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Making Money Taking Surveys: an Optimal Foraging Approach

Updated on January 18, 2017

Online Surveys

There are various webpages and apps that will pay you small amounts of money for taking surveys. Taking these surveys is not particularly difficult but it can become tedious. And the pay is very low so it pays to have an efficient approach to avoid wasting your time and reducing the pay rate to pennies an hour.

1) Join reputable sites

Not all survey sites are equal and they come in a range of formats, rates, rules an payout systems. I would suggest picking two or three of these sites to begin with to see how you go. I would suggest the following to start with. They both pay money, have a low minimum, and I have checked that they do pay out.

Quest Mindshare: Pays money via Paypal, minimum $10.

QuickThoughts: Pays in iTunes vouchers, minimum $10

Surveys on the Go: Pays money via Payal, minimum $10, small pay out for surveys when you are screened out.


What do you think is the most profitable survey site?

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2) Set up notifications

Set up the system that notifies you when a survey is available. For Quest Mindshare this is done via email. For Surveys on the Go you can load an app that sends a push notification the second a survey is available.

3) Do not manually check for surveys

This is key: only do the surveys when you get a notification. You can make money with surveys but the work is not scalable. That means that if you check more often, you will not earn more money. Any time you waste with fruitless checking is just reducing your effort to profit ratio.

4) Check your monthly profits

Different people do better on different sites depending on what kind of demographics they are after. Keep a tally of what you make regularly, such as every month. Keep on the sites where you earn the best, try new ones occasionally to see if you can find a better deal.

Finally--Why Surveys Do Not Pay Well

The amount most sites pay seems reasonable, until you take into account that you will probably be "screened out" and not paid for at least to surveys for each one you finished and are paid for. You also waste a lot of time filling in the same demographic information for every survey.

Surveys will not be a serious source of income until some site works out how to auto-fill these basic fields and auto-screen so that we are only offers surveys we qualify for. In this day and age, it should not be that difficult to do!

Photo credits

1) Tablet -- Author: hitsnooze / photo on flickr


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    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 2 years ago from New York

      In MHO, surveys are a waste of time. For the small amount of pay received for time spent, personally, I would rather spend my time building a website that will earn me more for my time and effort spent. Just saying....

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      thanks, i will try quest mindshare, never try surveys before.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I am a member of two "Rewards Central" a "My Opinion". They pay ok but it gets tedious doing surveys and I don't do all I am notified about. If you have the time and patience you can make a bit of money from surveys.