A search for “paid surveys" on a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or MSN will give you a few million results to search through. More than likely you have arrived at this article by searching in the same way. And you have probably already seen a few suspicious offers.
Get paid to take surveys! Earn up to $250/hr for giving your opinion! Make thousands of dollars a month taking paid surveys in your spare time!
Ads like these are what has everyone asking, “Are paid surveys real?". Just look on any major website or even in your email and chances are you will see someone offering lots of money to take paid surveys online. Is it a scam?
The answer to this question is no. Paid surveys are not a scam. You really can get paid to take online paid surveys. But, finding a legitimate source for paid surveys can be discouraging. There are several sites that disguise themselves as paid surveys in order to get your personal information or get you to join other programs they affiliate with. It's sites like these that give paid surveys a bad name. So how do you tell the real paid surveys from the fakes?
Before I answer this question let me give you a brief summary of what a paid survey is and why they are conducted.
A paid survey is a study conducted by a market research firm in order to gather information about a specific product or advertisement. Major companies spend billions of dollars every year on advertising. They want you to recognize their products. In order to find out how the public feels about a product they will hire a market research firm to gather information from the public. One of the ways a market research firm gathers information is through surveys. These market research companies are paid alot of money for this research. So in return for your participation in an online survey each participant will be compensated. Paid surveys are not the only form of market research. There are also mystery shops, product tests, and focus groups.
Now that you know what a paid survey is you need to know what a paid survey isn't. A paid survey is NOT something that compensates you for purcashing something. A paid survey is NOT something that pays you to sign up for product trial offers. If you see a banner or text ad that says something like, “Pizza vs Cheesburgers. Take this survey and get a free ipod", that is NOT a paid survey. You will never have to pay a fee or complete any type of offers to take a real paid survey.
So how do you avoid paid survey scams? The easiest way is to find a directory of paid surveys. Read reviews and forum posts of what people have to say about each company. There are two types of directories, paid memberships and free directories. A good free directory will provide all of the information that a paid membership does, saving you $40. From these directories you can join hundreds of paid survey panels.
There are hundreds of legitimate paid survey panels you can join. But there are about 30 or so that send paid surveys daily and weekly. Some of the better known paid surveys are NFO My Survey, Opinion Outpost, Global Test Market, and American Consumer Opinion.
Chris Price has written several e-books and article about paid surveys. Mr. Price has participated in many market research studies and is a member of over 200 paid survey panels.
Paid Survey Resources
Free Paid Survey Directory
Top 20 Paid Survey Panels