- Personal Finance
Paid Surveys - An introduction
Ok, so this is my first ever blog and I thought I would use it to share my experiences of using online paid survey sites. In case anyone doesn't know about these already, they are market research sites where you can earn money for giving your opinions on certain topics. These opinions are valuable to all types of companies looking to do some market research. For example, Coke wants to bring out a delicious new nettle drink but are not sure how the concept will be received by the general public... Solution: Ask a snap shot of 5,000 different people what they think of the concept before spending even more money bringing something to market that people just don't want.
I get paid between 10p and about £3 per survey, each lasting between 2 minutes and about half an hour so we are not talking mega money here but it does mount up surprisingly quickly. The surveys are generally paid by Paypal, Vouchers (such as Amazon) or by cheque. So far this year I have bought a Nintento DSi XL and about 5 games with my Amazon vouchers and am saving up for a laptop with my paypal.
Over the next few days I am going to start reviewing some of these sites and detailing which ones have been the best earners for me.
If anyone reading this has comments about any of the companies I have already reviewed or knows of any good UK survey sites I am missing, I would love to hear from you!
Total Earnings for the year:
Paid in Vouchers - you can chose Amazon, HMV, Tesco, M&S, John Lewis, Topman, Argos, Boots, Marriott Hotels.
Min Cashout: £10
Overall Rating: 8/10
Right, the first survey company I'm going to describe has been my steadiest form of income from surveys over the past year and in this time I have accumulated £90, which is my highest total.
After registering, they send various surveys to the email address supplied which can be completed by clicking on the links - some of these surveys do tend to "Screen out" which is what happens if, after filling in a few profiling questions, you are not in the demographic they are looking for. If this happens you will not be paid. You will receive a monetary reward for every completed survey however, and will not fob you off with any sweepstakes entries (which some companies do - more of which later).
I have only cashed in Amazon vouchers so far and they are electronic and can be redeemed straight away (unlike the rewards for some other survey sites). It would be nice if they offered Paypal as a reward option in my opinion but there are a good choice of available vouchers.
The surveys themselves are on a broad range of subjects, from drinks to search engines, shops to chewing gum and often contain adverts that you are asked to view and give an opinion on.
In conclusion then, if you are looking for somewhere to start I would totally recommend Valued Opinions as although the pay is fairly average and you do not get rewarded for surveys that you are screened out from, the available surveys are very frequent and receiving of rewards is completely hassle free.
Global Test Market
Annual Earnings: £63
Rewards: Paid in cheque form
Min cashout: £30
Overall Rating: 6/10
Global Test Market is a company based in the US. Like Valued Opinions you will be sent emails with invites to take part in surveys which give rewards either in the form of Market Points (expect to earn just over £1 for each survey) or entries into a prize draw. I have never won a prize draw so have stopped completing these surveys as they appear to be a waste of time.
When you reach the required amount of market points (the equivalent of about £30), you can cash out and after a month or so should receive a cheque - this cheque is sent from overseas so can take some time to arrive but it should eventually. It is fairly unusual for a survey company to pay in cheques and may be quite desirable for some people as it can be paid straight into a bank account. I think I would prefer to be paid into paypal but this is a personal choice I guess.
This survey site used to be arguably my biggest earner but has really gone downhill in the past 6 months or so, I now regularly get screened out of surveys (and hence receive nothing) after putting in quite a bit of time and probably only manage to complete about 1 in 6 that I am sent and now it is just an average earner for me. I do, however like the friendly way this company seems to contact me with jaunty comments when I complete a survey etc.
Overall then, this Global Test Market is still a decent company to do surveys for but is not the leading star that it once was.
Annual Earnings: £17.75
Rewards: Paid in cheque form
Min Cashout: £50
Overall Rating: 6/10
Yougov is based in the UK but has operations in other countries. As with other companies, you will be sent emails with links to surveys that can be completed. These tend to be between 50p and £2, depending on their length and are added to a running total of the money earned so far.
Once you have earned £50, you can apply for a cheque to be sent to your address, which takes a few weeks. As with Global Test Market, I would prefer to be paid instantly in the form of paypal but currently the only option here is cheque payment. Now, mathematicians amongst you may have noticed something here - with annual earnings of under £20 and a minimum cash out of £50, you are really looking at over 2 years before any return is seen from this site.
One quite nice thing about Yougov is it seems to be well respected and I have often seen statistics quoted in newspapers from Yougov so your opinions are being used in the press - which makes me think it is quite worthwhile! Another point to note is that I never get screened out of surveys and the questions tend to be a bit more interesting than most other survey sites. They will include questions on politics or news stories in the surveys, which is sometimes a nice break from constant questions about which beers I drink!
In conclusion then, Yougov has interesting questionnaires, the payment is fairly good per minute spent answering surveys and it is a well respected company. The lack of frequent surveys and the high cash out value, however, means I can only recommend this company to people who are going to stick with it for a number of years.
Ipsos Access Panels
Annual Earnings: £42.33
Rewards: Amazon & John Lewis Vouchers, leisure vouchers, capital bonds, donation to charity.
Min Cashout: £10
Overall Rating: 7/10
IAP is the survey arm of Ipsos Market Research. You are able to earn points with each point equaling roughly 0.6p. Emails are sent out with links to surveys that are worth generally between 30p and £1.50, depending on the time taken to finish the survey. They are not badly paid compared to some other sites but are not as good as others, such as Valued Opinions.
When you have reached £10 in your account, which should take a few months, you can apply for a voucher. I tend to go for Amazon vouchers which are sent electronically and are sent very quickly. If you chose, you can go for another voucher or give the earnings to one of several charities affiliated with the site.
I do find the survey invites somewhat sporadic, some months I receive several and some I get none at all. The surveys themselves are pretty generic for this kind of site and generally involve asking how much of certain items you buy and what you think of new adverts. They seem to have a variety of products to ask your opinion on though, I have had beer, jeans, trains, finance and mouth wash recently.
They do offer some invites that do not offer points but only entries to a prize draw but I tend to ignore these as I have never won anything. One thing of note is that they enter you into more exciting prize draws if you have done more surveys, kind of like a loyalty bonus.
Overall then, IAP are a good allrounder - they are in my top five highest earners, have a sensible voucher cashout value which you should achieve fairly soon and have a fair payment per survey.
Annual Earnings: £45
Min Cashout: £3
Overall Rating: 9/10
Ah, Pinecone.... the holy grail of the survey hunter. The first rule of Pinecone is that nobody talks about Pinecone. Nah, it's not qute that bad but they don't like being talked about and each surveys need you to sign a disclaimer to ensure their projects are not discussed, so I will not go into any great detail but they tend to involve various questions for new household product or snack food product launches. Some of these will result in them sending out a product for you to test and give your opinions on.
For each of these questionnaires the payment is £3, which is sent to a paypal account within a week of completing the survey. In the past, they have sent luncheon vouchers but changed over to paypal about a year ago. This, in my opinion was a very good step forward and is my preferred method of receiving a reward.
I tend to receive a survey every fortnight or so and the surveys themselves can be quite time consuming and a little repetitive but the rate of pay is better than the vast majority of survey sites and is my favourite, even though it is only 5th on my earnings list, due to the payment structure. It is also quite interesting to have an idea of new products that are likely to be launched to market.
Pinecone do take the quality of the surveys and the responses very seriously and for this reason the site is invite only, so anyone wishing to join will need to be invited by a current member or find a (rare) banner online to click on.
Overall then, Pinecone are probably the best survey site to be a member of and if you see a banner advertising an opportunity to join, I would recommend you do so!