It is in the best interest of companies to have the best understanding possible of their customers. This is why companies are willing to invest in focus groups and beta testing, but they are also willing to pay for the opinions of potential and current customers to get a better grasp on the market. This is how the paid online survey was born, and it has created an opportunity for nearly anyone to earn some extra money from the comfort of their own computers.
Paid Online Surveys
Companies seek the opinions of the general public about their products and services or the specific market that they are trying to approach. Just about anyone can participate in paid surveys and the process for doing so is very easy to follow.
- Sign up for a paid online survey site.
- Fill out the user profile as needed.
- Complete the payment details as needed.
- Browse through the available surveys or wait to be contacted to complete a relevant survey.
- Receive compensation.
Most online survey sites require users to fill out a profile so that they are better able to match candidates with surveys as they become available. For example, one company may be interested in female homemakers between the ages of 30 and 49 who make the majority of the household grocery-buying decisions. If you are a retired 68-year-old male and your significant other buys all the groceries, then this survey would not be applicable to you and you would not qualify to take it.
The sign-up process is similar between the different sites, like providing an e-mail address and phone number, but there will naturally be some variations.
It is important to only select reputable companies. If the survey site requires a membership fee, if it is a relatively new site, or if it asks for far too much personal and private information like a Social Security number, then it is best to steer away. It is quite common for survey sites to ask about household income range, marital status and location, however.
How Much Money Can Be Made?
While there is the opportunity to make some extra cash on the side by taking paid online surveys, it is generally not enough to replace a typical full-time or even part-time income. Instead, online surveys can provide a small supplement to an existing income, allowing you to earn money in your spare time. Some survey sites pay in actual money, but many allow you to convert points into gift cards for a variety of online retailers or services. Others may provide sweepstakes entries for larger prizes.
The exact amount of money paid per survey will vary considerably with niche surveys typically offering higher payouts than ones that are made available for a more general public. The majority of online surveys will take anywhere from five to 30 minutes, paying as little as ten cents to as much as $20 or the equivalent amount in points. In general, the total payout average will be less than $10 per hour and it is generally not possible to qualify for enough surveys to replace a standard workday.
Another issue is that some surveys require you to answer some pre-qualification questions that may not have been covered in your user profile. You are not paid to answer these questions, so if it is determined that you do not qualify to take the survey, the time you spent answering the pre-qualification questions will be for nothing.
Where to Sign Up
There are many sites that will pay you to take a survey, but some are safer than others. These are three of the more reputable companies online:
- iPoll: Offering a broad range of surveys, iPoll will send you an email notification when a survey matching your profile shows up in its database. Surveys vary in length from five minutes to 30 minutes or more. The minimum redemption threshold is $15 and rewards are offered mostly in the form of gift cards and magazine subscriptions. These include retailers like The Gap and Starbucks, as well as PayPal vouchers and charitable donations.
- SurveySavvy: Having been in business since 1999, SurveySavvy is one of the older online survey sites on the Internet. Emails are sent when you are invited to participate in a survey and the minimum payment threshold is only $1, which is issued via check in the mail. SurveySavvy also has a desktop application for behavioral research called SavvyConnect for additional incentives.
Is It Worthwhile?
The fact of the matter is that online surveys typically do not pay very much at all, usually offering around $5 in rewards for surveys that take up to 30 minutes to complete. It can also be troublesome to go through pre-screening questions, only to be told that you do not qualify to take that particular survey.
While the payout may not be much, taking part in these types of surveys online can be a more productive way to spend time on the Internet than alternatives that result in zero monetary compensation whatsoever. It is best to think about the gift cards, money and other rewards as small bonuses rather than a reliable source of supplementary income.