Paid Surveys

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Short Version:

I’ve been a member of FocusForward.com for about two months. In that time, I’ve been invited to participate in one focus group, for which I was paid $100 in cash on the spot. All I had to do was show up and talk. Total time involved = about three hours, including travel.

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Long Version:

About two months ago, I signed up for a site called FocusForward.com, which is a focus group facilitator. Based on your demographic information, they connect you with opportunities to participate in focus groups in exchange for money.

I just completed my first assignment with them. A few weeks ago, they sent me a short survey asking questions about my cell phone use. I completed the survey, within a few days spent about fifteen minutes on the phone answering some in-depth questions. At the conclusion of the call, I was given the choice of a one-on-one interview lasting one hour, for $75, or a two-hour focus group worth $100. I opted for the focus group.

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Most of the survey companies I’ve tried are fairly straightforward about how their rewards systems work. Every time I receive an email invitation to take a survey, I know exactly how many points it is worth before I even click the link. Also, most sites have a page that tells you what your points can be redeemed for.

A few weeks ago, I signed up with a company called Big Idea Group (BIG). You qualify for “clubs” based on your demographic information. Each club has a series of activities where you answer questions about features and usability of a particular class of products, including making suggestions for what features you would like to see on a new product.

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First of all, I apologize for the two-week silence. I’m down to crunch time at school, so I’ve had to limit my extracurricular activities. Finals are next week. After that, I’ll be back to posting once or twice per week.

I previously posted about mystery shopping with SecretShopper.com, and cashing out with Opinion Outpost. I received checks from both of those this week, as well as a check for Mrs. Fencepost from MySurvey.com. Here is a summary:

  1. MySurvey.com: $10.00 (Mrs. Fencepost earned this one.)
  2. SecretShopper.com: $23.00
  3. OpinionOutpost.com: $6.40
  • Total: $39.40

Once finals are over, I’ll try out some other mystery shopping providers and post about my experience.

Regards,

J

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When I started trying to make money online, getting scammed and losing money were major concerns for me. As a result, I took some steps to minimize my risk. Here are a few tips based on my experience:

  1. I do not ever pay money to join a paid survey site or mystery shopping provider. Legitimate companies can be easily found with a Google search, and there is no reason for them to charge a fee. They get paid by the companies whose surveys you take.
  2. Before I sign up with any site, I type their name, plus the word “scam,” or “fraud,” into a search engine (such as Google) to see what comes up. I decided not to join a couple of sites based on what I found out about them through a quick Google search.

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Just a quick update: I earned another 15 points with Opinion Outpost, which brings me to a total of 64 points, or $6.40. Yeah, I know that’s not much money, but it took very little effort to earn it. Since I passed the five dollar minimum for cashing out, I requested a check for the entire amount I’ve earned. The process was easy: a couple of clicks and an address verification.

Opinion Outpost says to allow four to eight weeks for “processing.” I assume they are waiting to get paid before they pay me. Anyway, the check is supposedly on its way, and I’ll post when I receive it.

Update: Payment received.  See this post.

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Since my last paid survey post, I’ve joined several more sites, and filled out a few surveys. I have not yet earned enough points to cash out with any company. Here is where I stand:

  1. Opinion Outpost: I have 49 points, which is worth $4.90. I need $0.10 more to cash out. It took me either two or three surveys to reach that point. The shortest took less than five minutes, the longest took about fifteen. This site has taken the lead in my estimation.
  2. Greenfield Online continues to sent me the greatest number of surveys. I usually receive at least one for a sweepstakes entry every day, and every third or fourth day I’m offered one that is worth one or two dollars. I don’t bother with the “sweeps,” and I haven’t qualified for any of their paid surveys yet. That seems odd to me, because I filled out an extensive list of screening surveys when I first joined. I would have thought they would do a better job of prequalifying before offering me a survey.

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Since my previous post, I’ve joined Opinion Outpost. So far, they’ve offered me four surveys, one of which I qualified for. It took about two minutes, and was worth 10 points, which equates to $1. In order to cash out, I need to have at least 50 points.

All surveys come with a set of screening questions to make sure you fit the target demographic profile. If you qualify, you are allowed to complete the survey. If not, you will typically receive a sweepstakes entry, but no money. The exception to this is Global Test Market, which gives you 25 cents worth of points even if you don’t qualify.

Greenfield Online continues to send me surveys, most of which only offer a sweepstakes entry for completion. I’m not wasting my time on those. Today, they offered a 20 minute survey worth $4, but I didn’t qualify for it.

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Most reputable sources caution that you won’t get rich filling out surveys online. There is no guarantee as to how many surveys you will qualify for or how much they will pay. However, if you have internet access, a little free time, and enjoy giving your opinion, it can be an easy way to make a little money on the side.

In the past few weeks, I’ve signed up for the following paid survey sites:

  • Greenfield Online
  • Lightspeed Consumer Panel

My wife is a member of:

  • SurveySavvy.com
  • NFO My Survey
  • American Consumer Opinion
  • Global Test Market

Greenfield Online and Lightspeed have sent more survey opportunities than anyone else, but I am not impressed with their rewards structure. Most of the surveys from Greenfield offered nothing more than a sweepstakes entry. A few more offered one or two dollars if the survey was completed (20-30 minutes), and I was once offered a seven dollar, 15 minute survey that I didn’t qualify for.

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