Most everyone could use a way to earn a little extra cash for the wants and needs in their life. The advent and dramatically increased popularity – now necessity – of the internet has opened the proverbial door to a number of potentially lucrative opportunities to earn some extra money. However, it should also be noted that the internet is a minefield of scams and time wasters. It is important to know what to look for and what sites are shown to provide the best results.
Many people might wonder why anyone would pay for their opinion to begin with. This is a good question with a simple answer: marketing.
Marketing is integral to business today. There are so many competing brands and services out there that it can seem impossible for companies to find their target market and get the word out about their product to the people who would be interested in it. This is part of why marketing has become such a key part of running a business.
What the world of big data has shown businesses is that information has value – even if it isn’t to them. This has led to new and improved ways of what is called “data mining,” or simply collecting as much data from users as possible and worrying about what to do with all that data at a later date. This has led to a drastic increase in the amount of seemingly irrelevant consumer data companies like to have. You can leverage this need for your own gain and earn a bit of money while also helping to effect the consumer market in a real way.
Paid surveys have obvious attractive qualities: you can earn money from the comfort of your own home. One does not have to have a ton of qualifications or particular experience in order to take part. Marketing firms are looking for information about average, everyday people – people like you and me.
A Word of Caution
Pretty much since the dawn of time there have been any number of “get rich quick” schemes. From selling vacuums door-to-door, flipping houses as described by late-night television infomercials, and now, quick ways to earn a buck online. It is safe to say that most of these “opportunities” are no more than scams to try to get information out of you or to somehow swindle you into buying something.
The old rule of thumb “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” most definitely applies to the internet in general, and money making opportunities in particular. Do not let yourself be swayed by something that seems too lucrative or too easy – more often than not, there is a catch and that catch means that the opportunity is not what is appears to be.
It helps, whether you are looking for information online or just looking to make a few extra bucks to be a savvy internet consumer. Don’t assume every result that comes up in a Google search for “earn money online” is going to be a legitimate opportunity. You have to use your common sense and do a little bit of research about the firm in question to ensure that it is legitimate. It takes a little more time, but in the end, you end up wasting a lot less time on bunk money making ventures.
The Two Main Types of Surveys
When it comes to online surveys, they are generally given in one of two ways: in the form of a general survey that one answers a set of predetermined questions, or a focus group.
The basic survey is pretty straight forward. This will be a set of a certain amount of questions. Generally in online surveys, you are asked to choose between a number of preselected options, or you are asked to determine how strongly you agree or disagree with a statement, you may also be asked to what degree situation “x” applies to you. These usually have simple check boxes. If you come up against a question that would disqualify you from participation for any reason, you are simply taken back to a home screen.
With basic surveys, they tend to have a certain demographic that they are trying to reach and a few questions in, it might become clear that you are not the target demographic. Expect that there will be certain paid surveys for which you will not qualify for. Stay motivated, there are plenty more where that came from.
Focus groups are more like a discussion panel than a question and answer format like a traditional survey. These can take place online and generally occur in a chat room or messaging-type forum where everyone can respond with thoughts, comments, questions, etc., in real time. Often, focus groups take place in person – there is an actual brick-and-mortar location that participants meet at. At these groups, you are generally seated with a group of fellow participants and someone who leads and guides the group.
As they tend to take more time than a traditional survey, focus groups are often more lucrative than a paid survey. It should be noted that this is because they take a great deal more time and commitment than a survey, especially if you actually have to be somewhere at a certain place or time. Participants are almost always given refreshments of some sort and are paid based on the length of the focus group and the company hosting it. Details about the particulars of your focus group will be given to you once you have signed up.
Trusted Survey Sites
While you should most definitely proceed with caution when it comes to any making money online venture, surveys truly are a great way to make a few extra bucks in your free time. The only problem is weeding out the bad from the good opportunities. This takes a bit of research, but in the end, it is well worth the little bit of extra time.
Luckily, there are other people out there who are doing the legwork, allowing us to provide you with a list of vetted sites that are legitimate paid survey sites. If you are new to paid surveys or you just want to know that you can find a trustworthy site, what follows is a list of some of the most popular and lucrative of the myriad of paid survey sites. This list is not, by any means, exhaustive. There are plenty more reputable sites out there, but these are some of the best.
This is one of the more popular paid survey sites. On this site, you can earn points once a day by answering daily polls. You can also earn additional points by referring others to the site as well. The points can be redeemed for gift certificates at places like Amazon and even actual cash, paid out via PayPal. Balances that exceed $5 can be requested for pay out.
On Swagbucks generally take about 20 minutes to complete most surveys. It should be noted that Swagbucks will let you take more than one survey a day, but you only receive points for one.
This is one of the more popular and lucrative of the paid survey sites we share here. Many people swear by this site which offers fast, reliable payouts at any earnings that exceed $10.
There is no limit to the number of surveys you can take, meaning that you have the potential to reach that payout amount in just days. Many people say this is their favorite of all the sites because of the ease of use, transparency of policies, and fast payouts.
This is an option that is only open to UK residents. Rather than traditional paid surveys, FocusForce is more oriented towards focus groups, as the name implies.
These are both in person and online focus groups. Members of the group will receive daily emails with focus groups in the area that members may choose to participate in.
The focus groups generally take place in the evening hour, so as to accommodate people with full-time jobs. You have to live in M25 area in order to qualify for in person focus groups wit FocusForce.
While the in person groups are a bit more geographically limited, the online focus group panels are open to all residents of the UK, regardless of location.
Participants are paid at the time of the focus group and how much they are paid is dependent on the time spent in the group and other specifics.
This a popular survey site that is big with paid survey takers. This site is a little different in that not all surveys pay actual money. Participation in some surveys, rather, enters you into drawings for prizes like gift cards or cash gifts.
This is an easy-to-use site. It should be noted that you need to pay attention when selecting surveys on the site. It is up to you to catch whether it is a paid survey or an entry into a drawing.
This is another highly popular paid survey sides. You get points for every survey you take and there is a whole wealth of different surveys to choose from on their site.
The points translate to actual money that can be paid out as cash via PayPal, or in the form of gift certificates from a number of select location.
You only need to accrue $3 in order to request a payout on MySurvey, which is part of why it is so popular. Points can be exchanged for cash or gift cards, it is up to the user.
There is no limit to the number of surveys you can take, so your earning potential is quite high on this site.
Google Opinion Rewards
This is another popular choice. This is an app made by Google (currently only available for Android users) that allows users to answer surveys in exchange for credits that can be redeemed at the Google Play Store for any of the products sold there — such as games, music, books, movies, and more.
These surveys can be taken anytime, anywhere. They are fast and easy and the payout happens quickly. While you might not get much per survey, they are fast and easy to take meaning that you can easily crank out a lot of surveys.
This is one of the more reputable and popular options. While it does not pay out cash money, the products in the Google Play Store definitely make this app worth looking into. Once you download the app, you will need to allow it access to your location settings. You will be asked a few basic demographic questions. After this, you will receive alerts on you device when a new survey you qualify to participate in has become available.
Many tout this as the best paying survey site online and one of the simplest to use. Formerly called Ipsos, i-Say is a definite go-to site for those looking to earn a bit of extra cash.
There is a huge wealth of different surveys available on the site. You are rewarded with points for taking the surveys. Most users of i-Say take around four surveys in a given month, which translates into a gift certificate worth about $10 every month.
That’s not bad for just a few minutes answering easy questions.
Once you have reached the $10 payout requirement, you can request gift certificates that can be used at a variety of different retailers.
This is a highly reputable option, but there are a lot of eligibility requirements that must be met in order to participate in surveys on this site.
What it is is a site that is designed to match academic researchers with the demographic they wish to do research on. Whether or not you get invited to participate in surveys will depend on what type of information is currently needed at the time.
They pay some of the highest rates of all the paid survey sites, sometimes upwards of $10 per survey.
It should also be noted that the standards for this site are high. Those who participate on this site are given a “Prolific Score” which is a numerical indication of the quality of your survey responses. The lower your score, the less likely you are to be asked to participate in future surveys.
This is another big paid survey site that is highly popular amongst those who participate. They have surveys from a huge range of different topics and they have an abundance of available surveys you can take.
There is no limit to the number of surveys you can take, which helps amp up the earning potential of this site. The varied subject matter makes answering the surveys a little more entertaining.
The surveys are fast and easy to fill out. Panelbase even offers links to outside surveys that have money making potential. It should be noted that there have been some complaints about the length of some of the outside surveys people are invited to complete.
Panelbase also has other ways of earning a little extra money. They conduct focus groups too. Sometimes they offer product testing options. There is also the option to participate in market research opportunities such as keeping a detailed financial diary that Panelbase then uses in their demographic research.
With Panelbase, all earnings are either transferred directly to your bank account or paid out via Love2Shop gift certificates.
This is a US-based paid survey site. They offer a variety of different surveys and you are rewarded points which you exchange for cash that is deposited into your PayPal account. You can request a payout once you have accumulated at least 1,000 points on the site.
It should be noted that some of the surveys simply allow you to be entered into a drawing for a prize, they do not pay in points. It is important to check for this when participating in surveys on the site.
As noted above, you can request a payout as soon as your points meet or exceed 1,000. It can take a bit of time for GlobalTestMarket to process your payment request, but users note that almost all payment requests are completed within ten business days.
This is a very popular paid survey site. The subject material is fun, often having to do with relationships, celebrity, pop culture, and the like. The surveys are fast, fun, and easy to complete.
One thing to note about OnePoll — they do not send out emails or other notifications about a new survey option. You actually have to go to the site in order to see what is available each day.
The minimum amount needed to request a payout is a little higher on OnePoll than it is on other sites, requiring you to earn $40 before you can request payment.
The surveys don’t pay much by themselves, but they are so short and fast that the earnings do start to mount after awhile. You can also refer a friend to the site and receive a monetary bonus for everyone who signs up.
In addition to the basic site, there is also an app exclusively for the iPhone. There is no word as to whether there will be an Android option somewhere down the line. Once you have installed the app, you will receive notifications whenever a survey you qualify for becomes available.
Tips and Hints
There are some basic “best practices” that it helps to follow to ensure that you do not get taken advantage of and get the most from your paid survey experience – as well as how to avoid being excessively marketed to as a result of your participation.
First and foremost, do not leave your money in your account on a survey site after you have met the minimum requirement for requesting a payout. This ensures that, even if the site goes under at some future point in time, you get paid for the efforts you have put in.
It also helps to remember that these surveys are used for marketing purposes. This is what makes your answers to their questions so valuable. With that in mind, you should most definitely expect to see an up tick in the amount of advertisements you receive and other solicitations that could potentially come your way. This is why many recommend that you set up a separate email account to associate with your accounts on paid survey sites. This way, you can still participate without having your personal email inbox over innundated with ads.
Don’t expect to get rich or even approach earning a living by doing paid surveys. These are merely ways to earn a little extra cash here and there in your free time. Most people who do paid surveys make a few hundred dollars in cash and rewards each year. This is a nice addition to the bank account but by no means enough to live on. Even the most productive paid survey takers cannot make a living, but they can earn a decent amount of extra money, which is nothing to sneeze at. I have seen paid survey takers who have netted close to $1,000 in cash and other prizes in a given year.
Refer your friends whenever possible. You often get big rewards for getting others to join the site.
While you will never hit it rich taking paid surveys online, you can most certainly earn a little fun money or pocket cash for your efforts. There are many reputable places online that are looking to pay a few bucks here and there to get the opinions of their consumers. This information is used for marketing purposes, as well as a means to determine future products or markets.
Not every site is legitimate. A site that is looking to pay you for your opinions or information should never cost money to join. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Be careful what sites you spend your time on and who you give your information to.
If you choose reputable sites and put in the effort, you too can earn some extra spending money taking paid surveys online. By following the above stated advice and tips, you can easily earn a little extra money from the comfort and safety of your own home without fear of being swindled or excessively harassed.