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Are Online Survey Jobs A Scam? The Answer Is...
So, here's the skinny on online survey jobs. Most of the online survey companies operate under a similar schematic. You must pay to join. Many skeptics will stop right there and ask, why pay to get paid? Many individuals will think you must be pretty gullible if you think you will get paid at all when you sign up.
Most of us in the hubpages community absolutely love to write. We are glad we encountered this community because we can do what we enjoy doing with that possibility of getting paid royalties. It does however take a lot of time and effort to begin making any significant amount of money. At least we did not have to pay to sign up.
Whether you are writing on hubpages as a hobby with the added benefit of earning some extra cash to supplement income or you are writing on hubpages and many other sites full time, as a freelance writer, it is possible that you have looked into other ways of generating on-line revenue.
For those of you who have seen ads regarding online survey jobs, but were very hesitant and skeptical. You can learn about them from me. I know firsthand. I consider myself an 'informed risk taker' so I was not totally averse to going ahead and signing up for an online survey 'job'. Here is what I encountered:
1. Without getting into the specifics of what company I used and reiterating that the schematic for all those researched was just about the same, I found that the out of pocket cost to sign up was $20. A basic, secure on-line transaction, not for those that become faint hearted when it comes to on-line shopping. If you are fine with shopping on-line, but feel wary of giving information to a company that you do not already know to be reputable, that might rule you out from taking this 'risk'.
If this first step has not stopped you in your tracks, and you are willing to learn more, my only advice is to check your bank activity and credit report frequently, something you should always do anyway.
If you're still reading, I'm impressed, although you are probably reading not because you have any interest in signing up for one of these survey jobs but because you were always curious about how they actually operate.
On-line survey jobs definitely have a bad rep. for being scams. It might be the gossip of the day or a true reflection of people's reactions to these jobs.
First of all, they are not jobs at all. That description might be where we falter. If you go in thinking that you will be paid like you would an hourly or salaried rate at a job, you are mistaken.
Once that factor is elucidated, it really become a matter of defining "scam".
scam (skam) n. slang A fraudulent scheme, especially for making money, Oxford American Dictionary.
So, let's see: You are definitely not going to make money quickly and you are already $20 in the hole. Is it a scam yet?...
2. The second step after handing over your credit/debit card information and having 20 bucks withdrawn from your account is the following: You are granted access to an unlimited number of survey sources. Your 'FAQs' will advise you not to put all your eggs in one basket, but to be open to signing up with many of the sources, each of which you will need a separate user name and password for. So, who's got that kind of time?
3. Once you learn that you have 'unlimited' access to a directory of survey sites, you have to think about what that means. Unless you are planning to set up four computers and juggle a lot of activity, you will carefully discern which of the survey networks you want to join. I set up approx. 6 usernames and passwords but quickly abandoned the majority of them, I began checking just 2 accounts regularly. In the survey 'job' marketing campaign, you often see an image of a man in a beach chair, surfing the internet to answer surveys, while catching some rays on the beach. For me personally, that tactic would never work.
If you've read on of my other hubs, http://hubpages.com/hub/My-Favorite-Place, you might sense that I would not have any desire to take my computer with me when I go to the beach.
4. If you stick with just 2 survey accounts like I did, you will find continuous claims that you can be paid to take a survey, The catch is that you first have to qualify for taking the survey. Various questions are asked about your income level, your job sector (i.e.- do you work in retail?), whether or not you are a smoker, etc.
5. After being asked the defining questions numerous times and learning that I was not eligible to take surveys, I quickly gave up, finding it to be a waste of time. If you decide not to pursue the surveys, like I did, then the next step is to see what other options there are for at least earning back your $20 membership fee.
6. You'll find that your other options are as follows: get 'paid' to open and read emails, get paid to play computer based games like solitaire or slots, or get cash back/bonus points for your on-line shopping at certain websites (more spending money to 'earn' money). I soon found myself participating in these options. If I was buying something on-line anyway, I would link it to one of the survey accounts. Through the 2sec it took to open an email, I would earn 2cents. Additionally, earning 1million points through on-line gaming earns $4. You better love the game because it takes several days of playing to reach 1 million points.
7. These survey sites do not cash out until you reach an earning of $35 or more. Then you can request a check. If you decide that it is something that would be fun to do, it involves spending about 15 minutes each morning opening up emails in an email account dedicated to the venture. Two cents per email adds up very slowly. If you let it pile up (i.e- going over a week without checking any of those emails, which I have done many a time), then you'll find that whatever 2 cent offer is in your inbox has expired. Checking everyday or every few days is best.
8. After maybe a full year, having opened hundreds of messages and following at least 2 survey accounts, you will parlay your $20 membership fee into an earnings of $100 or a bit more.
The take home message is that time is money and in this case you're getting very little money for a disproportionate amount of time.
If you carve out a little time in your day to do it, you have to think of opening the emails like watching television, reading a novel or a magazine. Opening the emails is a bit of an idle pastime, not as rewarding as reading a book, but we are all allowed to waste a few minutes of our days just for the heck of it. That is where these survey sites belong -in the 'just for the heck of it' container.
It does not pay like a job and it does not feel like work either. If you decide to take this plunge, you too are now an informed risk taker. You in fact now know a lot more than I did when I paid my $20. Lucky for me, I was not expecting much anyway.
You can check out my other hub, http://hubpages.com/hub/What-to-Look-For-When-Shopping-For-a-Used-Vehicle and remember that if you're going to be a risk taker, always be a well informed one.