Inside Paid Online Surveys - What Drives Things?


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Many people, when they first hear about paid online surveys, are highly dubious. Paid surveys? Why would anyone Pay someone to take a survey? Is this for real?

To answer that you tell them yes, it's for real and explain to them more about how it works.

You explain to them that: 1. Big companies pay market researchers to find out things that they need to know. 2. Then the market researchers contact survey companies to actually conduct the survey and get the answers. 3. Then the survey makers contact a representative sampling of the target market to get answers to the questions, and 4. These people get invited to take the survey, for which they will get paid.

Sometimes that answer will satisfy the dubious. Sometimes not.

Occasionally they counter with something like, “Well now just wait a minute here. They could just go out on the sidewalk in front, stop the first ten people that came by and ask them! Then they would know! They wouldn't have to pay anyone!"

So you take a deep breath, and offer to make it clearer for them. But you must warn them that the answers have to be a bit technical. There are two concepts that it is important to understand here: A. Target market population and B: Representative sample.

Target market population. First off, the big companies asking the questions (and paying for the answers) have a particular market or population segment in mind. If they sell, let's say, ladies underwear, for example, they want to know the opinions of those people who buy ladies underwear. Probably the segment of the overall population that is likely to buy ladies underwear can be narrowly defined to include the ladies themselves (principle buyers) and the ladies’ husbands and boyfriends (also sometime buyers).

So the only valid opinions, the only opinions the big company is interested in, are those of that segment of the population that is composed of people in one of those three categories, with major focus on the first group, the ladies themselves. All other opinions are irrelevant and worthless to the researchers because they have no predictive value in the ladies underwear market.

Further, if they distribute and sell their products only in the USA in states east of the Mississippi and south of Pennsylvania, the only valid opinions would be from ladies, husbands and boyfriends who live in that area.

So before you ask anyone your survey questions you have to determine whether or not that individual is a member of the relevant target population. If the prospective survey taker is thus qualified you can go on to the next point,

Representative sample. Simply, the sample size and exact location of the survey taker has to correspond to and fairly represent the size and importance of the area. In our hypothetical example, if the ladies underwear company sells twice as much product in Virginia as it does in South Carolina, then the sample size must match; twice as many samples from VA as from SC.

Now the art and science of exactly how to do this involves statistics and complex mathematics, but that is what the market researchers and survey makers get paid for. Ever noticed in published political polls of say, 2 million voters, there is a sample size of 1,500 - 3,000 voters sampled to make a prediction? And how close the actual vote ends up to the prediction? Well, that's possible through good representative sampling.

So the point is, that it won't work to ask just anyone. The sample must be carefully selected to be representative and correspond as closely as possible to the defined target market whose opinion you want to get.

So how does the survey maker find willing volunteers that are part of the target market and located in representative areas?

Ah! That's the question! And it brings us back around to how survey takers get paid. For one thing, to properly qualify a potentially useful future survey taker, you have to know all about his demographics. Where he lives, his age, income level, education, etc. , etc. and this takes time for him to put into an application. Then the future survey taker must be positively disposed to receive and take a future survey, so he gets it back in a timely manner.

Practically the only way to encourage large numbers of people to do all this is to pay them for it, specifically to pay them for the surveys when they take them.

So you see, when you understand a bit about how things work and what drives them, it is not so incredible that people get paid for surveys. In fact, when you understand it, it makes perfect sense!

Jorge Chavez is an experienced business analyst at: To learn more about making money with paid online surveys visit: Paid Surveys To learn more about comparing paid survey companies, visit: Paid Survey Review


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