the biggest global provider of integral market research data to Fortune 500 companies, founded in 1967 (well before the advent of the internet).
They company conducts marketing research studies for over 1,700 manufacturers and retailers across the globe, helping them to make decisions based on the feedback and data gathered from these studies.
The firm also boasts of some exclusive associations with a number of top organizations that are ready to open their wallets for the opinions and time of the site’s almost 2.5 million members. The site also enjoys unanimous goodwill of some of the best forums and individual bloggers around.
According to Wikipedia, The NPD Group consistently ranks among the top 25 market research companies in the Honomichl Top 50 Report which is published annually by The American Marketing Association (AMA).
Of course, as is my process with all panels I review, I checked with the Better Business Bureau to see how NPD stands with them. I am happy to report that the company (not the actual online panel alone) has been a BBB accredited business since 3/1/1972. That is a long long time and that in and of itself speaks volumes about the legitimacy of the company. Making things even better is the fact that they have an A+ rating from the BBB.
As far as complaints, the BBB shows only 2 complaints, one of which is “Advertising/Sales” issues, which leaves us with one “Product/Service” issue, but happily both of them were resolved. Another sign of the company caring about its image.
NPD Online Research Review: How Does it Work?
This panel is basically similar to all the other popular survey sites out there like SurveySavvy, MyView etc. You can become a part of the website by simply signing-up with your email ID and answering some simple questions about yourself. You can start taking paid surveys once your account is confirmed through the email verification process.
The points system is used by the site for payouts. This means that you first need to accumulate points and then exchange them on their exclusively made for rewarding members website, Sweepland.com, for a whole range of stuff including gift cards, laptops or even a direct deposit to a bank account.
Every point you earn is basically an entry to an open sweepstakes of your choice. That said, the site does offer cash payments for some surveys, but those are far and few in between.
Their exclusive Survey Points Booster program is designed in a way that the more surveys you take the more pints you earn. The first and second surveys net you 25 points each, the third and forth will earn you 50 points each, the fifth and anything thereafter will net you 100 points for each completed survey.
What the Heck is Sweepsland?
Sweepland.com is NPD’s exclusive sweepstakes website where members can use points they have earned as members of the panel to get entries to various sweepstakes. There are many different sweepstakes available.
There is a daily sweepstakes where the lucky winners gets $100 in cash. There are also monthly ones with variety of prizes including $5,000, $500, gift cards for many top brands, electronics, vacations, and more.
My Personal Experience With this Panel
NPD, like quite a few popular survey sites out there, doesn’t seek payments from people interested in signing-up with it. Trust me when I say that this is a very important factor when judging the genuineness of a site.
I have encountered more than just a few sites that claimed free membership but after the initial round of filling forms, asked members to choose between different categories of memberships like platinum or premium (entailing some amount of payment of course). I’d personally deem such sites as 100% scam and fraudulent.
On the other hand, the profile questioner didn’t ask me any questions that concerned my credit card details or for that matter, even my spending preferences. The latter was a surprise as most survey panels ask about your spending and income details.
The reason for this is that most surveys by this panel are for large companies that are more interested in marketing their product to the public at large. However, if you want to be considered for targeted surveys, you can still choose to fill-in some additional details. The important thing here is that such information is not necessary for taking NPD’s surveys.
For example, I found out that I could qualify for a survey specializing in product testing shortly after I created my account. For the uninitiated, being allowed to be part of product testing surveys so soon after joining the site is almost unheard of.
Most similar sites require you to be active for at least a few months before such an opportunity comes up as companies need an assurance about your reliability before dispatching costly stuff to test. And to be honest, that doesn’t sound unfair to me either.
As for my experience, I got an invite to be part of a survey that was testing a new line of chowing gums. I moved up to an online focus group after lugging around the gums for a few days.
Most of the questions about the gum centered on ease of opening the package and of course, its taste. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed being part of this group with the end result being I earned a cool $100!
Apart from that, most of the site’s other surveys are the classic “pick and click” types where you need to respond to a statement by rating it on a scale of 1-5.
Other Reviews of the Site
I also checked online forums, blogs and consumer based review sites to get a feeling of what other people think about NPD.
What I heard over and over again from the actual members of the site was about their bad reward system. As if not giving people cash for taking surveys wasn’t enough, they don’t even let you exchange your points for prizes, instead you get entries to their sweepstakes which seems no one ever wins any of them!
- Since they cover lots of big industries such as Automotive, Information Technology, Music, Software, Toys and Video Games, you can expect lots of fun and exciting surveys.
- Their surveys are usually easy and quick to do.
- You have the chance to earn points without taking surveys by playing the SweepLand Instant Win Game (available for members in the U.S. only).
- Once in a while (very rare) you may get lucky and get invited to an online focus group which usually pay top dollars (cash not stupid points and entries to their sweepstakes!).
- The most disappointing aspects of being a panelist at NPD is the fact that you don’t get paid in cash for your participation. Instead of paying members the standard $1.00 – $5.00 per survey, as most reputable sites do, they give you a number of Sweepland points for every survey you take.
- Another complain I hear is that their survey invitations emails usually don’t tell you ow many points you can expect for your participation.
- Most panel members’ reviews of NPD that I have read state that the majority have never won anything despite earning lots of entries to their sweepstakes.
- They only send out 1-2 survey invitations a week. So, if you like taking lots of surveys, this panel sucks. On the other hand, if you don’t like getting your inbox cluttered, this is good!
- Currently they only accept panelists form the U.S. and Canada.
So, Can You Trust NPD?
My unanimous answer would be yes. I also borrow from others’ experiences when I say so. But, legitimacy of a site alone doesn’t mean it’s a good site for earning extra money (if that’s your aim from taking surveys).
So, while the company is legit and well-known in the marketing research industry, as you can see from my review, the money making potential for the survey takers is very slim, which is why I do not recommend NPD. Your time would be better spent on other paid survey sites.