Rockin’ the surveys — when it’s worth it.

In the past few weeks I’ve been having good luck with online surveys. Not only have I earned more than $20 for relatively little work, I’ve been asked to test several products.

Can’t say exactly what they are – confidentiality agreements – but they’re all things I was happy to get. Even though none of them was a pony.

Online surveys can be a nice way to bring in some extra dollars or some gift cards. Both can bolster your budget.

That said, I just canceled my memberships in three survey sites because I decided they were expecting too much and offering too little. For example, I might get 150 points for a survey — but the smallest reward cost 10,000 points.

Heck, one site doesn’t even give actual rewards: It lets you trade your points in for chances at cash drawings. Do the math.

And any time I see an invitation that offers 50 cents for a 40-minute survey, I pass.

Every little bit helps?

Some people wouldn’t. A number of the folks I interviewed said they do surveys while watching TV with family, keeping an eye on the kids in the yard or waiting for supper to cook. I bet plenty of cubicle workers keep surveys open on alternate screens, too.

For them, the 50 multitasked cents are a bonus. But I spend too much time on the computer as it is. I like getting the extra funds, but it needs to be maximum reward for minimum effort.

Thus I’ve decided to stick with surveys that are shorter and pay what I consider a decent amount – and like the folks above, I multitask. I keep a survey screen open while I’m doing other online chores, or eating an apple or, yeah, talking on the phone.

Come on, now: Don’t pretend you’ve never done your nails, folded laundry or killed Xbox aliens while chatting with your BFF.

My advice to you: Don’t join every survey company you’re invited to join, and if you don’t get good results, cancel.

Also: If you have your own site, surveys can be a good source of prizes. How else would I be able to give away so many Amazon.com gift cards?

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  1. I belong to about 12 different sites and I agree with you some are not worth the time and energy(even though there really is no energy involved). I have cashed checks for a total of about 500 dollars in the last 4 years and enjoyed many products to try.

  2. I just do one survey & it accumulates miles, that one I like. I also cancelled others though as I thought they just weren’t worth it.

    • Donna Freedman

      @Leah: I’ve been doing Clear Voice Surveys a lot. I’m in a demographic that fills up fast, so it’s a pleasant surprise to be accepted so much lately. You can take the rewards as an Amazon GC or through PayPal. I tend to do the GCs; in fact, I give them away on the site every so often. 🙂
      Incidentally, I’m heading back to Anchorage in December. Any chance you’ll be visiting your mom and dad? Maybe I’ll see you then.

  3. I never got into the surveys to pick up extra cash–it always seemed like too much work for too little reward. Focus groups and medical studies were much better options for me when I needed to augment my income.

  4. I’ve tried this a while back. Perhaps I’m not using the right survey companies, but once I get past the initial questions, they say that I’m not right for the survey. It’s only wasted my time. Can you suggest ones that are lucrative? I would love to try again, but it’s been a bit disappointing.

  5. Hi, Donna. I do surveys for Opinion Place, NPDOR, ClickIQ, mysurvey.com, Opinion Outpost, and Focusline. Can you give a referral to places you were talking about that pay more? Thank you.

    • Donna Freedman

      @CrazyLibLady: I just mentioned two to Lynn — Valued Opinions and Clear Voice Surveys. I hope they work for you. Clear Voice was the one that sent the products to be tested.
      Good luck. You sound extremely busy already!

  6. I found the same problem Sharon did. It makes me feel I have given the info they were looking for without the reward. I ask also, do you know of reputable companies?

    • Donna Freedman

      @Lynn: Valued Opinions and Clear Voice Surveys have been good for me lately. And yeah, sometimes you answer eight or 10 questions and then they kick you out, but apparently it’s all part of the refining process. The categories are unbelievably focused, and sometimes they decide that they’ve talked to all the 52-year-old female diet-cola-drinking consumers in zip code 98133 that they need.
      Still irritating, though.
      Good luck with the two I mentioned. If anyone else has suggestions, I hope they’ll post them.

  7. I’ve been doing cash tasks through Inbox and Send Earnings. And a few surveys through them. Just bulking up the Christmas fund!
    Hope you had a great weekend!

  8. Donna, I’ll check them out. Not sure where I’ll be in December yet, I’ll let you know! =)

  9. I’m fond of Lightspeed and MySurvey and Opinion Place. But most of the others are not at all interested in a white 61 year old. A younger, black colleague says she does well with PineCone, though I’ve never gotten past their initial questions.

  10. I used to do PineCone surveys quite a bit and a few others. But I stopped, not because of money but because I kept getting annoyed at all the new products and waste of plastic being pushed on people.

    I don’t remember what the products were but after about the 4th time of saying “no this is not innovative and different” and also “your claims are misleading and really people don’t need this” I just stopped.

  11. Confused

    I’m a little confused by this “make money with surveys” idea. I started several years ago trying hundreds of sites. I got up to around 200 surveys every 5 days and was never mailed any money – period. Even though the sites stated they would pay money, they would get around this by telling me I was put in a drawing for prizes or for points, etc. that I could use later.. never recieved anything from that as well. I paid for the right to use one survey site and I ended up requesting my money back because it was a total scam. I’m all for giving my opinion for money, but I’ve yet to find a site that actually pays you. Any suggestions?

    • Donna Freedman

      @Confused: There are a lot of scams out there and unfortunately it seems you’ve found most of them. I would go with reputable companies such as Clear Voice Surveys, Valued Opinions, Toluna, PineCone Research, Toluna, e-Rewards, Synovate, Lightspeed Online Research, i-Say, SurveySpot, Valued Opinions and Surveyhead.
      Good luck!

  12. Snake-Headed Bird

    I’ve taken online surveys for ~1.5 years, and cashed out ~$1000, with about $800 more waiting to hit thresholds, or for me to wade through their non-cash reward catalogs. Not counting a $500 sweepstakes win, which you can’t really expect to duplicate — sorry ^_^ (from Life Fun and Everything — my winner photo is on their web page archives) Some lessons:

    1. Surveys do pay.

    2. But below minimum wage; ~$4/hr if you’re persistent. You’d net more/hr delivering pizzas. My take: Add an “indirect gain” for the money you’re NOT spending on rentals or bar-hopping. Remember that merely watching TV pays zero!

    3. The top tier are all interconnected, and regularly refer surveys to each other. To Donna’s list (I’m in 8 of 12), I add Global Test Market, Opinion Outpost, OpinionSquare, and Springboard America. “i-Say” is Ipsos i-Say, Lightspeed (Kantar Group) has merged into MySurvey.

    Surveys are legit, and a bargain to big corporations. Before the Internet, they paid $20+/hr to host you on-site (and still do). They’d rather pay $9/hr to hire these survey sites, who pass on $6/hr to you. It’s win-win-win. Some of these surveys are highly relevant today, e.g. AP-GfK’s July poll on banks’ debit card monthly fees.

    4. Tier B is chock-full of less-scrupulous schemes. These typically lure you with 1 “quick” survey for a “free $500 card!!”, then drag you through 10+ screens of offers. “Participation required” means accepting 8-15 offers for ~$200+ over a few months to qualify for that reward card. I’ve never bothered, and dunno anybody who did. For many, I’m not even eligible because I can’t re-apply for a major credit card I already have, which roadblocks me at, say, offer 9 of 13.

    5. Every once in a while, you get a survey that so perfectly fits your mood, you’d pay them money just to take it(!!). Springboard America is great for these, on hot political or fiscal topics of the week. It almost makes up for the tedium 🙂

    6. Survey rewards (and that sweepstakes win) are income. You report them on 1040 Line 21, and on Line 1 of the “Supporting Details” attachment. H&R Block Online’s free version omits this one sheet specifically, so I switched to TaxACT Online’s free version, which is comprehensively complete. When you click to submit, IRS auto-warns you that >$1k on this line may trigger a refund-delaying review, but then they wave it through in minutes anyways. Be good.

  13. Judith Beagles

    Hey I am just starting and I have noted all of these websites and i am going to try them and will post on here my results! Thanks for sharing! I am 61 year old, Christian white woman as well! I

  14. A list of reputable survey sites would be a huge help. If anyone has a decent list please share? All I have found so far are the ones that actually take up to half an hour to get through. Then there are the ones that dead end with no way of completing the offers or the only offer available to fill out is one where you are forced to enter very personal info. I am not comfortable with typing my SS# into a random website just because it’s on a list of popular offers o.0 Who do they think they are???

    • Donna Freedman

      The survey-savvy folks I know recommend the following:
      Harris Polls
      Pinecone Research
      Clear Voice
      And, of course, Swagbucks.
      Good luck!


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