Answer: Yes, this is for real. There are literally hundreds of legitimate market research companies out there who offer incentives for your opinion. Companies have come to these firms to get public opinions on their products or services and are willing to pay them to find out what you think. They then pass some of that payment onto you.
Answer: Just about anything that you can think of. You may be asked to review a movie trailer for a new movie, what kind of peanut butter you like, what restaurants you frequent, you name it. From barbeque grills to medical questions to appliances to what you had for dinner last night. There are sites for specific age groups, professions, hobbies and interests. The surveys are generally very interesting and these companies are looking for your opinion on how to shape their products.
Answer: Each company works a bit differently, but here are the basics of online surveys. You will sign-up for a paid survey site. You will enter some basic demographic information (age, gender, etc…), and when they have a survey available in which they are looking for someone who fits your profile, they will send you an invitation to take a survey. The invitation will usually contain a link directly to the survey and the incentive they are offering for you to take the survey. Just click on the link and take the survey to qualify for the reward.
Answer: The incentives vary for each site, but generally the incentives take the following forms: cash, gift certificates (Amazon gift certificates being the most popular), merchandise (DVDs, small appliances, electronic gadgets, cookware, etc…), and charity donations. Each survey site will offer one or several of the above incentives for your participation in their surveys. Some will offer these straight out, for example "get paid $5.00 to take this survey", some offer these in the form of a drawing and others have a point system in which accumulated points can be "cashed in" for the items above.
Answer: No. There are several reasons why you shouldn't pay a dime to take online surveys. First, with a little effort you'll be able to find all of the sites yourself - free. There are a lot of free sites that have pretty good lists and also a few really good free sites out there that have comprehensive free paid survey directories with hundreds of listings. Secondly, market research firms are actually prohibited from charging people to participate in surveys and frown upon anyone who does.
Answer: I've had so many people ask me if there are going to be able to retire by taking online surveys. Well, that's just not going to happen. Where it is possible to make a decent amount of money by making referrals or by running a survey related website, you're just not going to be making a full-time salary by simply taking surveys. There are a lot of sites out there advertising that you can make thousands of dollars per week or make $45 dollars and hour for taking online surveys (you can actually make $45 dollars an hour for a particular survey, but you won't always make that much and it may only be a 10 minute survey).
Answer: That's really hard to say. It really depends on a number of factors. How many sites did you sign-up with? How often do you take the surveys you are invited to take? What is your demographic? Etc… But I won't just leave you hanging at that. I would say, if you sign-up for a number of survey sites, take the majority of the surveys you are invited to and are not limited in life experience, you could make perhaps $1,000 to $2,000 a year in cash or something equivalent. Mostly you will get smaller payments ($1.00 to $10.00) for a survey but I've seen them pay as much as $200. Treat this as extra cash, not a career. You can easily make enough to take the family out for dinner, buy a few extras, get a few nice things for around the house or save it all for your Christmas shopping.
Answer: Yes, I think so. Whereas, it's not going to make you filthy rich, it's certainly an easy and fun way to make a few extra bucks. I find the surveys to be enjoyable to participate in and for the time spent, the compensation is pretty good.
About the author: Chris Ohlson is the owner of Free Paid Surveys.net,
With a comprehensive listing of over 300 paid online survey sites
and dedicated to providing straight-forward and honest information
on paid online surveys.