Scam or Not: Paid Online Surveys
No suspense here. Like all things on the internet, some are scams and some are not. It depends on the particular site.
But yes, you can get paid for taking online surveys. Even for testing new products or joining focus group discussions. But it’s also not as easy as it sounds.
There’s only one site I’m aware of (and joined): paid-surveys-at-home.com. It’s not a scam, and this post is an unbiased review of the site.
What you need to know first:
There are research companies. They get hired by companies to find out what people think, so the companies can make better products. But a company is interested in certain demographics (age, location, income, etc.). So research companies sometimes pay for people that meet those criteria.
Signing up for those surveys is free. However, they can also be hard to find. And there’s also a lot that don’t offer rewards. So some sites create a list of paying surveys and sell them to members.
But be sure to not sign up at the first offer. If you attempt to join but then back out, you get offered a discount. Keep playing around with the sign-up to find out what the lowest offer is.
What makes it look dubious:
It looks really spammy/scammy. The entire site is a hard-sell with too good to be true looking descriptions. And if you don’t fall for that (but give them your email, even if you decline to join) they send you emails of a supposedly legitimate interview of some legit media company with a member of the site.
It made me block the emails and think the whole thing was a scam, even though I’d just talked to someone who actually made money from it.
In the end, I re-confirmed it wasn’t a scam, readied myself to quickly report it to my credit card company, but signed up anyway. Thankfully it worked out well enough.
What happens when you join:
You get bombarded with more offers for making money online – in exchange for more money, of course. They may have been legitimate opportunities but I declined.
You also get access to the list of surveys that offer payments. You’re going to have to click the links (the site has hundreds) and sign up individually with each site. It’s tedious, but you’re going to have to sign up with a lot if you want to recoup what you paid for.
- Unlike other side-jobs, you can do this on your free time and there’s practically no time constraints.
- Some sites actually give you bonus points just for signing up.
- Thresholds can be steep. Even with the bonus points, it could be a long time before you earn enough to redeem.
- Surveys can be infrequent. So it can take some time before you earn back the money you initially paid
- Though there are hundreds of sites to join, a lot can be limited for certain geographies. (For example: some sites only want people from the U.S. or Australia)
- Some do not pay out in cash (paypal, sodexho GCs, or otherwise). One survey paid out in gift cards for stores with no branches here in the Philippines. Actually even if there was a branch, it may not be worth it unless it was a department store GC or some other widely used GC.
There’s a long list of cons, but it’ not entirely a bad option. If you have limited free time, it’s still a viable side-job. Even if you do have a lot of free time but not enough skill or experience to get online freelance jobs, this is an ok interim solution.
In the end though, you’re going to have to decide if it’s worth the sign-up. To help you decide, risk-free, I included some survey sites at the end of this post. These are the sites that most frequently send me surveys (experience may vary though).
Update: After one year of answering surveys, I got $100 from global test market, Php300 from Ann-Kate, and Php343 from e-research-global. So you can make money, it just takes a long time. and you don’t need to pay anything, just go to the links I gave below.
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Sample Paid Online Survey Sites