Paying people for their opinions, aka paid surveys, is not a new phenomenon. For many years now, companies specializing in market research have resorted to paying consumers for participating in their surveys or focus groups.
However, the advent of the web has given these companies a more efficient medium for collecting and collating data. This has led to the rise of a number of companies conducting legitimate and paid online surveys.
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Below you’ll find a list of trusted and well-known market research survey sites that will actually pay you for your opinions on different products, services, advertising etc.
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One of the largest survey sites in the world, Isay has some of the highest paying surveys. Once you have accumulated $15 in your account, you can ask to be paid. You have 3 options: PayPal, Gift Cards, and Cash.
You get paid to test and evaluate new products, ads and services. Their longer surveys pay cash while the short ones (also known as Screeners) will give you entry to their monthly drawings. Their average surveys pays between $2-$50 and once you have $5, you can cash out via PayPal or by Check.
This market research company gives points for taking surveys instead of cash. But these points can be converted to cash once you rich the minim of 1000 points which translate into $50.
A subsidiary of Western Wats, Opinion Outpost is a Salt Lake City based firm that is one of the biggest ones in the world. You can request payment once you have $5.
One of the highly trusted panels, MySurvey has lots of interesting survey opportunities from movie trailers to product testing and more. Once you reach 1000 points which equals to $10, you are paid with a PayPal payment.
This is a panel launched by the famous market research firm, Survey Sampling International. Once you have $10 you can redeem for PayPal payment or Gift Cards from variety of online and offline stores such as Amazon and Macy’s.
What are Paid Surveys?
A paid survey program is one that carries an incentive for the participant. Once a participant completes one, or more than one, survey, he/she is usually rewarded for his/her time and effort with an incentive program. Typically, these incentive programs are in the forms of small cash rewards or entries into sweepstakes.
Paid surveys were designed with the aim of collecting quantitative data about a participant’s personal as well as economic habits, which are set against his/her specific demographic. Surveys that offer incentives are generally seen to be more effective at bringing in a wider range of participants compared to ones that do not offer any.
YouGov in the United Kingdom says –
Respondents receive a small incentive for completing YouGov surveys. The purpose is to ensure that samples are as representative as possible, and that responses are not tilted towards those passionately interested in the subject of the particular survey.
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Reaching out to a wide variety of respondents from a particular demographic is something that most companies find tough to do. However, this process is made vastly easier by the inclusion of cash incentives, which helps fill up quotas quicker. This also helps a market research company get their clients the kind of information they need.
Over the past few years, almost all American market research firms have chosen to set up their own online survey panels. These panels help them recruit participants and collect information. Time is a big factor here as through the internet, thousands of people can be contacted immediately. This contrasts starkly with the many months taken to do the same thing via mail or telecommunication in earlier times.
Online research, thus, helps a market research company gain access to a demographic; something that would have been out of bounds with other methods. All major brands around the world pay such market research companies millions of dollars for access to public opinions, product reviews etc. that are gathered through these online surveys. All surveys you answer play a major role in how services and products are developed by top companies.
Are Online Paid Surveys legit or scam?
There are many legitimate sites out there that indeed pay you good money to voice your opinions. A legit site is also backed up by a known name in the field of market research. Most of these sites have associations with national and international market research organizations such as CASRO.
However, there is no denying that there are many sites out there discrediting the entire business of paid surveys through their own wrong practices. These sites promise members an insane amount of money for answering surveys from home. If you encounter any such claim, be 100% certain that it’s a scam.
For instance, there exist certain middleman websites like SurveyScout that charge members a “fee” for access to a list of market research companies that offer paid online surveys. As things stand, one can get the same list on the web by simply searching for it. That is also the exact method I used to find so many paid survey panels online.
Chances of such sites including the most popular (and hence, easily findable) survey panels in their list is also pretty high. Even then, some go great lengths to prove how they are different and genuine from others of similar ilk. However, as can be seen on countless forums, most of these sites offer almost the same kinds of lists.
What is even worse is that some of these sites tend to direct you to other membership sites, which require you to dole out even more fees to buy the same list repeatedly. They even list sites that are supposedly their competitors since they earn money via referrals when you purchase a membership.
The scam forums also have news about a couple of such sites trying to sell you the same list under a different name and site. This is exactly why these sites resort to exaggeration when talking about the kind of money one can make through online surveys.
As such, if there’s anyone making a living out of earnings from paid online surveys, it’s highly likely that they are owners of a middleman site rather than participating end-users.
A legit Work from Home job or a side dish?
Although there are a few survey websites that do pay well, the payment claims of most middleman sites can be dismissed as hypothetical and hyped up.
The scenarios such sites talk about cannot be held applicable to every participant, which means there is no uniformity to the amount of money being earned by them. That’s why it’s quite unlikely that you will ever make more than these already hyped up amounts by completing surveys alone.
Then there is the fact that a majority of paid online surveys offer inadequate compensations. Additionally, you also need to be invited to a survey to participate in it. For the invite, it’s necessary that you fit into the demographic being targeted. As you can sense from this, your ability to earn money is hampered in a big way by these factors alone.
Consequently, aiming to making a living out of filling surveys is simply impractical; regardless of what those middleman sites tell you. However, you do stand to earn a decent amount of extra money, or discounted or free goods and services by completing surveys.
What about the Privacy issue?
Well reviewed surveys sites make it a point to not share any of your personally sensitive information with others; at least not with your explicit consent. This is a standard that is useful in separating the good from the bad in this industry. Most membership websites do not make such a promise or do so in a way that is bereft of conviction and confidence.
Membership sites, in this way, use the opportunity to open the doors to you for their “marketing partners”, who in turn try soliciting you further. Information that can be used to personally identify you is worth a sizable fortune in today’s times. This became apparent since 2002, when legislation to curb the menace of telemarketing calls was first mooted by the U.S. FTC (Federal Trade Commission).
It’s entirely up to you to decide if a few more bucks, token rewards and some chancy sweepstake entries are worth the intrusions your privacy is likely to suffer because of private information sharing by such dubious sites.
Because of the above reasons, it becomes clear why legitimate survey panels disclaim any relationship with these membership sites.
A genuine online market research site pays you instead of it being the other way around. That’s the most important thing you should remember when searching for legitimate paid survey panels.
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