Chances are you’ve stumbled across a site or two singing the praises of paid surveys and wondered whether it was really possible to make money online by giving your opinion. Most of us love to give our opinion, and when you can add getting paid for it, well SIGN ME UP, right?
The fact of the matter is that the internet is full of misleading “paid survey reviews,” and in order to have any success with online surveys you must first know what paid surveys are and what they are not. Here are the most frequently asked questions about paid online surveys.
- What are paid surveys?
- Are there any truly free paid surveys?
- Can I make a lot of money taking paid online surveys?
- How do I know which companies are legitimate?
- Are paid surveys a scam?
- Can I do paid surveys from home?
- What are focus groups and sponsored offers?
- Are there any tips for taking paid surveys?
- IMPORTANT: Do you have any proof that paid surveys work? (Yes, see below).
What Are Paid Surveys?
Paid surveys are simply a method for an advertiser, marketer, or product owner to pay an individual to rate a product or service for certain predetermined criteria. Typically paid surveys are handled by third parties (Nike, for instance, wouldn’t necessarily do market research in-house rather they would use a third party) who process the information and present it to the product owner or sell it to companies seeking opinions and feedback of certain demographics. Opinions, you will begin to see, are extremely valuable.
Product owners want to know BEFORE they develop that new line of energy drinks whether or not the target market will respond positively to it. Before spending $10 million in product development, it makes sense to spend several thousand dollars to “test” the market.
A paid survey is simply one method in which advertisers and product owners can do this. They desperately need your input, and they also realize that in order to give that opinion, you’ll want to be compensated in some way.
Are There Any Truly Free Paid Surveys?
For starters, you should know that authentic market research companies will never charge you to take a survey. It’s completely the opposite of what paid surveys are intended to be. You don’t pay for the “right” to do them. They pay YOU. The very notion that you must first pay to take surveys is ludicrous, and if you take away nothing else today, know that you do not need to pay to take surveys. The only time you should pay a fee is:
1) If you buy a premium paid survey product like Survey Scout (which we don’t necessarily recommend) where the site owners have organized 200-300 survey sites in one place. This way you don’t have to go out there and search the net for good, reputable paid survey panels.
Survey Scout does the work for you, and they also provide a support staff who’s job is to answer questions and assist in your paid survey efforts. They also provide information on other “Get Paid To” programs that make their product even more enticing.
2) If you are doing a sponsored offer. In this instance a company is paying you a fee to try a product that costs you to purchase. If a trial of Product ABC costs you $3.95 for the shipping and processing, you might receive $10 to try it out. We’ll cover sponsored offers in more depth below, but for now, we simply wanted to familiarize you with the term.
Even though Survey Scout offers a 60-day money back guarantee, if you decide paying someone to organize several hundred paid survey sites in one place is not for you, we provide a list of some of the top paid survey companies below for free.
Remember: In order to actually make money or earn rewards, you must first join the best survey panels. You should never pay to take surveys, although if you want to pay a company like Survey Scout just remember that they are providing a service to help you locate hundreds and hundreds of research companies. It’s important to make the distinction that a site like Survey Scout is not going to pay you to take surveys, rather they are simply in the business to help you organize your paid survey efforts in one location.
For those of you who don’t want to pay for a premium service, we did a little digging for you, and the companies below have consistently provided the most survey opportunities to their members, and better yet – they are ALL free to join and will never cost you a penny!
If your interested in earning cash and great rewards for surveys, take a few minutes to register with as many as possible – the more the better. Think of it like giving out your resume. The more companies who have it, the better chance you have of locating the best job. It works the same with surveys. It is not uncommon for dedicated survey takers to earn anywhere from $50-$1000+ per month in cash, prizes, gift cards, and merchandise. So if you’re 18 or older and live in the U.S. you’ll definitely want to join the companies below.
We’ve arranged them in order of recommendation. So the Number 1 company is our favorite and so on.
- Global Test Market
- Survey Spot
- NPD (Female) | NPD (Male)
- Vindale Research
- Inbox Dollars
- Survey Savvy
Can I Make A Lot Of Money With Paid Surveys?
In our research, we stumbled across a handful of people who said they made $2000+ per month taking surveys, doing sponsored offers, and participating in focus groups. The vast majority of people will not make anywhere near that, but the opportunity is there to earn the equivalent of $50-$1000+ per month in cash, gift cards, rewards, etc. By joining dozens and dozens of survey panels, your have a much better chance of locating (and getting invited) to the high paying cash surveys.
How Do I Know Who Is Legitimate?
Lots of research. The internet is FULL of bogus claims and “copied” information (where one site is basically word for word what you might read about paid surveys on another). The companies we list above and below are all reputable companies offering free memberships to survey panelists.
Are Paid Surveys A Scam?
Absolutely not. The scam is when they are misrepresented. People all over the world get paid daily for giving their opinions. Companies NEED them, and they realize you’ll want to be compensated for it. Surveys and Focus Groups are nothing new. Just remember to have realistic expectations.
Can I Do Paid Surveys From Home?
Generally, yes. It is a known fact that focus groups – where you go to a business to discuss something in person with a larger group – will pay more, but thanks to developments in the internet and technology, increasingly many companies are offering surveys to consumers via their computer. So as long as you can get online, access your email, and/or login to their membership portal, where you do them doesn’t generally matter.
What Are Focus Groups & Sponsored Offers?
Since most websites fail to draw the distinction between the different types of surveys, we thought it would be helpful if you knew the difference between focus groups (a type of survey) and sponsored offers (not a type of survey).
Here’s how Wikipedia defines a focus group:
A focus group is a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their attitude towards a product, service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging. Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members.
Pretty simple and straightforward, right?
Sponsored offers are a little trickier. The short definition of a sponsored offer is that one company is paying another company/individual a fee for generating a trial, sale, or lead of their product or service. The company who receives that fee turns around to you and says, “Hey, we’ll give you $x.xx to try out this offer.”
So let’s say Netflix is wanting to get new signups. They have hundreds, maybe even thousands of affilaites (think of them as salespeople) who get paid a commission each time they generate a lead to Netflix. In regards to a sponsored offer, those affiliates would in turn pay you a percentage of what they receive to “incentivize” you to try the offer. That’s why in the industry they call this an “incentivized offer.” They’re usually lumped in the same group as “paid surveys” but they are different.
By doing the sponsored offer, you are paying for the product, and getting something in return. Generally speaking, more than what it cost you to try the product.
Are There Any Tips For Taking Paid Surveys?
1) Setup A Separate Email: Although this is not a necessity, it will definitely help keep you organized. Since you will be receiving a lot of survey offers via email, it’s best to register a separate address that you only use to register with the survey companies.
This way, your personal inbox does not get cluttered with the many survey emails you will be receving. From our experience, Yahoo’s free email account or Gmail work the best. We discovered that many email providers have very strict spam filters and were sometimes preventing certain messages from coming through. Either way, you should always check your junk/spam folders to make sure you’re getting the survey invitations.
2) Learn About Screener Surveys: Many companies will send you what are known as “screener surveys,” when you first sign up, and we want to make sure you’re aware of what they are. Typically, they won’t be paid surveys. Most of the time, you will be entered in a drawing for a prize or something like that, but the purpose of the survey is much more important.
The screener survey shows the company a little more about you, so they can offer you the right type of surveys to complete. They want to make sure you only receive offers that fit your demographic. The screener surveys also typically acts as a gateway to some of the more lucrative paid surveys down the road, so don’t be frustrated in the beginning if you receive a few screener surveys. Many of these companies look to see who actually completes these screener surveys so as to give those “dedicated” members access to some of their better, typically higher paying surveys.
3) Be Realistic: The people who consistently make money each month with market research realize that there will be a small time involvement to:
- Join several survey/market research companies.
- Be patient while sorting through the many survey invites to find the “diamonds in the rough.”
By registering with many of the best companies, the successful survey takers realize that they increase their overall chances of finding the best survey opportunities. While it might take a few minutes to register with them all now (remember they are all 100% free to join), it’s one of the “secrets” the survey pros use to maximize their potential. Not only will you receive numerous survey invites this way, you can cherry pick which ones you want and simply delete the rest.
Have Any Proof That Paid Surveys Work?
We spent quite a bit of time reviewing paid surveys, and here is real live proof that paid surveys work. Even more exciting, these were all the invites from just ONE of our recommended companies over the span of 2 weeks (October 15 – October 29). While you won’t qualify for every survey you’re invited to take, imagine the results you’ll have when you join each of the recommended companies below!