Making Money with Online Survey Sites?

surveyTaking surveys certainly won’t bring in the big bucks, but they can pad an otherwise strapped budget by a few dollars here and there, making that time you spend browsing the web a bit more profitable.  Whether you’re looking to make a couple of quick dollars for your next vacation, or in serious need of some diaper money, here are some pointers for finding the cream of the crop – and how to avoid those that aren’t even worth visiting.

Survey Sites that Pay Cash

Ideally, you want to earn cold, hard cash for your opinions.  Considering that focus groups and market surveys earn hundreds to thousands of dollars for the companies that put together, distribute, and compile them, don’t you think your input is worth something?  While companies can change their terms at any time, leaving a previously great company with lower payouts than before, the majority of sites that pay cash seem to stay around for a while. These sites are often hard to get into, sometimes by invitation only, and pay as little as $2 per survey (which can take 15 minutes or more to complete.)  Moreover, many of them force you to qualify for a survey by completing a screening survey, which offers no compensation and can take just as long as the “real” survey.  You might waste 15 minutes on a survey only to find out that you don’t qualify. Some of the major sites out there are OpinionOutpost, SurveySavvy, SurveySpot.

Some Pay in “Points”

Even more abundant than those that really pay are those that offer points, tickets, or other virtual currency to redeem for cash, merchandise and prizes.  Some sites seem to be pretty fair in their point economy, awarding enough points per survey to cash out for $2-5 per survey.  Others don’t offer anything that would seem valuable: discounts on memberships, percentage off on online purchases, or other “offers” that you could easily find by visiting deal sites – no survey required.  Many of the prizes you can cash out for a minimum level of points, requiring you to complete at least a dozen surveys before you can redeem for anything at all. Some major sites include Harris Polls and MySurvey.

Survey Sites that Award Prizes

At the bottom of the totem pole are sites that don’t guarantee anything for your time and opinions.  Instead, they offer to enter you into a random drawing for cash or merchandise in exchange for your survey.  While some people have reported that this is a good way to get into low-entry giveaways with less competition than some of the sweepstakes entered online, it can take much of your valuable time to answer each survey and enter, something not everyone is willing to give up.

Things to look out for

In addition to offering abysmally low compensation, if any at all, survey sites have been known to make your time worth even less by doing any number of the following:

  • Requiring your earnings to reach a certain threshold (i.e. $50) before you can cash out
  • Requiring payment via PayPal or other online method, or charging a fee for paper checks to be issued
  • Enforcing an expiration date on points accumulated
  • Sending out survey invitations as infrequently as once or twice a year
  • Inviting you to a survey, only to have the survey fill up almost immediately, and having no room for your answers

There are many who have had the fortune to find quality survey sites, be qualified to answer a good number of surveys, and have been paid on time.  Earnings can range from a few dollars to around $50 a month for those who are diligent. Whether or not it’s worth your time is depends on your circumstances. Keep in mind that your time can sometimes be more valuable than money.

What about you?  Have you found survey sites to be a legitimate way to make some extra cash?


2 thoughts on “Making Money with Online Survey Sites?

  1. I’ve made quite a bit of extra money from survey sites you mentioned. And also works pretty good. If you do much online shopping then can go through their site for points towards gift cards etc. You can also get points just for opening their emails.

    Another great way to earn extra $$ is participating in focus groups. In Atlanta there are Jackson Associates and Schlesinger Associates. If you sign up on their sites they will call or email you if you match demographics for a study. Most of the ones I’ve participated in only take 1-2 hours and pay about $100-200. And it’s fun to give an opinion about toothpaste, or cell phones, or whatever. I highly recommend signing up for those to earn some extra padding in your cashflow budget!

    • Thanks for the awesome tips Jennifer! It’s good to hear first hand that it can actually be done. I love the idea about the focus groups. I hadn’t heard about those before and will be looking into them myself.

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