Monday, February 26, 2024

Online Surveys: The Good, The Bad And The Really Ugly

There are approximately 500 different Online Survey Companies advertised on the Internet. I’ve participated in several online surveys for cash and researched hundreds of them. I’ve found that, just like everything else in life, there are the good, the bad, and the really, really ugly.

The good survey companies consist of those that actually pay you a little bit of money for your time, don’t sell your information to telemarketers, don’t send you thousands of e-mails, most of which end up in your bulk mailbox, and tell you exactly what each survey you’re taking is worth in terms of dollars. The good survey companies are an excellent way to bring in a few extra dollars from the privacy of your home. They’re usually maintained by parent marketing research companies and confirm your acceptance via e-mail. Their website will provide extensive information regrinding the company and earning incentives.

The bad news about the “good” companies is that the surveys are few and far between, are usually only available by e-mail invitation and take a while to get a check or deposit into your Paypal account. If you’ve ever participated in a survey at the mall or through a neighborhood research firm, you know that you’re lucky to make $100 a year doing this.

The good news about the “good” companies is that you don’t have to worry about them selling your information to unscrupulous companies, charging your phone bill for something you didn’t buy or trying to “trick” you into buying anything. A good company doesn’t operate that way.

The “bad” survey companies are the ones that offer cash, actually pay cash, but fill your e-mail inbox up with so much spam that you end up spending a good 15 minutes a day deleting all of it. The “bad” survey companies are legitimate to the point that they actually do pay cash once you’ve accumulated a certain amount, but are also interested in getting you to visit the websites of their marketing partners, where you will be pressured into signing up to learn more about affordable health insurance. If you show any sign of interest, expect at least three calls a week from various telephone representatives.

The bad news about the “bad” companies is that you have to keep on your toes. You’ll often find yourself directed to other websites, they will try to sell you many products that you don’t need or want. You have to stay one step ahead of them, or participating in a survey will cost you more than you’ll make.

The good news about the “good” sites is that they’re easy. And that you can make money by referring others to the site. And if you learn the ropes (never, under any circumstances, say that you’re interested in learning more about health insurance), you can earn a few bucks. Cashcrate is one of these sites. It’s bad because you’re constantly being barraged with ads during the course of the survey, but it’s good because you can pick the online paid surveys you want to take and they pay cash once you’ve accumulated $20. You just have to make sure you empty your spam folder every day, delete your cookies each day and sift through a lot of junk e-mail.

The really, really ugly sites are just downright scams. They won’t offer you any money, instead, they’ll offer you a chance to win “thousands” in their sweepstakes. Or they’ll make ridiculous claims about making “thousands of dollars a week” on their site. They will attempt to get as much information from you as possible and then promptly sell it to third parties. They will try to trick you into accepting “free” magazines and charge your telephone bill for a subscription. They will ask for your cell phone number and charge you for ringtones. They’ll do anything and everything to try to weasel money out of you and you’ll receive nothing in return.

There’s nothing good about these really, really ugly sites except that they’re easy to spot for anyone with an IQ over 60. Unfortunately, the elderly, the young and the very greedy are their favorite prey. Beware of any online survey site that charges a “fee” to join, or has a bunch of “testimonials” from people claiming to have made $10,000 a month on their site. If it was that easy, no one would work; we’d all stay home and do surveys.

So enjoy the good, be careful with the bad and stay away from the really, really ugly. There endith the lesson.