- Business and Employment
How to Safely Make Money Online Doing Paid Surveys
Participating in online surveys
One of the simplest ways of making some extra "money" online is by joining survey panels and participating in surveys. These are often a fun way to spend some time, to learn about new products, and get rewarded for your time. However, it is also a field that attracts a lot of scam artists and spammers. To get the most out of participating in online surveys, there are some basic principles you should follow.
Earn some spare change
Paid surveys should be a hobby
Always keep in mind that participating in online surveys should only be considered as a source of extra income (rather than regular, reliable income). Participation in surveys should be a hobby, it is not a job. Any panel that says you can "earn" hundreds or thousands of dollars a month doing surveys is lying.
To increase your "earning" potential, sign up to a handful of panels to increase your chances of being selected to participate in surveys. There is no shortage of online survey panels available on the internet, but you must be able to identify a legitimate survey panel from a scam.
How to Identify Legitimate Survey Sites
Take note of the following tips to avoid being caught out by scam artists and spammers. Whilst there are plenty of fake survey sites on the internet, there are also lots of really good quality legitimate survey sites. Here are some points to note before signing up to any survey panel.
- If you have to pay to join or reveal any credit card details, it’s a scam.
- Depending on your country, there are laws governing legitimate market research in terms of what information is collected in surveys and how it gets stored. In each country, there will usually be an industry body that sets the standards for this, so look for this information on the site. Make sure the company is a member of the governing market research body in that particular country.
- Check that the company has an address, contact details, and is a registered business (there are different ways to check this depending on your country).
Before you sign up to any online survey panels, you may want to set up a separate email account just to receive survey invitations, as you will find your inbox will become quite congested with these invites. If you find you are receiving to many invitations, some panels have an option to allow you to reduce the frequency which you receive survey invitations.
Take a Survey
Filling out your profile
After finding some online survey panels to join, you need to go about filling out your profile. It is really important that you take the time to fill in all the profile questions carefully, and that you update your information regularly. Major life events such as getting married, going to college, retiring alter your demographic dramatically - so be sure to do a profile update at least once a year. This information is what the company will use to send you surveys in which you may qualify to participate. Therefore if your profile is incomplete or inaccurate, chances are your aren't going to qualify for many surveys.
Once your profile is complete, it is a matter of simply waiting to be sent surveys. It may be a few days or a few weeks until you get sent a survey, it just depends on the demographics that companies are looking for. Be sure to add the company's survey invite email address to your contacts list to avoid having survey invites ending up in your spam folder.
Accumulating survey earnings
Each survey will “pay” a different amount, and usually this amount will generally be added to the “balance” of your account. Once your balance reaches a certain amount, you can elect to “redeem your points” or “cash out”. Every panel you join will be different, in terms of how they reward you and the minimum balance needed to redeem your earnings. Some might reward you with cash, PayPal payments or gift cards from certain retailers.
It takes time to accumulate earnings and this is why online surveys should never be considered a reliable source of income, rather as a way to make a little bit of extra money over time. Some patience is required, as it could take three months of regular participation in surveys before you can redeem your earnings. If after this time-frame you are nowhere near the minimum redemption amount, don’t keep wasting your time with that survey panel! Delete your account and try somewhere else.
Keeping track of survey earnings
It would be worthwhile to keep a table or spreadsheet of the date you joined the a particular panel and the time taken to earn enough points to make a redemption. That way you can decide whether or not a particular panel is worth your time and effort.
Looking at the table below, if the date was November 3, with no rewards yet from Panel 3 it may be worth reconsidering your panel membership.
Example table for survey earnings
$20 Pay Pal 8/8/13
$20 Pay Pal 11/3/13
$15 Amazon 9/9/13
Why Do Online Surveys?
Why Do You Participate in Online Surveys?
Be realistic about paid surveys
It is possible to safely earn money online from participating in paid surveys, by following a few basic principles. The key to remember is participating in surveys is not going to make you rich, they are just a fun way to make some extra money. If you choose your survey panels wisely, you will not receive any spam and can be reassured that your details are secure. Choose carefully and enjoy spending your survey money!