The biggest draw of taking online surveys is that you can take these surveys whenever it’s convenient to you. You decide when and where you take these surveys. All you need is a laptop or mobile device that can connect to the Internet. So relax and take some surveys while enjoying your favourite café or in front of the tv when the kids are asleep, it’s up to you! And best of all - you’ll get paid for it.
The concept of data mining and profiting off that data mining isn't anything new. And while some companies engage in some rather disreputable practices to do this, Global Test Market seems to be doing just fine with the whole “consent to disclose” thing. More importantly, in some cases this may help you as some companies will offer to do more specialized product testing once they've identified you as their target demographic.
And lastly, let's discuss privacy. In some ways, Pinecone Research gets it right – they use the information to verify you are not a duplicate or in any way defrauding them out of a valuable opinion. After that, they only use your personal information for developing metrics and usage statistics – not giving it out to every third party that comes along. More importantly, they take consumer information privacy seriously. When they compile their reports for their clients, they scrub all data of any identifying information.
This is where it can all go downhill quickly. In the pressure to make as many pennies out of a nickel, a lot of research corporations will not just sell your answers but the data associated with it. Details that you provide when taking paid surveys such as your name, address, age range can all be attached together quickly to fulfill a lot of larger companies' requests for information (RFI).
Survey Club has been offering online paid surveys since 2005, and in the fast paced every changing world of the web that’s a reassuringly long amount of time. They are a bit of an acquired taste, in that they specialise in long, detailed surveys for high end clients rather than the quick and cheerful consumer surveys that you may be more familiar with. Whilst this does mean that you may have to commit a bit more time, it does mean that if you have the patience to persevere with them they pay more money than most survey and reward sites. They also offer local taste tests (see what I said about ‘an acquired taste’?), and secret shopper opportunities.
The site will even allow you to monetise your internet searches, if you swap from Google or Safari to their own search engine. The Swagbucks search engine, which is actually running Yahoo, will pay you Swagbucks every time you search. For games, there are options like Scrabble and Wheel of Fortune, which won’t pay you much, but could be worth a go if you fancied playing a game anyway! Swagbucks TV allows you to watch advertising videos on a range of topics, including news, fitness and entertainment. There’s a snag – your earnings are capped at 150 Swagbucks, but it is worth a look if you’re prone to wasting time watching viral clips.
Surveys can be super quick and take just a few minutes to fill out, or require around 15 minutes of your time. Five minute surveys pay $0.50 and surveys range from $0.40 up to the higher – and rarer – ones at $10.Paying out by the usual methods, Crowdology does PayPal and also vouchers. Most importantly, the minimum reward threshold is low so when you’ve earned $8, you can cash it out, unlike other sites which make you wait until you have earned much more money. The site offers prize draws from time to time for things like cinema tickets and surveys can be expected weekly.
In the middle of all of this is a new breed of research corporation that relies on you – the survey taker – to determine this information. For your time? Many survey companies will pay you to take surveys for money or for other cash alternatives like gift cards or physical prizes and rewards. It depends upon the company as to whether they'll offer money or other offers and special deals.