Survey sites, revisited

Back in December, I warned against paying anyone $35 for lists of survey sites.

If I was convinced then it was a bad idea, I’m even more convinced now.The hucksters promise you can make a hundred dollars an hour or more. If you do the math, that can be true–I suppose if someone offers you $35 to take a survey and you finish it in 15 minutes, you’ve essentially been paid $140 an hour–but that’s numbers trickery. You’re not going to get enough surveys to do a 40-hour week at that rate, unless you’re a whole lot luckier than I am.

I signed up at several paid survey sites, starting in late November. Within a week, I got a couple of $10 surveys. After a month or so, a couple of $25, $35 surveys came in. It was nice. Some of the surveys took longer than others, but I don’t think any of them took me much more than 30 minutes.

I think I may have made $100 in my best month.

But here’s the rub. The marketing research people who do these sites don’t want career survey takers. If you take a survey about, say, potato chips, they don’t want to hear from you again for another six months.

My best month, I made about $100. These days, I’m making more like $5 a week. I’m not complaining, because it’s usually a fairly easy five bucks, and while that’s a small amount of money, it’s about the smallest amount of money that you can actually do something with. But is it worth paying $35 to get at a list of people who are willing to shoot five bucks your way every once in a while? No.

The other thing that works against paid surveys being the secret of the universe that leads to financial independence is the speed. Some of them pay you within a couple of weeks. Some of them take months. If your rent is due next week and you’re a few bucks short, don’t count on filling out a bunch of surveys to make up the difference–you’ll be lucky if the money gets to you in time to help you with next month’s rent.

So don’t pay that survey site. If you’re curious, click that link above to the entry I wrote back in December. In the comments, there’s a link to a good site with links to literally hundreds of survey sites, both paid and unpaid. Sign up for a Yahoo mail account and use it to register for a few sites and see what happens. Maybe you’ll do better than me and make a couple hundred bucks one month. Maybe you’ll just make $15. But at least you didn’t pay $35 to find out.

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