The Truth About Paid Online Surveys - A Question and Answer Session

Author: Chris Ohlson

With thousands of people trying to find a way to make some extra money online everyday, paid online survey sites are popping up everywhere. With so many out there (some good, some well, not so good) it's hard to determine what to believe. In an attempt to clarify the ins and outs, and the myths and realities of paid online surveys, I've composed a series of questions and answers to help you sort everything out. We'll start with the basics and then get into the nitty gritty.

Question: Is this for real? Why would someone pay me to take online surveys?
Answer: Yes, this is for real. There are literally hundreds of legitimate market research companies out there who offer incentives for your opinion. Companies have come to these firms to get public opinions on their products or services and are willing to pay them to find out what you think. They then pass some of that payment onto you.

Question: What are the surveys about? Answer: Just about anything that you can think of.
You may be asked to review a movie trailer for a new movie, what kind of peanut butter you like, what restaurants you frequent, you name it. From barbeque grills to medical questions to appliances to what you had for dinner last night. There are sites for specific age groups, professions, hobbies and interests. The surveys are generally very interesting and these companies are looking for your opinion on how to shape their products.

Question: How does it work?
Answer: Each company works a bit differently, but here are the basics of online surveys. You will sign-up for a paid survey site. You will enter some basic demographic information (age, gender, etc...), and when they have a survey available in which they are looking for someone who fits your profile, they will send you an invitation to take a survey. The invitation will usually contain a link directly to the survey and the incentive they are offering for you to take the survey. Just click on the link and take the survey to qualify for the reward.

Question: What kinds of incentives are offered?
Answer: The incentives vary for each site, but generally the incentives take the following forms: cash, gift certificates (Amazon gift certificates being the most popular), merchandise (DVDs, small appliances, electronic gadgets, cookware, etc...), and charity donations. Each survey site will offer one or several of the above incentives for your participation in their surveys. Some will offer these straight out, for example "get paid $5.00 to take this survey", some offer these in the form of a drawing and others have a point system in which accumulated points can be "cashed in" for the items above.

Question: Will you get spammed by signing up for paid survey sites?
Answer: No, but you do have to be careful. There are some sites out there that are simply advertising firms posing as paid online survey sites. Here's my advise on how to tell the difference. First, if they offer you a chance at a fantastic prize for signing up, such as a car or a boat, I would be a bit weary and do some more research before you sign-up. Second, if the survey to sign-up for the site consists of a lot of questions as to whether or not you want more information on other products, walk away, you're certain to get spammed. Just remember that a legitimate market research firm will not endorse a product or service, they are supposed to be unbiased. Third, read the privacy policy if you have any concerns. The majority of the sites out there are legitimate and will only email you if there is a survey available or if there is important information they need to notify you of.

Question: Should you pay for a database of paid survey sites?
Answer: No. There are several reasons why you shouldn't pay a dime to take online surveys. First, with a little effort you'll be able to find all of the sites yourself - free. There are a lot of free sites that have pretty good lists and also a few really good free sites out there that have comprehensive free paid survey directories with hundreds of listings. Secondly, market research firms are actually prohibited from charging people to participate in surveys and frown upon anyone who does.

Question: Can I get rich just by taking online surveys?
Answer: I've had so many people ask me if there are going to be able to retire by taking online surveys. Well, that's just not going to happen. Where it is possible to make a decent amount of money by making referrals or by running a survey related website, you're just not going to be making a full-time salary by simply taking surveys. There are a lot of sites out there advertising that you can make thousands of dollars per week or make $45 dollars and hour for taking online surveys (you can actually make $45 dollars an hour for a particular survey, but you won't always make that much and it may only be a 10 minute survey).

Question: How much can I make?
Answer: That's really hard to say. It really depends on a number of factors. How many sites did you sign-up with? How often do you take the surveys you are invited to take? What is your demographic? Etc... But I won't just leave you hanging at that. I would say, if you sign-up for a number of survey sites, take the majority of the surveys you are invited to and are not limited in life experience, you could make perhaps $1,000 to $2,000 a year in cash or something equivalent. Mostly you will get smaller payments ($1.00 to $10.00) for a survey but I've seen them pay as much as $200. Treat this as extra cash, not a career. You can easily make enough to take the family out for dinner, buy a few extras, get a few nice things for around the house or save it all for your Christmas shopping.

Question: So, is it worth it?
Answer: Yes, I think so. Whereas, it's not going to make you filthy rich, it's certainly an easy and fun way to make a few extra bucks. I find the surveys to be enjoyable to participate in and for the time spent, the compensation is pretty good.

That wraps up this question and answer session. Hopefully this article has shed some light on the world of paid online surveys. If you cut through the hype and know what to look for, online surveys can be an enjoyable way to make some extra money. You'll get to see new products before they come out, give your opinion on how to make existing products better and get paid to do so. Not too bad for a few minutes of your time.

About the author:
Chris Ohlson is the owner of Free Paid Surveys.net, www.freepaidsurveys.net With a comprehensive listing of over 300 paid online survey sites and dedicated to providing straight-forward and honest information on paid online surveys.