Thursday, February 02, 2006

Are Paid Surveys Real?

In a recent thread on, some members were asking where they could go to fill out surveys online and get paid and whether or not they were real. You've probably seen sites that advertise to pay you to fill out surveys in banner ads or emails, but most people are skeptical if it's really true.

When I was younger, a local market research group used to pay me and my family to go and taste test pizza. They wanted us to test a new brand of pizza when compared to other flavors and then rate them based on how we liked it. We would go into a large room, be read some instructions and then given our slices. We didn't have to finish the slice, just taste it, then afterwards we would have to take a bite of a cracker and sip some water to "clean our palette". Then, we filled out a brief survey about what we liked and disliked about the pizza. When the survey ended we got paid $20 to eat pizza!

We later figured out that this was probably being done by Papa Johns, as they were not in the DFW area at the time and wanted to find out if people would want to buy their pizza before they made the expensive dive into the new market place.

Many large companies pay consumers for their opinions to find out what they think about just about anything on any variety of topics. They do this for market research and sometimes they pay well to find out this information.

When I first started reading about paid online surveys I just figured they were like the pizza taste tests I took part in years ago. I was a consumer and they wanted to know what I thought about XYZ product or whatever and once the survey was over I would get paid for the time consuming task of going through and answering questions and looking over ads and descriptions of products and ideas. Unfortunately, at the end of most surveys I either got the message that I was not "qualified" for the survey or that I would be entered into a monthly drawing to win prize money. At the end of it, I ended up with about $5 from the survey companies in the form of a check with I subsequently lost.

So where are the real paid surveys?

So, what's the deal? Are there actually surveys online that really pay money? The answer is yes, you just have to know where to look. One of the best companies to start with is SurveyAnnex. They are actually a database of paying survey companies that pay individuals anywhere from $4 to $20 an hour to give their opinions online. Another company that will pay you just to sign up for survey sites is InboxDollars. IBD will pay you a small fee to sign up with the sites that publish online surveys and also host their own paid surveys themselves. Most of the survey sites are like the ones I described above which normally don't pay out directly, but enter you into a drawing or give you points to fill out surveys. None the less, you can still get paid just to sign up for the sites even if you never take any surveys afterwards. Survey Payoff is another company I recommend that pays well for surveys. Another great new comer is Survey Monster, which has a very easy to use system that is totally free.

There are a lot of other well known companies that I don't recommend like Survey Savvy. Although they claim to pay the most for surveys, they normally don't pay anything or by the time you try and access the survey it's closed.

As with everything else, be sure and do your research on a company before you sign up. Most of the cheaper free survey companies don't ask for money to sign up, unless it's a large database of resources. Remember that most free survey sites pay the lowest amount (or nothing) for your time, so choose wisely. Check the BBB and search Google for the company to see what other people think! Also be sure and check out the sites privacy policy before you get started if you're concerned about getting junk mail and telemarketing calls once you submit your information. Use a disposable or create a new email account to sign up for the survey sites and always use proper internet security (of course).

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If you know of any other good survey sites, feel free to post a comment on it!

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