There are a multitude of survey companies online to choose from. One survey panel I’ve been reluctant to join because I had heard mixed reviews was Hostpex.
I finally worked up the nerve to give them a shot a few weeks back. Today I’ll lay out my complete Hotspex review for you.
A Little Background On Hotspex
Hotspex research panel was founded in 2000 and headquartered in Toronto, Canada. But they have locations in more than 19 countries. Their client list for conducting marketing research includes many household names, such as: P&G, Unilever, McDonalds, Microsoft and Nestle. They promise their clients consumer-driven data that provides “meaningful, actionable insights…allow our clients to develop better strategies, innovations and executions”.
They invite consumers to become part of an “internet panel of innovators”, with the call to influence the market place, coupled with the prospect of earning cash and prizes. These rewards include something called “BUX” points — which as you may expect — can be redeemed for gift cards and cash payments.
One thing that separates this site from some others it that you can redeem your BUX points to contribute to a selection of 10 well known organizations – including The Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House, Amnesty International and Habitat for Humanity.
I headed over to the official Hotspex site and easily created my account. I was impressed with their site – it was informative without looking too busy, seemed well-designed (and most importantly) was very easy to sign-up and to begin my first survey.
There are two types of Hotspex surveys: Ones which you are invited to participate via email and those that you can find on the main website on the “Survey List” tab.
The surveys that are posted online are much shorter surveys and not as valuable in BUX currency, but take very little time to complete. So they might be worth the effort when you have the extra time and are waiting to another survey invitation from Hotspex.
However, if you have been invited to participate in a survey – concentrate on these first, as you will earn more BUX rewards.
So every couple days I would receive an email inviting me to take a new survey. The email provided an overview of the topic and the length of time it would take to complete – most surveys had a time to complete of 15 minutes.
The email also highlighted that in exchange for my completed survey, Hotspex will plant a tree in the Peruvian rainforest – a real “feel good factor”.
The surveys were easy to navigate and at the beginning of each one, there were some pre-qualification questions. In most cases I did quality to continue the survey. But once I did not qualify and was a bit baffled – wished I could have known why. But that’s just my own curiosity and not a knock against the site.
Regardless, Hotspex still awarded me some BUX points for my effort. Here’s an example of what that looks like:
As a fun diversion, midway through the survey there is a game to see if you win a prize. While I never won more than 5 additional BUX, there were promises of iPods and other great prizes – so maybe next time!
At the end of each survey, it did ask you multiple choice questions about the survey itself, which I liked and hopefully they got value from my feedback. They also asked for feedback on each surveys as an open-ended question, especially useful for the few surveys that seemed to need improvement.
An Example: Food Survey
Generally, I found the surveys to be self-explanatory and easy to complete.
There are a couple exceptions. For example, a food survey I took was a bit baffling. For example, a question posed was, “What are the words, thoughts or ideas that you would use to describe major manufacturers of food & beverage products? “
This was fine, and probably a good idea. But then they had several questions about food manufacturers such as “Offers products that make my meals special” or “Is affiliated with professional sports”.
Then I was asked to choose from the following free association words: competent, interested, nurturing, fun, familiar, friendly, inspired, trust, and bad. The survey did say that there were no right or wrong answers, but the free association seemed irrelevant and I found myself guessing at times to get to the next page.
There are many different types of rewards to be earned by taking the Hotspex surveys.
Contests – You can trade your BUX for chances to win prizes and they have an attractive prize list including a Nespresso coffee maker, iPad mini and a $150 Amazon gift Card.
PayPal – You can exchange your BUX balance for funds to be transferred into your PayPal account, up to $50 per month. This is in contrast to many other survey sites that don’t offer cash out option. You’ll need a minimum of 2750 Bux to get $25 PayPal.
Gift Cards – You can also exchange your BUX for gift cards redeemable on Amazon. In exchange for 1,100 BUX you can earn a $10 Amazon gift card.
Hotpot – This is a fun option if you’re feeling lucky. The Hotpot is a monthly 50/50 draw where the prize amount is calculated by the number of participants each month.
So Hotspex starts the ball rolling with a starting balance of 10,000 BUX and participants add to the total during the month. At the end of the month, a winner is drawn. Half of your BUX is added to the winners account and the other half donated to one of the charities on the site, as selected by the winner.
Donate – As mentioned earlier, instead of the options above, you can always donate your BUX to your choice of the partnered charities on the website.
Plant a Tree
One of the differences that you will notice on this survey site is their environmental concern and their partnership with the Rainforest Conservation Fund. As of August 2013, they had already planted 2,670,000+ trees in the Peruvian Amazon, since the inception of this program which started in 2007. According to the data on their website, this unique program has made a real difference in this regard.
Refer a Friend
Most survey companies offer a referral program, and Hotspex is no different. I did find Hotspex generous with their incentive by offering to credit your Hotspex account with 100 BUX.
Although, given the number of members of their panel, I would have expected more than 3600+ Facebook “likes” and 400+ Twitter “followers”.
Both Hotspex participants and the company are missing out on opportunities here. Hotspex does offer additional contests that are promoted only on its Facebook page, as well as reminders when special offers are available.
So if you’re interested in participating in the Hotspex panel, I would encourage you to “like” their Facebook page, as I found information about surveys, prizes and such that was not highlighted on their website or in the emails that I received from them.
As an aside, Hotspex should create a more interactive social media plan and determine a way in dramatically increase the number of likes on their Facebook page.
However, since there are currently so few Facebook followers, this should work to your advantage with greater odds to win a contest.
I did not need to contact customer service or have any Hotspex complaints, but I did take a look at other online comments and complaints about their service levels. Most comments from other participants were complimentary regarding the responsiveness and problem solving ability of their Customer Service group. Furthermore, the site seems to generally fare better in this regard,when compared to the online reviews of other survey companies.
In contrast to some other online survey for money panels like Swagbucks and Cashcrate, I found Hotspex very easy to use and their surveys interesting and entertaining. Additionally, unlike other companies, I did not experience any technical difficulties with their website and found that their survey navigation made sense.
No one is going to make a lot of money on this survey site, but if you’re looking for just a bit of spending money and/or the chance to win prizes, then Hotspex is a worthwhile option if you’ve decided to join a survey panel.