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Paid Survey - A Personal Perspective

Mar 25, 2008
I have not been overly optimistic about the ability for any individual to earn significant sums of money participating in paid forums.

This article takes you on a personal journey through this industry.

In the past I have indicated you should never pay anyone to help you locate paid surveys because they are available at no cost if you just look for them.

However, for the sake of this investigation and the belief that many have about a paid service being able to offer an advantage I happened upon a 'consumer research' firm that provided information about paid surveys. They provided the top three prospective clearinghouses for information on quality survey companies.

They ranked the top three on multiple criterion and they listed them with varying degrees of acceptance. Not wanting to leave anything to chance in my new career I signed up for their number one pick. This removed $35 from my expendable cash ledger, but it opened a whole new world of opportunity. Right?

Not exactly.

The site provided some useful, if not common sense tips, and then listed, on a rather crudely produced page, their top paying 'paid survey' recommendations.

Of course I was drawn to this as one of their reviewers indicated a net return of $500 in her first two hours and the second reviewer quit after $400 because it was just too easy to make money this way and, frankly, he was getting board (making money?).

Of course I recognized this as an illegitimate consumer report, but I wanted to get the full user experience so when others asked in the future if I have ever participated I could say, "Absolutely!"

I registered for the first set of recommendations simply because the site I was paying indicated these were its top recommended sites for surveys that paid actual money for my survey responses. They even went so far as to say that this site was so good it made their jaws drop.

As an aside I was also offered opportunities to drive free cars, read emails and get paid for doing so. I could also be a part of advisory panels that would help television producers decide which shows we would see in the fall. I decided to stick with the subject of this article.

In the interests of being able to say that I gave it a shot I have spent several hours filling out forms and surveys. My inbox rapidly filled with emails from the sites I submitted to, but I did not have the honor of making any money.

That's not to say that there wasn't some entertainment along the way. One service that indicated cash payment did so based on a lottery experience. In this case I got points for taking surveys. The total number of points were determined through an online gaming system like a scratch card or slot machine that told me how many points I would receive for taking the survey. At that point I was invited over to the company store and applied those points to act as a raffle ticket for prizes like money, laptop computers or digital cameras. Other sites offered cyber cash that I could spend at their company store (where everything is at least 100 times the cost of any other store).

Maybe my profile just wasn't what they are looking for because according to the 'consumer review' site I should be rolling in bucks in under two hours.

To sum things up, in my real experience coupled with what I already knew to be true about paid surveys the only people making money are the people at the other end of the survey.

Oh, and if you like a tidy inbox resist the urge to apply for a paid survey. My jaw just dropped, too. Wait. I think that was a yawn.
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