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Online Survey Companies

There are many online survey companies out there, but how does one differentiate between which are legitimate and which are not? The answer is simple: do your research.

Online survey companies are actually market research companies who operate online survey panels. Essentially, market research companies often conduct telephone surveys, in person interviews and with the popularization of the internet, online surveys are a new way of conducting market research.

The purpose of these online survey companies is to serve (primarily) corporate clientele who wish to conduct a survey on a particular subject. It could be a new product or service they are interested in developing, or perhaps to make changes to an existing product or service they are already selling.

The survey company then contacts its panelists (who are consumers, just like you and I) to see if they would be interested in taking this online survey. They send their panelists an e-mail containing a link to the survey. The panelist then clicks on the link within the e-mail and completes the survey. The survey company, in turn, rewards the panelist for taking the survey with cash, points redeemable for cash or merchandise, gift certificates, etc.

How can online survey companies afford to give their panelists rewards? Remember that the company who hired the market research company to conduct the survey to begin with is paying the market research company to do the research. The survey company then, can reward their panelists for taking the very survey the corporation hired them to conduct.

When a survey company rewards its survey takers with cash, they usually send a check in the mail. Sometimes cash is sent in the form of a PayPal payment. Gift vouchers are most commonly rewarded in the form of a special code, sent via e-mail. The panelist can enter this special code on a retailer's website in order to pick out and then receive their free merchandise.

Online survey companies that are not legitimate are the ones that are not survey companies at all - they are marketing companies. Sometimes you will see outrageous claims such as "Make $500 in 5 minutes!" on the internet and when you see these, you can almost be sure that this is a scam.

Marketing companies take your information and sell it - they won't send you any surveys, but will only facilitate your inbox in being clogged with unwanted e-mails.

To differentiate between what is real and what is not, look for a few key things before registering with an online survey company: look for a privacy policy, look for any approval by the Better Business Bureau, look for a Truste logo, memberships to various market research associations, etc. If you see most or at least some of these accreditations on an online market research company's website, you can almost be certain that it is indeed legitimate.

To register as a panelist, simply fill in the registration form and check you e-mail for online surveys. When you get an e-mail invitation, complete the survey, and collect your reward. Online surveys are simple, fun and profitable - if taken right.

Veronica Dubak is an SEO expert, internet entrepreneur, and owner of the successful SurveyBounty.com online paid surveys directory. With a comprehensive listing of market research companies classified by region, and background information on the online survey industry, SurveyBounty.com is the most legitimate source for online survey information.

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