They used to be cash-only, but in 2013 they switched over to a points system. Panelists can share their opinions in surveys and complete other various offers in exchange for points. 100 points is equal to $1, and most of their surveys pay up to $3. Survey topics are diverse and cover a variety of different topics. Pinecone Research is unique in that they emphasize consumption related surveys more than other panels.
It’s a very well-known scam. You cash the check, then they ask you to either wire some of that money back to them as some sort of fee or buy something for them and send the item to them. So, you deposit the check, then wire some cash to them thinking that the check you just deposited will cover that. A few days later, after you already send them the money, the check will bounce and the money you send to them will come out of your own account.
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).
They claim to also offer paid product testing opportunities. But it’s not really paid product testing, but more of getting cash back. Basically, besides surveys, you can purchase products and services through their portal and earn a certain amount of cash back for every dollar you spend. If you were going to buy something already, it’s a great way to get some of the cash back. But don’t just buy something because of the cashback.
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.
IOCS is a not-for-profit research organization that conducts studies and experiments on shopping-related behavior – things like how we, as consumers, evaluate products, how we make the buying decisions, etc. Although the focus is mostly on shopping related behavior, some of their experiments and studies include broader areas of marketing, psychology, and economics.