Advice: If you’re thinking about taking surveys to earn some extra cash, read this article first. It will help you decide if taking surveys is for you.Taking Surveys For Money…
You’ve seen the ads on websites and maybe you’ve thought about checking it out. You may have wondered what’s behind the ads. How does this thing work?
This article should provide everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision about signing up to take surveys online.
What’s in it for me?
No doubt your first question is *Can I really make money taking surveys?*. The answer to that question is *yes*. If your question is *Can I make a living taking online surveys?*, the answer is *Probably not a good plan*. You can make some extra cash but making a living would depend on a number of variables. We will talk about those later.Note: Survey sites are free to join. If a site asks you to pay to take surveys, leave the site.
Most surveys are offered by invitation only. Invitations are sent to panelist by e-mail and can be accepted or ignored. If you ignore several of the initial invitations, you may not receive many, if any, future invites. Other than this rule, panelists have no control over how many invitations they receive.
Invitations are issued based on the needs of the company initiating the survey. If your personal profile matches enough of the survey’s criteria, you will probably get an invitation. Some surveys have a set number of completed surveys required. Once that number is met the survey is closed. If you respond to the invitation after the survey is closed, you will not be able to participate. This doesn’t happen often, especially if you check your e-mail daily and respond accordingly.
Upon sign-up, you will be asked to fill out a profile. This information is kept confidential by the survey site and is only used to determine if you are qualified to receive an invitation to a particular survey. If the site does not mention that your information will be kept confidential, run (don’t walk) to the nearest exit. We’ll talk about the profile later, but for now, let’s get to the burning question *What’s in it for me?*
There are four primary ways of getting paid through the online survey programs:
1. Win cash prizes
This is by far the most popular way of rewarding panelist for participating in surveys. These sweepstakes are often $100 to $10,000 in cash value. Sometimes you can be entered into cash sweepstakes (daily, monthly, weekly) just by logging on to the site each day. Other entries are recorded when you first join the site and upon completion of each survey. For completing shorter surveys, this may be the only compensation you receive. The more surveys you take, the more entries you obtain. Completion of Longer surveys (greater than 10 minutes) are generally rewarded with points or cash plus the sweepstake entry.
Most of these sweeps are ongoing rather than periodic. A new sweepstake begins each week or month after the previous one is awarded. on many survey sites, you can read about previous winners on the WINNERS page. Your odds of winning, as with all sweepstakes, is dependent upon the number of your entries versus the number of total entries by all contestants (+ your rabbit’s foot biorhythmic state of flux).
Some survey sites prefer to use points above all other types of rewards. You are awarded points for joining the site, filling out a profile, filling out additional (specific) profiles and, of course, for completing surveys. When you accumulate enough points, you can cash them in for product purchases, gift cards, charity donations, raffle tickets, cash (etc.). Some sites only provide prizes and/or points (no cash).
If you like the idea of collecting points to cash out for prizes, you’ll enjoy taking their surveys. The number of points necessary to obtain some of the prizes, however, can be very large, especially if you want to cash them in for… well, cash! There should be a REWARDS page that describes the prizes offered and how to obtain them.
So far, we’ve discussed the rewards offered by the sites themselves. The REAL cash rewards, however, come from the companies that sponsor the surveys. The information that these businesses receive from surveys is invaluable. It helps them determine ad placement, ad effectiveness, new product acceptance (etc). Companies will pay good money to find the answers to these and other mundane (yet critical) questions.
Company-paid surveys are usually longer and more involved (20 minutes or more). They pay between $15 and $50, although most will be in the lower range of $15. Some companies will have the site send out the check while others will ask for the participants’ mailing address at the end of the survey and send the check themselves.
Larger amounts of money can be made if a panelist is invited to participate in a forum. Forums are online or off-line discussions and will normally last 1 to 2 hours. Panelists can receive between $100 to $250 for taking part in a forum depending on its type and duration. The higher paying forums are often on-site (not online). This means you drive to the business’s specified location and talk to a real-life person (imagine that!). Some interviews are conducted by phone but only with the panelist’s permission.
Some Survey sites encourage members to invite others to sign up. Points, prizes or sweepstake entries are awarded for each referral that results in a sign-up.The Profile
Your profile information is very important in determining the number of invitations you receive. The more information provided, the greater the chance of being matched to a survey’s criteria.
Answer the questions truthfully. The surveys are useless if you give false profile information and the site will cancel your membership if they find out.
Note: No site should ask you for Social Security or credit card numbers. If they do, EXIT the site and finish your doughnut.
Here are some of the questions you can expect:
* Name and address (for mailing prizes or checks)
* Are you Head of Household?
* E-mail address (for sending invitations)
* Are you the person primarily responsible for buying groceries?
* Marital Status
* Highest level of education
* Race (answering this is optional)
* Are you Spanish speaking/Hispanic? (answer also optional)
* What type of building do you live in? (Single family, Mobile home, etc.)
* Own or Rent?
* Employment Status
* Children? How many? Ages?
* Number of people in household
* How many hours on internet each week? Personal use or business?
* What kind of connection? (dial-up, cable, DSL)
* Annual income
* What types of surveys would you be willing to take? (online, in person, phone)
* phone number (only if you agree to take phone surveys)
More in-depth profiles are generally encouraged in order to match you to more surveys. Questions on these extended profiles include queries about your interests, hobbies, buying habits etc. Again, the more information they have, the more invitations you’ll receive.How Many Invitations Will You Receive?
As mentioned, the more information you provide the better your chances of receiving an invitation. However, there are other factors. Some of these can be determined from the profile questions:If you live in a large metropolitan area, you will have access to more stores and other businesses for shopping purposes.If you have a higher income, you will probably be inclined to buy more products and services.If there are several people in your household you will spend more money and in a variety of ways.If you spend a lot of time on the internet, you will probably spend more money on products and services online.If you are female, you will be interested in certain female related subjects, activities and face goop.If you are male, you will be interested in sports, women and power tools…
OK, I think you get the idea. These factors aside, you should receive some invitations no matter what your status. You will receive more invites and better pay from some sites than from others. Therefore, sign up with several and soon you’ll know which ones are going to work for you.
On a final note, some folks like to take surveys so they can affect the quality and value of the products and services of the future…