The short answer is yes, it is possible to earn money with online survey sites. But don’t get too excited this is not a fast and easy way to make money.
Why do survey sites exist?
Companies invest in surveys because it gives them information that can be analyzed to discover whether a certain demographic group of the population might like or buy a new product or service.
Before committing millions of dollars to producing a new product, manufacturing companies need to know if there is a market for the said product.
Online market research is cheaper and easier to carry than other traditional methods of phone or snail mail. People are more likely to respond to an internet based survey than other survey methods. Why? Because they can reply when they like from their own home. With a telephone survey it is often not convenient to reply and if a survey is sent by snail mail you have to make a journey to the post box.
How online surveys work.
To encourage people to fill out the surveys, companies offer rewards. At the survey websites, consumers either earn money or points for each completed survey. The points can be redeemed for rewards such as discounts on products, gift cards or cash.
Internet surveys where the consumers are paid for completing the survey are good for both parties, the companies, and consumers. The company gets the information it wants from a targeted audience, and the consumer gets a reward for the time he or she has passed.
Who can join an online survey site?
Basically, anyone can join an online survey site, the only restrictions are the minimum age which seems to vary from 13 to 18 years old. Some survey sites are available more or less worldwide while some are only for residents of a particular country. In general, English speaking countries will have the most offers for surveys.
Signing-up for internet based surveys.
There are many survey sites on the internet that offer variations on the same idea: rewarding consumers for filling out online surveys. Most of these sites have a sign-up procedure that is simple.
The legit sites will ask you simply for your name and email address only and you choose a password to enable you to access your account in the future.
You then receive an e-mail with a link to a page with a “Personal Profile Survey” which takes about 30 minutes with questions on your address, sex, age, marital status, education level, employment info, housing situation, the car you drive, your health, financial situation, etc.
These questions help the survey providers to match you up with the right surveys. They do this because many surveys are targeted towards a very specific group of people or demographic.
- for a survey on cigarettes, they will need people who smoke, non-smokers would be useless
- for a perfume aimed at women of 20 to 40 years old, they don’t want men or even women over 40 years old.
Once your personal profile is set up then you need to watch your inbox for the periodic emails with links to surveys that are matched to your demographic information.
You will not fit the demographic target audience of the survey company all the time, so you will have moments when you have no surveys to fill out. For this reason, if you’re serious about doing surveys it is a good idea to sign up with several sites to give yourself more of a chance of having a survey for you when you want to work.
You should respond to the emails with the link to the surveys as quickly as possible. If not the survey will be closed and your chance of gaining some points or money gone.
How do you earn rewards?
The surveys that you are sent ask you a number of preliminary questions.
If your replies match the requirements of the company that is conducting the research you will continue to answer more in-depth questions and go on to complete the survey and your account will be credited with the announced reward.
If your answers don’t match the requirements of the company you will be thanked and the survey will come to a premature end, you will probably win a few points for your trouble.
The reward that you receive is based on the length of time it takes to complete the survey.
Your survey responses are only valuable to the company if you fit their target demographic. I have read that it is possible to be paid up to $50 to complete an online survey, but you must be part of a very highly valued or rare demographic.
On some sites, it is also possible to get additional rewards when you refer family or friends. Certain sites credit your account with points and with others you can get 10% or even 20% of whatever your referrals earn.
How much can you earn?
Basically taking surveys will not make you rich, you won’t earn enough to live on so don’t expect online surveys to replace your job. It’s something you can do when you have a little spare time. For example, I took a survey today that took about 30 minutes for a reward of 40 points the equivalent of about $2.00 or $4.00 per hour!
I have read of people making a fair amount of money $1000 or more a month (is it true?) with survey sites, but it is not really by taking a great number of surveys. The way they do it is by getting lots of referrals (and it must be very many) They then get a percentage of what their referrals earn.
The possible pitfalls of paid surveys.
From the companies that pay for the surveys point of view, the main danger is survey fraud.
The participants may:
- lie about their demographic to qualify for more surveys
- answer the surveys a fast as possible without attention
- sign up with the same company with different email addresses and create several profiles to do the same survey a few times
Participants will make more money by doing this, but the market research will not be correct. If found out the person cheating will be banned from the site and lose any rewards he or she has already gained.
From the consumers point of view, they have to be aware that there are many scammers who will charge you for seeing a list of survey companies. Of course, it is possible to find the same information with the search engines for free.
I would say the biggest danger is the risk of spending too much time doing surveys on the internet for very small rewards.
Another problem you may have when you sign up with an online survey site is that the site may sell your contact info to spammers. It’s a good idea to set up a free email account to register for the survey sites.
Here are some tips to avoid the survey scam sites:
- don’t sign up with sites that require you to pay a fee for accessing paid online surveys.
- the site should not ask for your credit card number or bank account information
- check on google to see if there are any adverse comments about the company.
- if the company says you can make $100 or more a day taking surveys, there is a very good chance the site is a scam. Reputable survey companies encourage their panelists to join, by saying their opinions are important and can influence the manufacturers of new products.
- genuine market research companies disclose information regarding the address of the company headquarters and perhaps a little company history.
My final opinion
Taking online surveys is a legitimate way for you to make some extra money in your spare time, but you should always keep in mind that participating in online surveys should only be considered a hobby, a source of extra income, not something to replace your full-time employment and not something where you are going to get rich.
If you are ready to give it a try, increase your chances of being selected to participate in surveys by signing up to several online survey sites, there is certainly no shortage of survey sites online. It is possible to earn a little extra cash with surveys but bear in mind that you have to spend a very long time to earn a substantial amount.
Personally, internet surveys are not for me, I won’t work for so little per hour.
An alternative would be learning how to build your own online business. When I decided to start my own online business I joined Wealthy Affiliate an online training program and a community of people who are ready to help you. So, if you are looking to start your own business, earn money online and learn about internet marketing you too could try Wealthy Affiliate.
It won’t provide you with an immediate income, but you will have the potential to earn much more than from taking surveys. The best part is that it is free to join and you also get 2 free websites! If you are interested you can read my Wealthy Affiliate review here.
If you have any experience of online survey sites or have any comments I would really like to hear from you.