Taking Online Surveys for Money
By Steve Gillman - August 25, 2012
We've all seen the claims, which are usually something like
this: You can make money doing surveys online! It's fun and easy!
Yes, you can take surveys for money -- or something close
to money. I can say this with certainty because I have now done
it. I like to try out these odd ways to make cash from time to
time, so I signed up on a site that lists all the best survey-taking
companies online. Then I signed up at the individual survey company
websites and started to get messages like this in my email regularly:
You've got a survey waiting!
Let them wait. It wasn't that it was an outright scam, but
it is not as easy to get paid as the promoters claim. To start
with, with most of these companies you don't get cash directly.
You get points that can be redeemed for gift cards. Some offer
cash, although that's usually through your Paypal account, so
you'll need to open one if you haven't already.
But that's if you even get paid at all. In many cases -- make
that most of the time -- you will start a survey and then a screen
will come up to tells you you don't meet the qualifications or
the survey quota is full. In those cases you will get a contest
entry or something similarly worthless as a consolation prize
for wasting your time.
Consider surveysavvy.com, for example. I just received an
offer from them to take a survey that will take an estimated
five minutes and pays $1 (they are one of the few that specify
an amount of money rather than points). I will not bother with
this one, because every time I've started one I've been excluded
after taking the "preliminary" part.
Perhaps i-say.com is the worst in this respect. I believe
I have started seven or more surveys with them and have never
been able to complete one. Of course it could just be my particular
characteristics. So if you are 48, male, and not in debt, and
don't have medical problems, don't waste your survey-taking time
on i-say.com, or you'll see this quite often:
It appears that a sufficient number of respondents with
a similar profile have already completed this study, or that
your profile does not exactly match our needs for this study.
We apologize for the inconvenience. To thank you for your time
- 5 reward points will be added to your account and you have
received an entry into the $5,000 monthly Click Draw.
Of course there is no way to know what the real value of these
drawings are. Consider this offer from a few days ago from npdor.com:
Upon completing this survey, you will earn all of the following:
- 25 SweepLand® points, which can be used as entries
into a variety of exciting sweepstakes;
An increase in your Survey Points Booster status -- you'll receive
50 points for your next completed survey.
- A chance to instantly win up to $500 cash, or up to 500
SweepLand bonus points!
- An automatic entry into our monthly drawing for five
$1,000 cash prizes!
What does any of that mean? They don't mention how many entries
there are in any of the drawings, so how would we know if it
is worth anything? They might do a drawing once annually and
have thousands of people in each, making it unlikely that you'll
ever get anything. One survey site does specify that they draw
50 names for a $10 prize each, but they do not say how many people
As for the points, each company does that part a bit differently.
For example, at MySurvey.com you need 1,000 points to get a $10
gift card. That's how it looks at first, anyhow. But when I tried
to redeem my points at 1,030 I discovered that almost all the
cards require 1,100 points.
I had to wait a day to take two more surveys, and then I got
a $10 card for Carrabba's Italian Grill sent to me. We eat out
quite a bit, so this is like cash for myself, but I better enjoy
that food since it took me about five or six hours of answering
questions about health issues and my impressions of various sodas
and consumer electronics to get enough to pay for half of a meal.
MySurvey.com is the best I found, by the way, which is depressing.
I don't expect to make a penny from any of the others; it would
just take too long to accumulate points from the occasional survey
I might complete.
But perhaps there are other benefits. Due perhaps to answering
"yes" to "Do you ever feel sad?" on one survey,
I was invited to participate as a human guinea pig in a trial
for a new depression medication. They would have paid me $50
each time I went to the doctor (and paid for the doctor and medication,
of course), but I declined.
Make money with surveys? Don't count on it.