Harris Poll Online: My Review and Bottom Line

by Spencer Mitchell on April 30, 2013

Wondering whether or not Harris Poll Online is a survey panel worth joining? Then you probably want to read this review where I join the site and write about my experience (both good and bad).

Before we dive into my Harris Poll Online review, let’s quickly go over the group behind this site. Although most people want to know how much a typical survey pays or what the payment threshold is, it’s important to understand the survey panel’s background as well. This way, you’ll have an idea of whether or not the panel is backed by years of trusted market research…or is yet another scam site that launched a few weeks ago.

Is This Site Legit?

So who runs Harris Poll Online? Are they trustworthy? Yes on both counts.

In fact, the group was originally founded as an offline market research firm (called Harris Interactive) over 50 years ago by Lou Harris. While years of existence doesn’t prove anything, it’s definitely something I pay attention to before handing over my personal information. Needless to say 50-years is more than enough time for me to feel comfortable moving onto the next stage of my research: BBB membership and professional affiliations.

First, I checked on the official Better Business Bureau website to see whether or not they were accredited with the BBB. As you can see here, they have a B letter grade with the BBB:
BBB Screenshot of Harris PollA B obviously isn’t ideal (I much prefer to see an A+ grade). And they also aren’t BBB accredited for some reason. These are two red flags.

Also, I noticed that there were three complains issued with the BBB. Thankfully all three had been resolved, which shows me that Harris Poll Online cares enough to make sure customer complaints are heard and dealt with.

On a brighter note I did notice that they have an active membership with trusted organizations like the National Council of Public Polls. Groups like the NCPP and CASRO are very careful about who they let in. Membership with these groups increases the odds that the time you dedicate to taking surveys will be rewarded fairly.

Oh, and I should mention that this is one of the few survey panels that allow international panelists. In fact, you can join if you’re a citizen of Japan, Greece, Norway, Denmark and Austria (and a few others).

Rewards Structure

Unfortunately, this site doesn’t pay it’s panelists in cash. Instead, they’ve set up their own proprietary system known as HIpoints. Like most other survey sites, they allow you to redeem HIpoints for rewards, ranging from gift cards to electronics. They also have monthly sweepstakes with a grand prize of $10,000. To show that they actually award someone with a prize, they actually list their winners:

Sweepstakes Page ScreenshotInside the Site

With more than a bit of trepidation, I signed up. I was excited to see that I qualified for a survey right away…or so I thought.

After spending 15-minutes filling in information about my age, my home’s value, mortgage payments, interest rates and a whole host of other questions I was suddenly informed that I didn’t qualify for the survey. Are you kidding me?

I don’t mind spending a minute or two to let the panel know about me. But to waste 15-minutes of my time with a long screening questionnaire (without even getting any rewards points) is a really poor first impression.

A few days later I received an invitation that I qualified for another survey. This time I kind of rushed through the first 20 questions in case they were going to pull another “Sorry, but you don’t qualify for this survey. Thanks for your time”. Fortunately, I did finish the survey and was awarded 100 HIpoints.

One feature I was looking forward to was their “subpanels”. These are smaller, more tightly-focused groups of panelists that fit a certain set of criteria. However, after participating in over 5 surveys I have yet to receive an invite to a subpanel.

I’ve been with them for about 3-months now and have received about 1-2 invitations per week. I’ve qualified for all of them. However, I still haven’t reached a threshold of 1,350 points to cash out (I have my eye on an Amazon gift card). At this rate it’s going to be about a year before I get my first reward.

I did a bit of research online to see what other people were posting in blogs and review sites. Let’s just say that there were more than a few complains about Harris Poll Online. The general consensus seems to be that the site used to be worth joining, but took a nosedive in 2011 and 2012. Now they’re much more picky about letting people take their paid surveys (as I saw firsthand with my disqualification message midway through a survey).

Bottom line: I’m reluctant to recommend Harris Poll Online to anyone due to the fact that they invite you to surveys only to tell you 15 or 20 minutes in that you don’t qualify. If they can fix that up then I may change my mind. Until then, I’d recommend staying away from this panel.

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