Post-recession, a lot of workers started looking for ways to earn extra cash. While most side gigs won’t supplant the steady cashflow of a regular job, they can pad a paycheck that hasn’t seen a significant boost in a few years. Paid surveys are often mentioned as one way to earn a few extra dollars fast. But are paid surveys a legitimate way to make money – or are they scams? The answer is that it depends on the survey and the company you are taking them for.
Second, there is nobody that’s making $3500 a month filling out online surveys. Sure, there are people who may earn $1000 or even $2000 a month, but they are in the minority. For most of us, it would be impossible unless you join every survey site that there is and spend every single waking hours filling out surveys. And that’s assuming if you are lucky enough to have that many surveys available, to begin with.
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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.
They include sites that seem to be their competitors because they earn referral fees when you buy memberships. A couple mentioned in scam forums even try to dupe you into buying the same list at other membership sites they own under different names. Naturally, these sites also have an incentive to exaggerate how much you'll earn from online paid surveys.
Like many survey sites, Toluna rewards you with points, which you can then cash out for vouchers for the usual suspects like Amazon and iTunes, or money through PayPal. A slightly novel element of the site’s payment plan is to offer the chance to take your points out early if you gamble them for prizes. While you have to store up a grand total of 60,000 points before you can claim vouchers for around $12 – something some people find to be a downside of the site – if you are willing to settle for a prize, you can play with just 500 points. You can decide to try your luck with a “giftie”, a kind of scratch card game. By gambling some points, you can see if you have won the gift or lost your points – so it is not one for the faint hearted!
A few paid survey sites do pay relatively well in cash. However, many sites hype hypothetical, best-case scenarios that can't possibly apply to each and every consumer for each and every hour of participation. In the real world, the likelihood that you'll often earn the higher of the hyped amounts is slim. Most online paid surveys simply don't pay much, and you must be invited to complete them. To be invited, you must fit targeted demographics. That alone limits your earnings right off the bat, as you can't possibly fit every demographic.
As well as using your laptop, you can fill in MySurvey forms on the move by using their app available for both Apple and Android phones. This is perfect because surveys should really be about filling time, rather than dedicating particular time to them, so being able to pass time in queues or while commuting and simultaneously make money is very appealing.
Surveys are just a small piece of the puzzle. The best part about the surveys is that the qualification questions are typically short, there to confirm you're not breezing through it, and you can still earn points if you don't qualify. You will not answer 30 questions and then get denied, with zero to show for it. As of May 2017, they've paid out $191.5 million. They give out 7,000 free gift cards every single day.
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.
Of course, it’s not always easy to increase your income. Your employer might hate giving raises, for example, or maybe overtime at work has become scarce. If that’s the case, you might need to pick up a part-time job, start a side hustle from home, or look for unorthodox ways to earn money in your spare time. Check out our post on how to become an Uber driver, this is a great side hustle because you can make your own schedule and pick up extra cash when its convenient for you.
One of the oldest and longest running survey sites, Vindale Research is a legitimate option for making some money from filling out surveys. Based in New York, the company offers both traditional surveys and evaluations, by testing products or online services. It’s free to sign up, and surveys pay between $1 and $5 each and product testing starts at $5 and moves up from there. The site claims significantly higher rates of pay, but as this involves slightly inflated pricing, for example discounting fees you may have to pay out to join subscription sites before receiving your end payout, they won’t be included here.
Paid survey site companies invest billions of dollars into marketing research online. They always want to find out more intricate details of a consumer's relationship with their product. Whether it's a new television show or just an existing product line, companies like Disney, Samsung, and Sony go to great lengths to find out their ideal audiences.