Paid Online Surveys: Beware the Scams

Many of us sign up with market research companies - being inspired by all the 'make good money without ever leaving your home' hype - and never actually receive a paid survey invitation. Instead, the incentives we're offered are along the lines of 'one in 500 participants will win €100'. Also, these survey sites typically laden about a third of their surveys with sponsor offers. One can't help but wonder, at times, if this isn't the whole point of the surveys, considering that after just a few preliminary questions we're launched right into page after page of 'free trials' and company ads.

Sometimes we might encounter a variation of this, only more malicious: an outright trap. Imagine you receive an e-mail invitation to complete a survey about video games. There is a cash incentive of €10, and after the first few screener questions you're told that you qualify - so you continue on with the remainder. It goes on a good deal longer that the 10-15 minutes that they quoted you in the e-mail. Half an hour or more goes by; you're wondering if you'll still make it to work on time. Then, suddenly, after the last set of questions you get a message like this: 'Thanks! Based on your responses, we've selected these great offers for you!'

The whole next page is ads by insurance companies, music and DVD clubs, credit cards, other survey groups, etc. You have the option to click 'yes' or 'no' next to each offer. None of them interest you, so you keep clicking 'no'. When you get to the end and submit, you're returned to the top of this page. The browser message tells you: 'Please say YES to at least one of these great offers'.

Otherwise, you can't continue and earn your 'incentive'. All that time is wasted. Stop responding to any site that habitually does this. Granted, there are many companies that include sponsor offers within their surveys - but they don't require you to follow through with any of them. In these instances you can safely ignore anything that doesn't interest you without sacrificing your benefits for taking the survey. The companies that trap you in an inescapable field of 'offers' were never interested in your opinion - or in paying you for it - in the first place.

author: Seth Mullins

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