Tag Archives: Are online paid surveys worth your time?

Review of Vindale Research: Is it a Scam?

Is Vindale Research a scam? In a word, “No”. I joined them in 2010 and have successfully cashed out my earnings twice there. Therefore, I conclude that they are not a scam. This certainly doesn’t mean that they are perfect.

Here are some of the things that I like about Vindale Research:

• They are free to join with no membership fees.
• They credit your account with cash. You don’t have to convert points to cash dollar amounts in order to figure out what you earn per action.
• It is super easy to make money there.
• They have a referral program, so that members can make more money.
• Members receive credit for some of their activities immediately after they are completed but sometimes it can take a few days to receive the credit. It takes much longer to get credit or reimbursement after completing product evaluations.

You certainly don’t need to spend any money to make money with Vindale Research. Members can earn money for free in the following ways:

• Complete studies (what I consider market research surveys through a third party company)
• Watch Videos: they pay around $.02 (most lack variety)
• Reward Mail: Earn a few pennies by reading e-mails. They don’t send them often. Also make sure that Vindale Research is added to your contact list so that the e-mails don’t go to your spam folder.
• Photos: Take a picture of yourself holding your payment check or a sign stating that they paid you and upload it to their site and they pay $5 for that.
• Print and redeem coupons through the Daily Deals section
• Refer others to join Vindale Research. At the time of this blog post, you can earn up to $5 per referral.

There are a few things which I don’t particularly care for with Vindale Research. One, being that they sometimes do not pay according to their own schedule. Two, the panelist support is not very good. Sometimes their support is not very responsive to questions that you have about late payments, survey crediting, etc. On more than one occasion I didn’t receive the proper credit for some surveys that I completed from start to finish. So, I e-mailed their support. The response that I received was not helpful at all. It appeared to be ambiguous, automated or script-like, with no solid explanation as to why I had not been paid.

The panel support basically tells you that if the third-party administrator of the survey doesn’t accept the panelist’s survey results, then the panelist won’t be paid. This tells me that Vindale Research is probably not a market research company in the traditional sense, but rather a third-party between the panelist and legitimate market research companies. They also help other companies to generate leads.

They list offers or product evaluations as “market research surveys”, which I find to be somewhat misleading. The way that some of these trial offers and product evaluations work is that a member can participate in the evaluation or trial offer through links advertised on the website. After a certain amount of time has lapsed (trial offer period), the member is reimbursed for upfront payments. Some members complain that they aren’t reimbursed after signing up for trial offers or completing product evaluations.

They have had numerous complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Then again, this in and of itself doesn’t make them a scam. Vindale Research is owned by a company called Say For Example, Inc. which was established in 2005.

It is hard for anyone not intimately involved to know what has happened in each particular case filed with the BBB. In fairness to Vindale Research, they state in their terms of service that they will not pay for fraudulent transactions or situations where the member does not complete actions (for example, cancels an offer before a specified amount of time).

The payout minimum is really high at $50. I am a member of some market research companies that have payout minimums as low as $10. There are only two pay periods per month. They pay in batches of $50. So, if you accumulate $55 in your account, you can redeem up to $50 and $5 will remain in your account. They pay members through PayPal or check. According to their FAQ’s it’s supposed to take a few business days after redeeming to receive payments, but that hasn’t been my experience.

The studies through third-party market research companies pay is usually very low and in fixed amounts.

Signing up for offers and doing product evaluations on Vindale Research. Here’s my take:

1. I am not a huge fan spending money in order to earn money on these types of sites. There are other websites like Swagbucks, CashCrate and SendEarnings that will pay their members to sign-up for free offers. Most of these offers don’t require members to provide personal information beyond name, physical address and/or valid e-mail addresses. Understand that the companies that make offers or trials on these types of websites are marketing their products or services. The main goal is to get more customers or prospective customers. I don’t see anything wrong with this. However, be vary wary and cautious of any marketer or offer requesting banking information, credit card numbers, date-of-birth or social security numbers.

2. In the remote chance, that I were to sign up for a trial offer or product evaluations that required upfront pay:

a) I’d make sure that I were signing up for any offer or service that is useful and truly interests me.

b) I’d make damned sure that I were signing up for an offer with a reputable company and that I understood all of the terms that go along with that offer. Do your due diligence with scam review and government websites and read consumer product and service reviews prior to making any purchases. You can find out more about the terms by reading up on it at their third-party website. This will reduce the chances of providing personal information to a spammer or scammer.

My overall conclusion is that they aren’t a scam but not really a great place to make money on the internet. Don’t expect to make a living off of this site. Any money earned there is merely pocket change. Join Vindale Research at your own discretion.

Ten Things You Should Know Before Taking Surveys

Participating in online surveys conducted by market research companies can be a

good source of extra pocket cash. There are some things that you should ponder

before deciding whether to the join survey panels of market research companies.

Here are some suggestions that you may find helpful:

 

  1. What are your reasons for participating in online survey panels? Are you taking

online surveys strictly to make money? Do you enjoy the opportunity to express your

opinion and influence marketing decisions? You will want to explore your reasons for

participating, since this will make it easier to determine whether surveys are worth

your time. Don’t ever get fooled into thinking that you can make a full time living off

of taking surveys. Any money you make from taking surveys is supplemental income

at best. I use the extra money to put gas in my car or to buy a cup of coffee from

time to time. I question the veracity of statements such as: You can make $75- $100

an hour by taking online surveys. The average survey offer is between $1- $5, for

10 minutes to 30 minutes of your time. Once in a while, “specialist” surveys are

offered which can pay $20 or more for your time.

 

  1. Understand the incentive system that each company offers. Some companies

utilize a points system, whereby you earn a certain amount of points for each survey

completed. Those points can be converted into amounts which can be redeemed for

money or other merchandise. It’s important to understand the conversion factor for

points awarded (example, 1000 points = $10 or 1000 points = $50 ). This way you

will avoid wasting time with surveys than may not pay as well compared to others.

Other companies don’t reward in points, but rather reward dollar (or cents) amounts

for surveys completed. Also, the payout threshold varies from company to company.

Where one company might have a payout as low as $5.00, another may require you

to have $50.00 in your account before you are allowed to cash out.

 

  1. Related to #2, familiarize yourself with payment methods. Some market research

companies payout in cash via PayPal or check. Others make payments in the form

of gift certificates with major retailers like Amazon.com, or through virtual gift cards.

If you aren’t aware of payment methods, you could find yourself taking surveys only

to be rewarded with a magazine subscription or points for a tote bag, or perhaps, a

no-name brand MP3 player. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself. But,

what if these incentives don’t tickle your fancy?

 

  1. Know the market research company’s policy regarding account inactivity. It is

often required that you login to your account within a certain time frame in order for

the account to be considered active. If not, you run the risk of your account getting

deactivated. There are market research companies that will go as far as removing

points from an inactive account and then closing the account.

 

Just as a hypothetical, a panel member at one market research company hasn’t used

her account for over a year. The terms of service clearly states that if a panel

member has not taken any surveys or logged into their account within 12 months,

then the account will become inactive. This market research company considers all

money rewarded in inactive accounts to be forfeited to the market

research company. You don’t want all of your hard work and time to go down the

drain. So, be sure to read up on this. As a matter of fact, you should read the entire

terms of service agreement very thoroughly to avoid unknowingly violating any of the

terms of service.

 

  1. Thoroughly read the privacy policy of the market research website. As a general

proposition, you should be reading the privacy policy of every website you visit.

There may be information in the privacy policy which is shocking to you. The last

thing that you want is for a company to take your private information and use or sell

it to another company without your permission. Reputable market research

companies have privacy policies and they do not use your information to sell things

to you. Avoid websites that don’t have a privacy policy.

 

  1. Never pay to join a survey website. Bona fide market research survey panels don’t

charge members to join. You should not have to pay for a list of real survey

companies, either. This is information readily available to you with a little common

sense and Googling legwork.

 

  1. Be honest in the information that you provide to market research companies.

Panelists that provide dishonest answers just to qualify for surveys, are often

permanently kicked out of the panel when discovered. Also, the market research

company is collecting data for their clients. Providing incorrect information during a

survey, leads to skewed statistics and unreliable data. Market research companies

and their clients aren’t willing to pay for bad information.

 

  1. You won’t qualify for every survey opportunity that you are offered. You may find

that you start a screener in the beginning of the survey, and get disqualified after a

few minutes. During the screener you get asked questions about your demographics.

That’s because market research companies often target specific segments of the

population. Most market research companies don’t pay for the time it took for

screening. You get paid only if you complete the survey and your results are

approved. If you are disqualified during a screener, don’t feel discouraged. Just keep

it moving.

 

  1. You might want to sign up for a free e-mail address and use this e-mail account  for

panels. In the event that you sign up for a company which poses as a market

research company, your e-mail inbox might get flooded with spam. To save yourself

some headaches, refrain from providing your personal and business e-mail unless

you are very certain that you’re dealing with a reputable organization. Scammers

won’t hesitate to sell your information and then proceed to spam you.

 

10.   After you sign up with a market research panel, you will receive an activation email.

It is very important to click on the link in the activation e-mail, so that your

account is activated. Afterwards, you will be able to receive survey invites in your email

inbox. Add the market research company’s e-mail address to your contact list,

so that the e-mails that you receive from them won’t go to the spam folder.

Are Online Paid Surveys worth Your Time?

 Are surveys a scam?

I started doing online paid surveys in 2009.  My first few experiences with them weren’t so good.  I signed up for what I thought was a legit survey company through a portal.  One result was that I started to receive lots of spam in my e-mail inbox.  I also completed a few questionaires through legitimate websites, which proved to be a complete waste of time.  The questionaires reel people in with the prospect of earning a reward such as a “free” $300 gift card or an expensive electronic gadget in exchange for completing the questions.

 

Well, there is always a catch to these kinds of questionaires disguised as surveys.  Some of those questionaires were over fifteen pages long, asking a string of unrelated questions designed to siphon off as much marketing information as possible.  The questions were seemingly never ending, so I gave up and exited out of the questionaire.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the page and read the fine print, you note that in order to get the “free” gift card, you need to purchase merchandise or provide a credit card number.  These situations give the industry a bad name and lead people to believe that all surveys are scam.  They aren’t. This experience dissuaded me from completing another survey until 2010.

 

I can’t remember what it was that inspired me to get back into completing surveys.  But, I did go into it the next time around after doing some research.  I checked out some WAHM type review forums to find out what panelists were saying about a market research company before signing up.  That’s how I was able to separate the scam sites, from the borderline shady portals, from totally legitimate survey sites.  The top tip that I can give to prospective panelists is to never pay for a membership or list of survey sites. The information on legit survey sites can be found for free on the internet.

 

How much money can you make from taking online surveys?

You will not become a big baller or shot caller by taking surveys.  I view them mostly as a way to make a little extra money, when I need a break or a diversion.  90 percent of the time, you won’t make more than a few dollars doing one a survey that takes between 10-30 minutes average to complete.  Depending upon the market research company that you work with, it is rare to stumble upon a survey opportunity that pays more than a few dollars per study.  On average, most panelists earn less than the U.S. minimum wage through survey taking.  So, when you see advertisements claiming that you can make $100 per hour taking surveys, don’t believe it.

 

Examined from the standpoints of time value and opportunity costs, taking surveys isn’t a good way to make money.  There certainly are many other ways to earn much more money in less time and even passively.  As a matter of common sense, I don’t spend hours out of my day working on them.

 

What are some of the cons of taking online surveys?

 

It is very frustrating to get 5 to 10 minutes into a survey, only to be screened out and disqualified.  A few survey websites will give panelists some sort of compensation or sweepstakes entries, even if the panelist does screen out.  MyView surveys and Global Test Market are known for this.

 

Some consumer research surveys are quite boring.  If you are the type of person who can sit in front of a computer for long periods, answering non-challenging questions, then that’s okay.  I know that I can get burned out and suffer headaches by sitting and taking surveys for too long.  They are more interesting and stimulating when there are pictures, sound or video incorporated into the study.

 

An obvious upside, is that they are easy to complete and don’t usually require any specialized knowledge and skills. The downside is that you are spending time on an activity which won’t help you to upgrade your personal skills, business acumen or career objectives.

 

Sometimes there are technical issues with surveys, which result in the panelist not receiving credit for completing the survey.  The best that can be done when this happens, is to contact the survey website’s tech support or customer support about the problem.  A reputable company will investigate and make sure that the panelist receives proper credit when due.

 

There are so many hours in the day and I won’t take the approach of signing up for as many survey companies as possible. I like to experiment with different companies, but I don’t plan on ever completing more than a few surveys in a day.  There are several market research companies that I have been a panelist with.  I am not currently active with all of these companies, but they are all reputable and my experience with them was mainly positive.  I have listed some below:

 

Global Test Market (GMI)

MyView

Opinion Outpost

MySurvey

Valued Opinions

 

Just as there are some disadvantages to taking surveys, there are also some advantages:

 

  • You get to voice your opinion and influence the types of commercial advertising products that companies make.
  • Paid surveys can lead to higher paying market research opportunities, focus group studies and clinical trials.
  • I have been invited to participate in a few high paid surveys and paid online bulletin boards.
  • I once got paid $30 to participate in an hour long market research study about health.
  • I have also won a contest for $300 with one well-known market research company.
  • I was invited to participate in several paid product testing opportunities.  The products were shipped to me for free and I got to keep the products that I tested. Some examples of products that I was paid to test were laundry detergents, beverages, and anti-aging skin products.
  • I got paid $5 for taking a single picture of a specific type of product that I use and submitting it to the market research company.
  • You can make extra money referring others to legit survey websites.

 

In the end, you will need to decide for yourself whether paid surveys are worth your time.  I know that they have been for me.

© Copyright 2014 Susan Broadbelt