Do you ever wonder how it is that companies seem to know just what we want when they launch a new product?
Seriously, it sometimes seems like they’re reading our minds when they come up with new versions of products that do exactly what we want them to do. How do they know what we want? Are they just really good at guessing? Do they have some strange insight into what other people want?
The truth is that they do have special insight. But that insight doesn’t come from some extraordinary ability. It comes from people just like you.
You see, companies know what people want, because they ask.
People like you and me all around the world are spending a little bit of their time each day answering survey questions and testing out product prototypes to help companies figure out exactly what it is that most people want.
That’s where the opportunity is for you and me.
You see, people are rarely willing to spend the time it takes to answer survey questions if they don’t get anything in return. So companies offer us a small fee in exchange for our opinions.
This isn’t something you can do to build your fortune. It would be extremely difficult for it to even replace a full-time job. But if you want a simple, no-cost way to make a few extra bucks from home, then survey sites could be a good option for you.
That’s why I’m taking the time to write about how to make the most of survey sites, and how to keep from getting scammed in the process. And as a bonus, I’ve included links to several sites that I have personally vetted.
So here it goes. How to make the most of survey sites.
Sign up for several survey sites
If you’re serious about earning extra income by filling out surveys and conducting online searches, then sign up for as many of the sites in this article as you can.
Each site is probably only going to send you a few opportunities each day. So if you only sign up for one, your earning potential is going to be really limited. You may have one site that’s your favorite. That’s great! So do all the surveys you can on that site, but sign up on a few others just to have some more opportunities to earn income.
That said, you may not like how some of these companies reward you, or maybe they’re sending you too many emails. Go ahead and drop any that you dislike. It won’t hurt my feelings. Just don’t limit your earnings by not looking into more than one or two.
All of the research companies I discuss in this article are legitimate companies. Feel free to sign up for as many of them as you like. Like I said before, the more you sign up for, the more opportunities you’ll get to earn cash.
Avoid the scam sites!
There are some survey sites that are just complete scams. You’ll fill out surveys and never actually get paid. Or it could be worse. They could be out there trying to steal people’s information for any number of uses.
Here are some red flags that should warn you to steer clear. If any one of these flags is present, don’t sign up for the site.
- They want you to pay them. There are some sites that will ask you for money up front for access to their surveys. This doesn’t always mean scam, but rule number 1 of getting paid for surveys, never pay! They’re supposed to pay you for your time and opinion, not the other way around. So if they ask you for money, just leave.
- They seem too good to be true. Most of the time, things that seem too good to be true are just that. If a company offers you $100 for a 10-minute survey that asks for personal information, it’s probably not legit. You’ll never make your fortune on survey sites. You won’t even earn a full-time income. So if a survey site suggests that they’ll be able to replace your full-time job, walk away.
- You didn’t actually sign up for the site. That’s right, there are a lot of these sites that buy your email address from other sites, and then email you as if you were already a member of their survey site. They email you survey opportunities and everything. The problem is, you never signed up with them. This is a red flag and you’re better off unsubscribing from their email list.
There are other sites that are completely legitimate—as in they will actually pay you—but they’re not what they seem. Here are a couple examples.
Sites that aren’t actually survey sites or research companies
There are sites like this that act as a middle-man and after you sign up, they give you a list of survey sites to sign up for. First of all, this is a waste of your time. Signing up on sites like this provides you with no real benefit, and just gives your information to one more company that will use it for their benefit. The end result is that you get a ton more spam email.
Second, sites like this will sometimes try to upsell you. Yes, they will try to get you to buy access to some “exclusive” list or some sort of membership benefits. This is not worth your money. You’re never going to make your fortune filling out surveys online, so just stick with the good sites and avoid the ones that only exist to provide you “access” to more spammy sites that may or may not be legit.
In short, these sites don’t actually provide you any surveys, only lists of other survey providers. So don’t waste your time here. Just skip to the good sites listed in this article.
Sites that use MLM tactics
In case you don’t know, MLM is Multi-Level Marketing. It’s how a lot of health products are sold. You sign up your friends and they sign up their friends and in the end, you get a percentage of every sale sold under you. Sounds like a great way to make money without as much work right?
Except that under this model, your cut us only a fraction of what it would be if you were the store owner selling the product off the shelf. The real winner here is the company that makes the product, because they save tons of money on marketing and only have to pay you a fraction of what it would cost them to sell the same product at a store.
The same applies for survey sites.
I actually came across a survey site that like the type I mentioned above, doesn’t actually provide the surveys. But they took it one step further. They get surveys from real research companies, have you fill out the survey, and then pay you 35% of the revenue earned from that survey. Then, if you get your friends to sign up, you’ll get 10% of the revenue earned from their surveys. If they get their friends to sign up, you get 5% of your friends’ friends survey revenue. So, eventually, if your network grows big enough, you make a few bucks a month without actually having to do any surveys yourself!
Except let’s think about that for a minute. If you do a survey through them, you get 35% of the revenue for doing the survey. But if you do the survey through an actual research company, then you get 100% of the revenue. So why would you ever agree to earn only 35%?
This is the model I found when I went to Survey Downline. The idea here is that you get hooked on getting something for nothing. That is, you earn a few cents every time someone in your network fills out a survey. But trust me, you’ll earn a log more just filling out surveys now and then for a reputable research company.
These are only a couple examples of the different survey gimmicks out there. Avoid these! Don’t waste your time on them. And even more importantly, stay away from the ones that don’t look totally legitimate. It’s not worth the risk of having your identity stolen to try to make a few bucks filling out surveys.
Fill out the information and answer the surveys truthfully
When you sign up for these sites, and when you’re filling out surveys, you’re going to be asked a lot of questions about yourself. They’ll ask about kids at home, income range, ethnicity, etc. Be honest.
This information is important for the work these companies are doing. So it doesn’t do them any good if you give them bogus information.
It’s also important to be truthful because these companies use the information you put in to provide you with surveys that are actually relevant to you. So if you lie, you’re not going to get the surveys that are well suited to you.
You’re better off just telling the truth.
Nine sites you should sign up for today
Alright, so now let’s get to what you really came here for. These are some of the survey sites that I have personally vetted and believe are good opportunities to earn some side income in your spare time.
American Consumer Opinion
American Consumer Opinion probably one of the most legitimate research companies I could recommend. Surveys take about 10 minutes to complete and you get paid for each one. Every now and then, you’ll also get to test new products which can be a cool perk.
Swagbucks can be kind of fun. Instead of cash, you earn gift cards, but you can get gift cards for Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc. so it’s almost as good as cash. All you have to do is fill our surveys, watch videos, and any number of other online activities you’re probably already doing, and you’ll earn those gift cards. And when you sign up using the link below, you’ll earn $5.00 just for signing up.
You can sign up for Swagbucks here.
Survey Junkie is a pretty straight forward survey site. You create a free account and then they match up your profile with surveys that are looking for people like you. This one can be great for actually earning money because you get paid cash via Paypal or as gift cards.
You can sign up for Survey Junkie here.
Nielsen Digital Voice
Another one you may be interested in related to this one is Nielsen Digital Voice. Nielsen has been doing research for over 90 years and is very legitimate, but their program works a little differently. With Nielsen Digital Voice, you actually install an app on your computer or other device. Then, when you surf the web, it gathers data.
Now, this may be a bit too “big brother” for some of you and that’s fine. But Nielsen assures us that our privacy is protected and that their app won’t affect the performance of our devices.
The other area that Nielsen Digital Voice is a little different is that you don’t just earn cash for the data you give them. You actually earn entries into their monthly cash giveaway sweepstakes. The more you surf the web, the more entries you earn. They give away something like $120,000 per year. The downside to that is you’re not actually guaranteed to earn anything. The upside is that if you do earn something, it’s likely to be more like $1,000.
You can learn more about Nielsen Digital Voice by clicking here.
Pinecone Research does product research and testing. If you sign up for Pinecone Research, you’ll get paid to fill out surveys and sometimes get products to test and review. It’s a great company as far as paid surveys go, but the downside is that you can’t just sign up any time you want. When they’re looking for new panelists for their surveys and product testing, they advertise on external sites. So if you see an advertisement for Pinecone Research and you’re interested in their program, then click on their ad then and there to sign up.
If you want to learn more, check out Pinecone Research here.
Pro Opinion is an actual research company that publishes the results of their own work. Once you join their panel, they provide you with surveys on a regular basis. You get them via email, or you can just login and browse current opportunities. Surveys earn you points that can be redeemed for cash via Paypal or for gift cards.
You can sign up for Pro Opinion here.
VIP voice is another survey site that mostly asks you about the products you like to buy, and why you like them. When you fill our surveys, you earn points. Unlike, some of the other sites, you don’t get to redeem your points directly for cash or gift cards. You redeem them to be entered into sweepstakes. The more surveys you answer, the greater your chances of winning. Plus, over time you can work your way up into sweepstakes for better prizes.
You can sign up for VIP Voice here.
InboxDollars is a legitimate rewards website. Once you sign up, they’ll start sending you emails, basically every day, with opportunities to fill our surveys, play games, shop, search, and find coupons. Each of these activities will earn you cash. And once again, when you sign up using the link below, you’ll earn $5.00 right off the bat.
If you’re interested, you can sign up for InboxDollars here
YouGov is a little bit different, not because it works all that differently, but because the topics of their research is different, which can be refreshing when you fill out so many surveys. Their researched doesn’t focus on products or consumer behavior. Rather, it focuses on things like government, society, and life in general. YouGov is also a research company, so their surveys are being used directly to publish their own report.
You can sign up for YouGov here.
We’ve described some of the best survey and research sites out there here. If you’re looking to make a little extra money this month, spending a few hours filling out surveys could be the easiest way to do that right from the comfort of your own home.
In addition to these sites, there are tons of other online survey and research sites out there that will pay you for your opinion. Just be careful to avoid the scams and the sites that will just waste your time and fill up your inbox!
Here is a list of survey and research sites we’ve found that we believe to be legitimate. Not all of these have been vetted as thoroughly as the ones above though, so make sure you follow the guidelines on which ones to join and which to avoid.
American Consumer Opinion
Nielsen Digital Voice
Product Report Card
Harris Poll Online
Clear Voice Surveys
*some of these links are affiliate links. That doesn’t cost you anything, but it does help support our site. Regardless of whether a link is to an affiliate or not, we never recommend products that we don’t stand behind.
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