Survey Advice

I am curious about doing surveys. Is it safe? Is it worth it? Are there any groups to stay away from? Does one really get good products free? Any catches I'd need to know about?

Judy from Frederic, MI

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October 6, 20080 found this helpful

I actually own a Market Research company. We deal mostly with medical professionals rather than consumers.

There is market research and then there is market research. The legitimate kind that you are seeking is rarely found on the Internet. There are a ton of companies that advertise getting paid for completing surveys. I'm sure you know that you are not completely actual surveys as much as you are putting your name on a mailing list.

True market research should NEVER cost you anything other than your time. You should never have to buy anything even under a promise of having your money refunded to you. The exception to this would be Secret Shopper or Mystery Shopper programs. Depending on the company, this is a valid form of market research and does require you to make a purchase. However there should never be a fee involved to join a company's panel.

When you participate in surveys or any market research it can be in the form of a telephone interview, a focus group, sometimes you are given products to try and evaluate. Regardless of the methodology that is being used, you should always be compensated for your time and opinions. The better companies out there do this in cash (note: The compensation or "honorarium" is taxable over $600 per year). However it may be in the form of a gift certificate or like compensation. They should tell you up front when you are contacted to participate, what the compensation actually is.

To register or join any company's panel, I would either check in your phone book for companies that do market research or start with the MRA, The Market Research Association. If a company is registered with the MRA, they are held accountable to certain standards well above anything that the BBB could impose.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

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October 6, 20080 found this helpful

Almost if not all the internet survey's I have found require you to take advantage of at least 1 or 2 offers. However, many of these "offers" require you to purchase something, or sign up for magazines, etc.

I don't even consider them anymore.

If you do try a survey and find that it involves a purchase, just get off the site. You don't need to complete it.

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October 6, 20080 found this helpful

I received a check in the mail for $7 today from one company, and I've gotten enough points for gift cards for doing surveys, plus some inexpensive items to test. Most of the surveys you'll see from online only put your name in a sweepstakes or give a very small reward though. It's sometimes interesting, but only one true market research company I've done surveys for has really 'rewarded' it enough to make it worth the time, and it's one that can't just be signed up for online. If you're going to work with any of the internet survey companies, check them out on surveypolice.com to see what participants say about them first. Very, very, very few are worth the time. I only joined some because I was ill for a long time and looking for something to occupy my time during recovery, and it took a couple months of getting long boring surveys before I was given any rewarding surveys. I liked getting full sized test products occasionally and coupons to try things for free, but trust me, you aren't going to make much money and you'll spend a LOT of time, wondering why you ever tried it, lol... but, yes, I still do a few. Haven't a clue why, other than habit, lol...

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October 6, 20080 found this helpful

Someone posted a survey on craigslist that paid two hundred dollars; I found the survey and went through the WHOLE thing, and at the end, I had to sign up for three magazines or services, with the option to cancel after the first month. I didn't do it, because I could just see them charging me after the first month after I had already cancelled, which would totally eat up any profit that I might make, and give me a big headache trying to straighten out the mess. ( AOL) Plus, it starts a snowball effect on the amount of snail mail and e-mail that you start recieving. You're new e-mail address will be www.spamcity.com. It just ain't worth it to me.

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October 6, 20080 found this helpful

I got into a real mess doing these surveys! I didn't realize what it would lead to even though I said no to the ads asking if I wanted more info, etc. Very soon I started getting 350 emails every morning and more through the day!!! That IS NOT a lie! I had to call my ISP and get them to raise my blocking and still one sneaks in once in awhile. They said they had never known anybody to get 350 emails just over night. I learned my lesson.

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October 6, 20080 found this helpful

I have been a member of NFO survey for over 4 yrs.You do not purchase anything. You answer questions pertaining to your opinion on medicine, cellphone companies, the earth, etc. Occasionally the company you are doing survey for will send a product for you to try with the understanding that you will answer survey about item used at a future date. NO cost to you. I have received merchandise such as a crockpot, phone cards, gift cards and actual cash. I have accumulated enough points usually by Christmas to get $100.00 cash in my hands to use toward Christmas.

"My Points" is another good one I like as all you have to do is "read" a newsletter from a company and you get so many points to use toward misc. items or gift cards. On My Points, once you get to the newsletter, IF you see something you would like to order, then you receive more points, but you DO NOT have to order. Its up to you, but it sure has helped out at my home.Thanks and good luck on whatever you decide. Jan

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October 6, 20080 found this helpful

A friend of mine told me she gets actual checks from Pinecone, but others tell me don't do it.

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October 7, 20080 found this helpful

It's one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made! I paid a fee of almost $50. Kept getting the same old companies to sign up with. Did NOT earn a penny! Wasted a lot of time completing surveys for a couple of points that mean nothing. Now I get about 50 junk emails every day from stupid and gross people/companies from around the world! NEVER AGAIN!

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October 16, 20080 found this helpful

Don't do it. You end up with a ton of spam that just doesn't go away. We don't live in the States but the site said that there were lots of international surveys - yeah, right! I never found one that I could actually do because you always had to be a resident of USA. Apart from losing the registration fee, it's continued to haunt me with the amount of spam it generated. Never again.

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October 16, 20080 found this helpful

There are legit survey companies online just as there are non legit survey companies. I have been a member of many survey sites for at least 9 yrs now and I do not pay anything to be a member. First rule of thumb for me is: If they ask for a deposit or money of any kind to be a member then its a scam in my mind. I use only totally free ones. I am a member of multiple sites: Pinecone is legit, Mypoints is legit. Mysurvey is legit and so is SnapDollars and SurveySavvy, SurveySpot is legit and there are many more. There is a website that I love that posts freebies,samples and survey sites that are legit that others like myself have been paid through and they merely post to a forum much like this one about their experiences and how they feel about a company,etc. It is called www.todaysfreebies.com go to their forum section and look under the survey ones (you will pick up on alot from there) . Just remember dont pay to be a member of any survey company or mystery shopper.

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