Your experiences with paid consumer surveys??

joyfulguyApril 13, 2003

Hello, all,

This is not precisely a topic related to saving money - sorry to be somewhat off topic.

I think that it is related, though.

I've taken part for a while in a couple of consumer research agencies who ask consumers to participate in surveys to provide guidance to manufacturers and retailers, etc. with a view to improving their products or services.

Some of them hold draws, often quarterly, where one or a few participants get a prize of say $1,000., or a few get $100. each, etc. Pretty thin chance of being a beneficiary.

I've heard that some offer payment for each survey completed, focus group participated in, etc.

I hear that some also offer (small) compensation for each survey done by someone that I recommend - and (smaller still) by someone that that person recommends.

I recently received one offer (sent a number of times) offering to give me the names of a number of such agencies - for a fee of US$30. plus.

If some of you have had experience with such situations, I'm interested what results you had and how you feel about them.

I wonder also whether you've come to the conclusion that some peddle your name to sales groups who then spam you with their offers.

I'm trying to gather somewhat more information than merely with a view to participating in them myself. Maybe should set up a website where I charge people a (small) fee for such a list - you know me: I'm not a greedy guy.

Thanks in advance for your input.

joyful guy/Ed.

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"I recently received one offer (sent a number of times) offering to give me the names of a number of such agencies - for a fee of US$30."

That is a SCAM ... Don't bite.

I participate in one email survey program, and occasionally get the $$$ that is scattered around the participants. I think I've made perhaps $50 from it.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2003 at 10:10AM
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I participate in surveys, both via internet and in person.

For the internet, one enters your name into a drawing which I have never won, and the other gives you "points" for each completed survey which you can redeem for products.

I like the one with "points" personally as I feel like I have a chance to get something for giving my opinion.

I also have qualified for a few "focus groups" at a local research company. They pay US$50 for 2 hours time at the most. I find it interesting and they're usually in the evenings so I can squeeze the time in around my family and work schedule.

Since I'm nothing if not opinionated, I enjoy participating whether there is compensation or not.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2003 at 2:17PM
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Pooh Bear

I participate in an online survey.
They email me about once a week with a new survey.
For every survey I complete, my name is entered to win
cash or other prizes. Usually the cash is 100 dollars.
Once a month there is one 1000 dollar winner.
Each survey only takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Link to the site is below if you want to check it out.

Pooh Bear

Here is a link that might be useful: NPD Research

    Bookmark   April 13, 2003 at 9:20PM
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Hi Keli,

I have a feeling that I might be somewhat opinionated, myself.

Hi ole Hunny Bear,

I've been doing NPD, also.

Ain't sniffed a smell of any money, yet.

Greetings, lazygardens,

Since I ain't seen any money - the other guys didn't get any.

Thanks for the info - useful, as always.

I hope that you all have a great week coming up. Approach each day with anticipation.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   April 13, 2003 at 10:08PM
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My husband completed some very successful surveys: One for Ski magazine, in which we won 2 skitrips- one to Austria and one to Argentina. Unfortunately the trip to Argentina would have killed us in taxes, so we couldn't go on that leg, but Austria was absolutely wonderful.

The other one was an on-line survey, I can't remember for whom, but he won a trip to Las Vegas for 8 people for a weekend. We ended up staying for a week (at a much less expensive hotel- the prize paid for Paris!).

I almost got a gift certificate for Outback Steakhouse when I filled out a survey for a replacement window company. When they found out I only need 2 windows because it's a newer home with 2 bad windows, I lost out on the deal. Oh well.

Personally, I only do surveys with companies I know and trust and who have a written privacy policy. Otherwise, I think spam is the name of the game.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2003 at 8:47PM
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Pooh Bear

Hey Ed,
I found this in the official rules of NPD surveys.

"Any potential winner who is a resident of Canada must correctly answer, without assistance of any kind, whether mechanical or otherwise, a time-limited mathematical skill-testing question administered online or offline in order to be declared a winner."

I thought it to be a tad bit unfair.
Thought you would be interested tho.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   April 15, 2003 at 1:27AM
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Hi Hunny Pot and anyone interested,

It's a legal requirement with all lotteries in Canada that some action on the part of the participant must be involved, so that it's not "something for nothing". Most operators require that a skill-testing question be answered correctly.

Almost all make it of the mathematical variety. Some require that it be without mechanical help, etc. - but they ain't no one there to see, when they calls ya on the phone.

Actually - maybe I should check with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency as to whether participation in the questionnaire on the surveys isn't enough of a service on my part to justify the income.

I think that they would say that every participant has completed the survey, so we're all on level ground, there - but not everyone gets paid. So that's the part of the situation that is a game of chance: I haven't done anything more than every other participant did.

One nice feature - lottery and other games of chance winnings are tax-free in Canada.

Which makes coming to Canadian casinos attractive to quite a few U.S.ers.

When it's lotteries or other games of chance where I must pay to participate - I haven't done so for about 50 years. If one can justify participation as "entertainment', maybe it's worth it. But as an investment ... ??

Games of chance are a voluntary tax on the stupid.

There's been a proliferation of them in recent years in Canada.

I'm working to find some survey agencies which recruit people without my paying a fee, but which pay me as a participant. Some pay via periodic draws for cash, prizes, gift certificates, etc.

But - who needs a situation where you have about 10 chances in 17,000 of winning a prize?

I'd rather participate in surveys where I get paid for each survey that I complete.

Some agencies pay (a rather small amount) to every participant for each survey that s/he completes.

At least one pays me (a smaller amount) when each person that I recruit completes each survey, as well.

And a dollar to me for each survey completed by everyone that my recruit recruits.

A very major issue - I want to find out which agencies sell my name to spammers.

There are nooks and crannies involved with every issue, aren't there?

I thank each person here who has helped me learn more about managing my life more effectively.

At no cost.

I was going to say, "Except $15.00 a year to be a member of Gardenweb" - but that's not true -I can read for free.

Good wishes to all for a healthy, happy, prosperous old age - as I'm enjoying now.

ole joyful

P.S. I'm enjoying this - can't ya tell? EB

    Bookmark   April 15, 2003 at 6:14PM
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If you can find the Pinecone banner running across the top of a page someplace, try to sign up with them. They send a check for a few dollars everytime you do a survey. It's not a whole lot, but at least they pay you. I've never gotten any spam from them.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2003 at 4:37PM
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Pooh Bear

PineCone seems to be picky about who they accept.
I tried to sign up with them. And they didn't accept me.
I did email them a few times. I just got the opinion that they didn't accept everybody who applied.
I finally gave up.

Pooh Bear

Here is a link that might be useful: Pine Cone Research

    Bookmark   April 16, 2003 at 11:18PM
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I participate in a few of the "1 in 1000" surveys, sometimes they pay you $1 for filling one out; I do it for fun so doesn't matter much. One I do gives a little prize at the end of the year but not worth the time you have to put into filling the paperwork out. I did win a nice Palm Pilot a couple years ago by filling one out for a magazine I get. An in-law of mine participates in paid focus groups, she wanted me to do one but an hour drive one-way on a weeknight so havn't done it.

Seems to me the math test could be made pretty easy:


Also, I have never traced any spam or junkmail to a legitimate survey. I believe the good ones (Harris, NFO, CMP) take things very seriously.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2003 at 9:05AM
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Hi shore72,

I got you beat - I'm 74.

The skill-testing math question usually goes something like:
5 x 20 x 12 - 89 =

Usually the string has more pluses and minuses, not so much multiplying.

But the example that I gave is for a company whose more or less nationwide phone number to call for a snack food to be delivered to your door is: guess what - 1111. There's a (519) 667 (in this area) that needs to go in front.

Anyone for pizza?

Good wishes to all for an Easter season (if such is important to you) bringing deeper spiritual understanding and commitment,

I hope that you'll be more committed to seeking to be on God's side rather than seeking to enlist God on yours. That Reality doesn't respond too well to the latter request.

Or "Dieu", "Allah", "Deus", "Hananeem" or whatever title you may use for Him/Her - that Being answers to all, I think. The reality of the Being certainly so much greater than either of the limiting concepts of "male" and "female" that we can't begin to comprehend it.

Ooops - OT again.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 4:00PM
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I work in market research and am involved mostly in focus groups, although my old company also worked with mail panels like NFO and Market Trends.

From my experience reputable firms do not want to risk alienating the people that they depend on for their businesses, so they're not going to sell your info or anything like that. The agreement (verbal if you're recruited over the phone, written if you're part of a panel) should inform you of what that company's practices are. If not, then you should ask.

We pay a cooperation fee for focus groups, while mail panels are generally unpaid. Everyone who attends a focus group gets the same dollar amount. But between groups the dollar amount may vary. I used to be in consumer products like shampoo, so we paid $50 for a 2 hour group. But now I work in medical and it costs a lot more to get a doctor to come to a focus group for 2 hours. You have to make it worth their time, or they just don't show up. Companies spend thousands of dollars on each focus group, and the cooperation fee is only part of the cost. More than one or two no-shows, and you are in trouble.

Even I stay away from telephone surveys, though. I have been misled one too many times about how long it would take to complete. 5-10 minutes stretched into 45 minutes during dinner time, and after that I won't do it again. I always tell the caller that that is why I won't participate.

Everyone I have directly worked with in the market research industry has been honest and considerate of what their respondents' needs are. They really love to get at what people think about things. But there are unscrupulous people everywhere - stay away if you are uncomfortable.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 5:55PM
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Hi Pooh Bear and all,

If you go to "" and check "FAQ" they'll tell you that they don't accept applications through their website or from referrals.

One must reply to a banner ad that they run on various websites.

Where do you find such websites?

Well - here and there. And now and then.

I'm intrigued.

So - if any of you Frugal Folks run into one of their banner ads, ship me a message post-haste to my email address at the top of this post, would you?

"Tell me where to go" - sort of.

That just applies to those who can tell where to find those banners, in case some others were inclined to follow that advice in general.

Adella Bedella,

Thank you for the rather comprehensive info.

If I might suggest some such sites to folks who might be pleased to make some extra income - I want to know which such agency is reputable.

I don't like to recommend junk.

Some whose primary purpose is to build databases using rather unscrupulous means might well use such a system to acquire a measure of personal information about particpants, which make such databases more valuable in that market.

The survey aspect would be just a cover, as far as they might be concerned. Though they might collate the information gathered in their surveys and try to peddle it to relevant companies.

I'm interested to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Good wishes to all for a memorable Easter (if that celebration is important to you).

joyful guy

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 9:19PM
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Pooh Bear

Hey Ed (and anybody else that is interested).
Here is an advertisement that is appearing on the
Channel 9 online classifides site.

Get paid for taking Internet surveys. There is no cost to
join and it makes a great job for supplemental income.
E-mail me for the details.

Don't know if it is any good or not.
I haven't emailed them to see about it.
I wouldn't know what to say to them.
If anybody wants to, email them and then tell us what you find out.
I would be interested to know.

Pooh Bear

Here is a link that might be useful: Channel 9 online ads

    Bookmark   May 8, 2003 at 8:58PM
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I do several online surveys monthly but also have not won anything.

I signed up for the survey that gives points for products but ended up with so much spam from that one.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 10:57AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I've never had or taken the time to ever do a survey...can't seem to even get off GW and THS to do much else.

Doesn't doing surveys cause a lot of SPAM, and bad things (spyware and other crap) to try and invade ones computer?

Sue...who would be afraid it would just be asking for possible trouble

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 11:50AM
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I tried an online survey and am now considering changing my email address.......tons of spam daily. It's driving me crazy! I even checked NO to all other offers. sigh :(

    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 9:24AM
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Thanks for the ideas, everyone.

I've been participating in a few consumer surveys - a couple that I know are professional surveys, that aren't hooking me up for spam, I'm sure.

I've been said to be a participant in a number of those so-called regular "draws for prizes", but have yet to win anything. Some regularly show name, city and picture of a number of purported winners.

Actually, how about signing up for a new email address with one of the free providers, then using that as your address for a given survey company?

I did, back when Yahooo only allowed a limited space. If the survey company hooked some spammers up to my address ...

... it wasn't long till my box became so full that the provider refused to accept any more messages.

Which I thought sort of gave the "survey" company a hard time - but I guess that it didn't, for they probably continued to give out my address that returned mail as undeliverable, charging their clients for my "plugged, so inoperable" address.

Right now I'm rather disgusted because one of my major addresses is receiving about 500 messages in about 4 - 5 days - and I can only delete in batches of 25.

I think that I made the mistake of replying to some of the more useless ones.

Usually a "Reply" is returned as undeliverable - and if a salesperson who came to your door with a smiling face hanging out and, full of enthusiasm, offered you a name of him/herself or his/her company, or an address, that was fake ...

... what do you think the possibility might be that you would even give a smidgeon of thought to doing business with such??

How much more so when approached on the anonymous internet?


Hope you all have a week free of unwanted mail!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 5:56PM
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I tried one, Sara always writes asking you if you want to participate, forget their name... never paid me a dime. Never won anything. They did send me a sample tube of Crest new mix something to try with explicit directions on when, and only when, I could brush my teeth.

Poor Sara probably thinks I dont love her anymore. I added her to the junk filter because her opt-out doesnt work.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 12:47AM
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Any recent arrivals who might be interested in this old mail?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 1:18PM
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Being a bit sceptical, I would assume they are more interested in improving their advertising than in improving their product.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 3:32PM
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Years ago I did door to door surveys for Research Associates. I often wondered when I did it, if the questions we were asking were what they were really looking for. The demographics (age, occupation, income, number in the family, info about cars in the family)seemed to be really important and they would be upset if we didn't get that info. I thought at the time that we were asking some extra questions each time that really were looking for political & economic positions. The quesions we asked first were about new products, because people were comfortable with that. By the end of an interview, you could practically ask for the combination to the safe and get it.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 7:47AM
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I do surveys for That's the Carol Adams oufit. You can save your points for cash or redeem them for prizes. You can also donate them to charity or use them to enter drawings. I saved my points and recently redeemed them for $50. which they sent promptly when I asked for it. It took me a couple years to get enough points for the 50 bucks. Some of the surveys can get a little irritating but if you have time on your hands why not go for it? I also received 2 bags of charcoal (10lbs each I think), a roll of paper towels, and a 39 oz can of coffee for trying the products and reporting to them.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 4:29PM
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