Looking for something to do to in your free time that can earn you a little extra cash and/or free gift cards and prizes?
Give paid surveys a try!
If you like getting paid for surveys, and are going to join only one site, I would recommend you choose 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!
You won’t get rich doing surveys, but taking online surveys is a fun and easy way of earning that little extra side income you’ve always been looking for.
How Do Paid Surveys Work?
The mechanics involved here is pretty straight forward.
First you have to register with a particular paid survey site as a member, during which time you are required to fill up your details.
The backend database would then do job matching processes, and you will receive an invitation through e-mail whenever they think you can be a right fit for any particular survey.
The e-mail itself would further advise in details the estimated duration required for survey completion and the kind of compensation correspondingly.
There is a link embedded inside the e-mail. Once you click that link, you will be taken to a site where you will answer a set of questions about whatever the study is about.
A typical survey should not take you more than 20 minutes to complete.
When it comes to payment, there is no uniformity across sites, and possibly across surveys within the same site.
The three most prominent payment types are:
- Cash – paid via PayPal or by Check
- Points – That you can redeem for gift cards and prizes.
- Sweepstakes Entries – For a chance to win between $50 to up to $100.000.
There can also be situations where you are handed a new product for you to test run.
Top 30 Panels
If you’re looking for legitimate survey companies to sign up with, here are some of the best ones to check out:
Note: Most survey companies only accept members from a few western countries. Thus this list is only good for Americans and a residents of a few western countries. However, I have published a list of international survey sites recently that I am sure those of you not living in the U.S. will find more useful.Earn Free Cash
Try Swagbucks, the famous rewards program that pays you for watching videos, taking surveys, shopping and more.
We all know that the Nielsen is often perceived as the guiding light that influences American TV executives decisions on their TV programming for over 50 years.
But Nielsen’s influence is not restricted to just TV programming, its operation covers an extensive range of research subjects and its clients are made up of the largest players across industries.
MySurvey is one of the oldest survivals in this industry. Originally known as NFO, it has been busy collecting market feedback stretching back 50 years ago.
Today, MySurvey continues to impress the market with leading edge surveys (in addition to online focus groups, product testing etc.) and relatively generous payouts.
The reward system employed here is points based rewards, which you can redeem for PayPal credit and a number of prizes and gifts.
Do pay attention on furnishing your profile immediately after signing up, as the company would judge your qualification for surveys based on the profile your submitted.
Obviously, the closer match your profile is to the desired demographic group, the better chance you get invited to survey taking.
You can expect regular invites from GlobalTestMarket but qualification is to be further scrutinized upon application. Every survey completed will be rewarded with points.
As you hit 1000 points in your account, you can redeem them for $50 cash. It is easy to gain points here, but even if you can’t get to do the survey due to mismatch of qualification, you are still handed 5 points.
The frequency of survey invites roughly averages 5-6 times every month.
This is another long stayer in the market. Established since 2001, ValuedOpinions enjoys a strong fan base to ensure its longetivity.
It is not one of my favorites as cash is non-option here. The moment your account accumulates up to $20, you can exchange for equivalent value vouchers from a number of participating outlets like Amazon and Macy’s.
This one has a long history. It has been advising massive corporations about consumers’ taste and fancy since 1967.
NPDOR Research is part of the huge NPD Group. It also operates across borders, so by simply participating in their surveys, you could be part of the collective international voice.
The surveys are designed with fun in mind, and they often take short time to complete. In order to not make you feel miserable after being looked over for real surveys, they even compensate you in cash or prizes for trying.
As soon as you turn over your personal details (as part of sign up), you are guaranteed an entry into a $1,000 prize sweepstakes. Anyone at least 14 years old are eligible to join as members. Family members are also encouraged but they need to maintain separate email IDs.
Seasoned survey takers swear by SurveySpot, arguably the best site in term of cumulative income. The Internet is full of praises of this site as a fully dependable place to milk some nice money over long term.
From my experience, the reason is simple. There are always plenty of survey invites on daily basis, and this trend continues perpetually. Imagine this, I once got 4 email-invites in a single day.
Obviously, this greatly increases your capacity to earn more money online. And payment is mostly cash!
8. Ipsos I-Say
For newbie planning to start on this online paid survey work, I say get started with this one. Ipsos I-Say is a long-term player in the industry, with a reputation on prompt payment over the last decade.
This is definitely a stayer in the market and it has certainly earned the trust of the public.
I-Say is the subsidiary of Ipsos, itself an established market research firm active in the international market.
This I-Say venture is designed to be more in tune to the local consumers market, thus their surveys often involve day-to-day products.
What I like most about Ipsos is its fair payment policy, which demonstrates a decent respect for members willing to render information for its market study.
It began life in 1999, and today SurveySavvy is recognized as one of the most successful survey panels in the international market.
Signing up does not cost you a penny and you are guaranteed payment for every survey completed. Expect payout to range from $3 to $30 for individual survey.
There is also an affiliation program here, so there is this extra opportunity to build up your cash pile when you refer your family members and friends to their site.
It is a win-win situation, as your referral is exposed to new money making opportunity, you are also entitled to a cut of his taking by completing online surveys.
10. Vindale Research
Here the survey is structured in a way that is more similar to a product review.
The payout is fairly generous at $5 – $75 for every completed survey, and strong likelihood you will also end up with the product you reviewed as well.
Toluna is unlike the rest of survey panels in that it seems intent on hearing your true inputs! But you are still compensated for participation in their online studies conducted.
Users are encouraged to use a variety of Toluna’s channels to express their true feedback, via polls, opinions and reviews.
It is not just one-way channel as you express yourself, because you could also include your polls in your own personal blog, and start a discussion online.
An excellent panel for those who like paid product testing.
Harris Poll Online is another survey panel with long history. The rewards come in the form of points – specifically Hipoints – after every survey completed.
As your account chalks up enough HI points, redemption can be made against a wide variety of prizes and gift cards.
This is interesting as the prizes include eligibility to win big-ticket items like cars. More conventional prizes are also available, such as cash, consumers’ products, coupons and more.
15. Consumer Village
A very unique survey panel that has a very loyal group of participants.
One of the longest running online survey panels, ePoll has been one of the first sites I have ever joined.
You earn points for taking every single survey. You can then redeem your points for gift cards to Amazon.com, Starbucks, Walmart and more.
Great site to join.
17. PineCone Research
Note: they don’t have open registration year-around. They only open their doors a few times a year, and even then, only for a few weeks. So, finding the actual registration invitation link is hard. Which is why I have created a post where I constantly update the post with new registration links when they become available. If you want to join PineCone, be sure to bookmark this page and check often.
I always admire companies with no complicated policy and straight cash paying type. On this merit, PineCone Research just has to be among my top favorite companies.
The payout is also generous with $3 cash for every survey.
It just doesn’t end there. There is no minimum threshold that you must hit before getting real cash payment.
The check will arrive a few days from the completion of individual survey, in a word, perfect!
18. My View
If you feel My View was clumsy, you should take another look nowadays. After an extensive makeover, or heavy technology investment, it is now probably one of the users-friendliest sites around.
Appearances aside, the surveys run here are mostly paid, another plus point to the site.
Moreover, they seem to be quite selective on the types of surveys commissioned here, I find most are really engaging in general.
You need to have a PayPal account, as this is the only payment option at My View. No real complain on the regularity of email invites, as I get average of 1-2 invites every week.
Seems that ACOP dispenses out survey invitations only sparingly. You would be lucky to have 2 invites from them in a single week. But when they do come, the payout is a minimum of $4, with the maximum payout at $50 (based on the surveys I was invited to).
As an additional incentive, ACOP automatically routes all members to monthly draws with top winning at $250.
Be warned though, the company still insists on a screener survey before any interested applicant can get his or her hand to the actual survey.
Good thing is that the survey process is like a snap (most likely not take you over 10 minutes). If your survey is without any hiccup, then a check will come your way through mail in about 10 days’ time.
The feedback collected by PermissionResearch serves a higher objective – with the information is often quoted by recognized authorities in the country.
And no meaningful discussions on Internet and general economic trends would be complete without pointing to this company as a source.
Permission Research’s studies and findings are regularly cited by established media outlets like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and CNBC.
Sign up bonus is amazing with 50 bonus points awarded, but you need to accumulate 1000 points before you choose to cash out.
Still there are plenty of chances to crank up your account as they do send out quite a fair bit of surveys each week (expect 3 to 4, but it could get more at times).
Generally, most surveys don’t take long to complete (not more than 15 minuets on average), and individual survey pays you about 100 points on average.
Cash out can be through PayPal. Or if you prefer, redeem from their many participating outlets, which collectively represents a wide array of books, CDs, movies, small appliances, and more.
22. Opinion Square
This company stands out as it allows you to make small money real quick, and at anytime you desire.
23. Univox Community
Another new survey panel that got industry talking. The rewards are points based and you can turn those into Amazon.com gift certificates.
This is the famous grocery scanning panel by the Nielsen.
The main objective is to pick up market trends and consumers’ behavior patterns.
After successful registration, you will get a free hand-held scanner through mail. Whenever you or whoever in the family do grocery shopping, you just zap the bar codes of your purchases into this hand held scanner.
To better your earning capacity, the company also has a number of paid surveys available, and you earn money by taking these mail/paper and online surveys.
I like the moneymaking part of this scheme, but I also enjoy the scanner. It looks beautiful with its delicate built and it is fun as you zap along!
25. Test Spin
This can be hugely rewarding as a survey can pay as much as $10, and it is $30 for online focus groups.
Redemption choice is a bit limited here, though, as you can only trade your rewards with gift certificates (participating outlets include Amazon). Known for its high frequency invitations, and often super-fast pay out.
Would voice inputs work just as well as typed inputs (or written inputs in case of paper survey forms)? Some folks can get tire easily staring on computer screen of paper form, but they got all excited with the opportunity to say out loud their opinions.
Well, this Mobile Expression is for you if you belong to this category. Survey is done through a phone, so this is no normal regular approach of most research companies.
Here at CVS, there is even reward when one fails to qualify for proper surveys, unlike most of the competitions where the dole only rolls in after taking the surveys.
HotSpex brings innovation to another level. For appearance, the site should get top award for its cool look.
But let’s stick to surveys, it also takes innovations to how companies compensate their panel members, HotSpex is surely one of a kind in the survey industry.
More than surveys, they also offer products review opportunities. The site has successfully amassed a huge fan base over the years.
Coming from the huge and successful ClickIQ Inc., the ClickIQ e/visor Panel is naturally one of the most watched paid surrey panel in the industry.
The company pays you 25 to 100 IQ points for an individual survey (2,500 IQ Points= $25). It is one that continually seeks excellence and improvement.
From a pure gift cards reward system, the company has expanded to include PayPal payment, ACH direct deposit or mailed check.
I am truly surprised with the nimbleness and flexibility exhibited by the company, given the huge baggage it has to carry being a part of giant conglomerate. Anytime, I still prefer the cash option so the move is a much welcome gesture.
Springboard America provides a platform for average Americans to reflect on the states of affairs in the country.
Members are free to talk about anything, from products to politics, and anything else that has a bearing on our life!
It is fun to have the opportunity to earn some money while staying focus on stuff that can make America even greater!
What Are Online Surveys?
You can essentially see online paid surveys of some sort of information gathering exercises, usually in regards to the performance of products and services.
Businesses and manufacturers are always keen to know how the public judges their offerings, and market research companies like Nielsen would then commission corresponding surveys to gather the feedback, on behalf of their clients.
Your function as a survey panel member is to attend to simple online questionnaires whenever invited. The objective is to gauge your opinions regarding some products and services in the market.
In recognition of your effort and trouble to tell them what you truly think, you will be compensated with cash, gift cards and all sorts of prizes and rewards.
Why Do Companies Pay for My Opinion?
Companies acknowledge that it is only fair game to reward people who take the time to complete the survey questionnaire.
In fact, you would naturally imagine they should do just that as the ultimate goal of the surveys is meant to enrich these companies further.
They also recognize that feedback is only useful when participants can actually be bothered with it, which is why the research companies are dangling all sorts of rewards and prizes, in the hope that you are truthful with your inputs.
According to CASRO, the worldwide expense related to market research is a mind-boggling $18.7 billion every year.
Of course, you would not expect that the entire amount to flow into the online survey panels, which you are a part of. Nevertheless, there got to be a good portion of it that goes into the online paid survey industry.
The need for market study has always been in existence ever since we embraced commerce as a part of life. Along the way, technology may come and go that may change the way in which survey is conducted.
For example, the emergence of e-mails during the 80s has moved paper-based survey into electronic form. And during the 90s, the Internet proliferation has given rise to another revolutionary move, with the web-based survey questionnaire being attended real-time online.
In the US alone, Inside Research claimed that close to $500 million was channeled into web-based surveys. It was $960 million in 2004 and followed by a cool $18.7 billion in 2012.
This exponential trajectory indicates that online market study will continue to take evermore ubiquitous and prominent position in the economy we live in today.
How Much Money Can You Make?
If you are serious about making some real cash through filling out online survey forms, at some point, the question of how much you could possibly make by doing so would have to enter your mind.
In all honesty, there is no straight answer, as various factors such as the duration it takes you to complete a survey and the significance placed on a particular survey by the commissioning company.
So subject to all these variable dynamics, you could find surveys that pay a paltry $1 to a generous $200 (this is the maximum I have heard of).
Before I got you over excited, it is important to point out that the overwhelming majority of surveys should take no more than 15 minutes to fill out, and the average payout probably falls around $5.
As a rule of thumb, you can imagine that the payout is usually in direct proportion to the amount of time it takes to complete a survey.
At the same time, the active survey panelists claim that it is not difficult to get $400-$500 every month for the work.
Granted, there will always be people who are going to make more than that. However, just to set your expectation right, I would say that probably a compensation of about $200 is just about right for average survey takers. So it is about just decent.
What About the Scam Rumors?
Naturally, when new moneymaking ideas emerge, you can almost invariably assume that scammers are not far behind.
The popularity of online paid surveys has given rise to the proliferation of frauds that attempt to capitalize on vulnerable people who just hope to make some online income. In fact, the situation has gotten so bad that some people are completely turned off from this money-making prospect.
While I admit there are scams all around, there is no reason to disqualify this as a viable income avenue.
There will always be fully legit and trustworthy market research companies that actually compensate people for their willingness to offer their opinions. You just have to thread careful water so that you don’t end up in the wrong ships.
From my experience on the Internet, one effective foolproof way to avoid being victimized by such scammers is to participate in the survey sites that do not demand any upfront fee to get registered.
Keep this in mind; a joining fee may not be enough indication that the site is up to no good. But with zero joining fees, there is no chance you can lose money unwittingly.
Another useful advice is to do your research online before deciding on any survey websites. You can check out the online forums on survey panels reviews, find out how they rate by the BBB, and whatever else that will help you to gain as much insight as practical before joining any site.
It is important to repeat here that you are not going to strike it rich by simply filling out online survey forms. For that matter, survey participation is not going to be a replacement for your day job.
But if you can contain your expectation and see it simply as another source for some extra pocket money, the work involved can be both fun and easy.
The sad reality today is that with the economy continues to be in the doldrums, there are still lots of people who may have run out of options in term of regular income. So, this survey taking is definitely one source that can help them to supplement their earning.
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