A few years ago, I saw one of those ads for making money at home by doing online surveys. This particular ad was for a site that charged a one-time fee - around $30 - for a list of sites. I decided I didn't need to pay any money for this information, and looked around on my own for free survey sites. I did in fact find some, signed myself up... and promptly gave up when nothing materialized.
Earlier this year, I saw another similar ad and thought I would give it another go. This time I decided to treat it like my own little research project. Again I didn't pay any money, instead searching for free lists of sites that paid for surveys. That in itself was a lengthy process, I'm not going to lie. Once I had a good list going, I signed up for them one by one, taking careful notes in a notebook that I used just for that purpose. I jotted down my login information, how they paid, what kinds of online activities they paid for, and what (if anything) I actually earned from them. When all was said and done, I'd signed up at over 60 sites, and still occasionally sign up for more when I hear of them.
So how many ended up being good, legitimate sites? I have around 10 that I deal with regularly, and another 10 that are great, paying sites, if a little more sporadic. The rest of the 40+ other sites... a complete and total waste of time. I've posted the links to the keepers if you want to check them out for yourselves. They are ALL free to join, and I've received paychecks or Pay Pal payments from all of them (from some of them regularly.) They won't make you rich by any means, but are great for spending money or extra cash to pay down debt!
Here's my very own top five tips for making money through surveys, learned through the old-fashioned process of trial and error;
1. Create an email address (yahoo, hotmail, or gmail are all free) just for surveys and survey-related emails. Sign up with that email, and check it every day. You will get a LOT of email. What I do when I check my mail is first delete any spam, check the highest-paying offers next, then quickly scan everything that's left, one by one. Sometimes I have to pick and choose if time's an issue.
2. Don't discount the sites that offer surveys for points instead of cash. When I first started doing them, I was ignoring the emails that didn't list a dollar amount. I wasted a lot of potential money that way! Opinion Outpost, Global Opinion Panels (Synovate), and Creation Rewards are just a few great sites that award you points that you can then redeem for cash.
3. Make sure you do all your screening surveys and profile questionaires when you sign up. A lot of them pay you just for filling them out, and they make you eligible to receive more surveys.
4. Keep a spreadsheet of your sites to keep track of your earnings, when you're eligible to cash out, etc. Also, make a list of sites to visit daily, whether you received emails from them or not. Some sites simply send you email invitations when they have surveys available. Clear Voice, My View, Your 2 Cents, Mindfield, and Survey Spot are a few of my favorites that send email invites. Some never send emails, but always have surveys available on their sites. At Cash Crate you can do two a day for $.80 each. Quick Rewards lists over $2.50 in surveys daily. Creation Rewards, Send Earnings and Inbox Dollars all also post daily surveys. They add up!
5. Don't limit yourself to surveys. A lot of these sites pay for reading emails, viewing ads, sign-ups, taking quizzes, and shopping. I've done product evaluations for more than one site too. They send me something to try, and I answer a follow-up survey. Those are fun and pay well too! Right before I started this blog entry, I got paid $1.30 to sign up for a Home Depot club (completely free of course) and take a quiz on how well I knew my Grey's Anatomy trivia :)
And a bonus number 6.... ASK someone, such as yours truly, if something is confusing. I wish I'd had someone to ask when I was blindly signing up for my 78th useless site.