Can you really earn money taking surveys? The answer is YES! We've all seen them, advertisements, banner ads, even spam emails promising us extra cash just for taking the time to fill out a survey. But how much can you really make? What exactly do these companies want in return? Read on below to find out.
First, the survey companies actually do get a lot in return for their money. Whether they are researching and developing new products or experimenting with new advertising methods for existing products, the information these companies gleam from your consumer responses is invaluable to them. They can use your responses to find the right market for their product, gauge interest in certain products and even test advertising before they spend a huge amount of money on a national advertising campaign. Not only do the companies get a goldmine of information from consumer responses, but they can even use the aggregate information to form very specific ideas of what a certain market segment wants or needs. Consumer testing and surveys are one of the most important methods of research and testing that the big brand names use to research, develop and market their products, it's a win-win for them, for the consumer and for the people taking the surveys.
There are different types of paid surveys and they each have their own pros and cons, I'll list the two major types below:
Surveys For Cash – This type of survey is the most prized, because you give them your time and they pay you in real money. These survey companies will usually send you a check, but some of them send actual cash in the mail. Ranging from $2, $5 all the way up to $10 and $20. Higher payouts happen, but they are more rare and usually require much more time and information from you, such as keeping a daily journal of your shopping habits, Internet surfing habits or your banking habits or testing out actual products.
Surveys For Rewards – Some survey companies will offer you points for each survey you take, say 50 points or 500 points. Then these points can be redeemed for products, gift certificates, gift cards, airline miles and other items. Sometimes, the points can even be redeeemed for cash. There are more of these types of survey programs available since you must commit some time to faithfully taking the surveys they send in order to gain enough points to be redeemed for something worthwhile. However, these companies tend to send more surveys than the companies that pay cash, so you may have more opportunities to redeem your accumulated points for a cash or a tangible prize in the end.
Avoiding The Scams
Most survey companies are legitimate, but some you may want to watch out for. Listed below are some ways to make sure you are taking surveys for legitimate companies:
Reputation – Before signing up for a survey program, check it's reputation by doing a bit of research to make sure the company actually pays it's members or sends out their prizes. You can check with the Better Business Bureau online, check Google and the many message boards and forums dedicated to taking surveys and making money online in general. It should take you just a few minutes to find out if a company is for real or is just collecting information to spam you.
Survey Directories – You can find some excellent listings of paid survey companies on the web. These directories will often have a description and review of each company. You'll often be able to see what types of payment or prizes they offer. Be sure to check these out. An excellent paid online survey directory is PaidSurvey24.com.
There are some helpful tools available for those that would like to take surveys but don't type very fast or well. One of the best is the Google Toolbar. It's completely free and installs right to your browser. Once it's installed, you should click the OPTIONS tab on the bar and check the box next to AUTOFILL. Then click the AUTOFILL SETTINGS button and fill in all the information there. This enables the autofill form tool so that you can fill out forms asking for your name, address, email address etc. just once and then you can simply click the AUTOFILL button on your browser to fill in each of these fields. Extremely handy and a HUGE timesaver! With the Google toolbar, you can also search Google without having to go to Google's main page, so you can research paid survey companies even more easily. You can get it from Google's site, just go to their main page and click on MORE, then EVEN MORE and then click on TOOLBAR.
In summary, while you may not be able to make a living taking surveys, you certainly can make some extra money and earn some nice prizes. So the question is not, why would you want to take paid surveys, it's why wouldn't you want to take paid surveys?! It's easy, often fun and has many benefits! Good luck!