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Earn More Money: Online Surveys

This article was written by in Income. 10 comments.

This is the fourth article in a series about finding methods of earning incremental income. Some people have a desire to earn more money without the available time to learn a new skill or start a new business. I’ve written about becoming a mystery shopper, selling items on eBay, and teaching and tutoring.

The key to these techniques for earning more money is understanding that trading in small amounts of time for small amounts of cash is not a path to wealth. Nevertheless, when you have ten minutes here and ten minutes there, and would otherwise would be spending the time watching television, why not optimize that time a little better?

Recently, Donna Freedman offered advice on online surveys on a visit with the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, and she prepared a comprehensive article for MSN earlier this year.

My experience with online surveys

Pen and Paper: Online SurveysA few years ago, I gave online surveys a try. During an open enrollment period, I signed up for PineCone Research, one of the more popular online survey operators. Every few days between October 2006 and November 2007, PineCone sent me an email with a link to a new survey. Completing the surveys took only a few minutes each, and when completed, the company sent five dollars per surveys to my PayPal account relatively quickly. I received new survey opportunities every few days, but I rarely completed the surveys.

If I had signed up for more companies, I would have had enough opportunities to earn more money. I decided that answering surveys was not an ideal way for me to spend my time. Completing surveys can be somewhat tedious; I compare it to data entry, an annoying task that I’ve tried to avoid as much as possible throughout my adult life. As a result of my lack of motivation, I didn’t earn very much from online surveys.

Income potential for online surveys

Anyone interested in spending a significant amount of time completing surveys can earn much more than I did. With enough time, there are enough opportunities to earn a good part-time salary. PineCone research may be one of the most popular survey companies, but they don’t always accept new participants. Be on the look-out for ads that announce the next enrollment period. In her article, Donna cites the MSN Smart Spending community with recommendations for other survey providers, including Toluna, Synovate, Lightspeed Online Research, i-Say, SurveySpot, Valued Opinions and Surveyhead.

Although I earned five dollars for each survey at the time I participated, compensation can range as low as 50 cents. You may occasionally be able to find a survey that pays twenty dollars, depending on how your profile matches a survey’s requirements. Sometimes, the unique profile aspect is as simple as being a man; most survey respondents are women, and if a company is looking for opinions from men, they may be willing to pay more or offer more opportunities.

Do you earn extra money taking online survey? What do you enjoy about these opportunities?

Photo: Senior Peter

Published or updated September 23, 2011.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 wylerassociate

I got a packet in the mail yesterday from a company called knowledge panel to fill out surveys. I will receive 10 dollars if I fill out the first survey. I’ve never filled out surveys as a form of income, I’m going to give it a try and see how I like it.

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avatar 2 Ceecee

The payout is pretty low for surveys, but it beats playing computer games and getting nothing. MySurvey is legit. There are also some surveys on Amazon’s Mturk. It could buy a dinner out now and then, but not enough to survive on, as far as I’ve seen.

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avatar 3 shellye

I subscribe to MyPoints and earn points with their surveys. You can save up the points to cash in for a lot of different gift cards. I usually cash mine in around Christmas and have earned enough for a couple of $50 cards somewhere. I wouldn’t be able to survive day-to-day using MyPoints (at least I don’t think I could) but it’s nice to fill in the gaps on birthdays and at Christmas.

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avatar 4 qixx

From my experience you tend to not qualify more than 50% of the time. Often it takes a couple minutes to find out you did not qualify after entering a few basic (always repeated) questions. You’ll answer age, gender, income, family size, ethnicity, company profile, etc. After answering the same questions every time you find out you did not meet the survey profile. I do surveys through MyPoints, MySurveys (they seem to buy other survey companies – i’ve had 2 different survey companies consolidate my accounts to here), Swagbucks, e-rewards, Synovate, ValuedOpinions, ConsumerSay, SurveySpot and maybe others i’m forgetting at the moment. Many of these have Amazon as a rewards option and on a few the Amazon credit is the best value (MyPoints it is not).

From the ones i’ve seen e-rewards pays the best but has the fewest rewards options, you also can only ever join after getting an invite through various companies. The company you join through will determine the rewards available to you. You also will not have the option of gift cards until you’ve been there over 1 year. Gift cards cost $2-3.50 per dollar credit (ie $75 e-rewards dollars gets you $25 gift card) but they have a good magazine selection if you want/need magazine subscriptions. They also usually pay $.10-$.50 if you don’t qualify for the survey.

MyPoints is the worst of the options at an average of 75 points per survey and 10 points for not qualifying. $10 Gift Cards cost 1650 points (22 complete surveys). SwagBucks only costs 900 points for $10 Amazon credit but you only get points for surveys you qualify for and complete.

MySurveys and ConsumerSay work together. You can transfer ConsumerSay credit to MySurveys. ConsumerSay pays better for giving them access to you credit card account login information (do you really trust them?) but any survey i’ve gotten through them (1 every 2-3 months) has been 100% qualified. They may pre-screen before sending you a survey. MySurveys takes usually 4-5 surveys to get $10 Amazon credits.

The others are ones i’ve joined recently so i’m still unsure how to rate them.

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avatar 5 Anonymous

I have to say that my favorite survey sites are, and I use all of them to claim PayPal credit. I think they are great ways to make a little money.

Opinion Place and Survey Spree have too many members and recently many surveys are closing within minutes of release. Mysurvey has a comprehensive rewards programs and offer PayPal. It uses a point system and every 1100 points gets you $10 in credits. Most surveys offer 150 points at completion.

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avatar 6 Donna Freedman

What Ceecee said.
Also, as noted in the article, some survey-takers do this while sitting in front of the TV with spouse, or watching their kids play. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s something.
I still do surveys, and cash in for gift cards. Some I give away on my site, and some I stockpile for holiday shopping.

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avatar 7 Anonymous

Once I got a mail-in survey from my health insurance provider. It sat on the table for a couple of weeks because I never seemed to find time to do it.
The provider mailed it to me a second time — with a $2 bill taped to the cover letter. Funny how a little bit of cash got me to fill out the survey on the spot and pop it back in to the SASE.
I wonder how many people saw the return address and just tossed it in the trash? All those $2 bills…. :-(

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avatar 8 Cejay

I do the Pinecone surveys; It is $3.00 now and I get about 4 or 5 a month. That is $15.00 a month that goes into my saving account for Christmas or spending money on a vacation. I also do swagbucks and use that for giftcards for christmas. I have done a few others and they are not that great. But like Donna says I do them while sitting in my chair at night while I watch TV or in the monrings while I have a few free minutes to kill. It will not make me rich or pay the bills but it will allow me to buy those things for Christmas that I want or to get gifts for family when I want to. It was so nice to be able to buy a very nice pair of dress shoes for my hubby a few months ago. He said that we could not afford it and that was true but I just got the money out of savings and bought them. It was so nice to see his face and know how I did it.

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avatar 9 tigernicole86

I’ve done surveys for a long time now since I was 13 or 14. But lately, the pickings have been good when doing toluna surveys where I get to try out new products. Usually, they’re partnered with Synovate but I’ve gotten some nice full size products although I always wish I knew the name that way I may be able to find it and get it on sale. But no such luck. But my boyfriend appreciates that sometimes I get the men’s products and he gets something nice too. =D

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avatar 10 Anonymous

I have been doing online surveys for over 5 years and if you actualy work the surveys they send you you will get paid. Whilest you will not get rich doing them you can and will make some extra income on the side. The key in my opinion is to sign up with as many companies as you can this way you have multiple streams of income. Well great article and I hope this helps some of the people that read this.


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