Legitimate Paid Surveys: How to Find Them

by Spencer Mitchell on July 22, 2012

Ipsos Banner 1If you have done any research on paid survey sites then you may already know that only a  few of them offer real, well-paying paid surveys. Many exist just to push offers on you while others trick you into paying them for “better-paying surveys”. Because some of these tricksters are good at looking real, it can be difficult to differentiate between legitimate paid surveys and scams. Here’s a thorough guide on determining whether or not a survey panel is the real deal.

Legit Paid Surveys Are Free

Let me be crystal clear about one thing: if you ever pay a dime (or give your credit card as part of a trial offer) to a paid survey panel you can be darn sure that it’s not legit. All real survey panels will allow you access to their surveys assuming you meet their requirements (for example, many survey sites require you to be at least 14-years old and a citizen of the US or Canada).

Even worse, many phony survey panels will pretend that they have unfettered access to top brands, like Nike and Sears. However, legitimate paid online surveys from large corporations tend to go through top-tier market research firms, such as Ipsos I Say and MySurvey.

That reminds me, be sure to check out my review of Ipsos I Say to see how you can make up to $30 per survey starting today. 

Also be careful as some phony survey panels are free to join but hit you with offer after offer later. If they do, be sure not to give them your credit card information and immediately unsubscribe from their offers.

How can you possible know whether or not they require payment? The short answer is that you can’t without signing up first. However, most of these phony sites ask for your payment pretty early on. You can also check user reviews on the web (which I will get into later).

By the way, this type of thing is systemic in the work from home/make money online arena, and isn’t exclusive to paid surveys. It’s bothersome, but as someone that has been taking paid surveys for years, it’s something I’ve developed a 6th sense for. I hope by the end of this article you will as well.

Business History

Now that you’ve read the terms and conditions of the site and are 99% sure they aren’t going to ask you for a payment, it’s time to do a little homework on the survey panel in question.

One of the first things I look for is how long they’ve been in business. You’d be surprised how many phony survey panels set up shop out of nowhere, scam as many people as they can, and then disappear from the face of the Earth. In sharp contrast to these brand new panels are those that have been doing business for years. In fact, in the case of some of the more established survey panels, they have been conducting market research studies for over 100-years!

If panel has been around for a while you can be darn sure that it’s been treating people well and paying on time. With the way word spreads like wildfire around the web these days, fake panels don’t have much of a lifespan anymore (good riddance!).

I also like to check their business history over at the Better Business Bureau (that is, assuming they’re listed there). Any business with an A- or above rating is considered very trustworthy and reliable. There are also market research groups, such as the Market Research Association, that real survey panels (such as Ipsos and Pinecone Surveys) tend to belong to.

User Reviews

There’s still one more step before you pull the trigger and sign up to a survey panel that you’ve found: reading reviews on forums and other sites, blogs and reliable resources.

User reviews are really important because they can provide real-world insight into a panel that won’t be obvious on their homepage or FAQ page. For example, the site may say that you get paid X dollars per survey, but you read that they pay significantly less on average. In that case, it may be time to walk away.

Or perhaps they say their payment processing time is 90-days, but everyone’s reporting that they’re having issues receiving their payments. These are important things to know before you delve into a paid survey panel. However, be sure not to let one jaded person make you think a survey panel is fake. Sometimes panels don’t pay people for legitimate reasons (they rush through surveys, they’re not honest about their demographic information etc.). However, if you see the same issue reported over and over again it may be something to consider.

Another thing to keep in mind when reading paid survey site reviews is the date of the review. Sometimes you’ll find complaints from 2008 or 2010 that are now resolved. Be sure that any complaints are somewhat recent of else you may be using out of date information to evaluate a particular survey panel.

Legit Paid Surveys

There ARE trustworthy paid survey sites out there if you know where to look.

Are There Any Paid Survey Panels You Can Trust?

Fortunately, yes! In fact, I would say that surveys for money are one of the few legitimate work from home opportunities out there. And if you consider that they require a grand total of $0 of investment, it makes joining survey panels a no-brainer.

Although you’re now armed with the knowledge you need to pinpoint legitimate paid surveys, because I’m a cool guy I’m going to share with you the 3 survey panels going right now:

  • Ipsos I-Say: Hands down the best survey site on the planet. Best payments, most surveys and the most fun to take surveys imaginable.
  • MySurvey.com: Another site you NEED to join if you want to make real money from online surveys for money.
  • My View: High-paying with dozens of surveys available almost every day. A highly recommended and trustworthy survey panel.

Although these are more and enough steps to ensure that a site can be trusted, there are a few extra steps you can take if you’re still unsure.

The first is to check for a privacy policy and/or terms of use page. These shouldn’t be hidden or hard to find either. When you do find it make sure that it states in plain English that your personal information will never be rented or sold to a third party. You can also email the site to ask them for their policies and procedures. If they don’t have one, move on to the next survey panel on your list.

Also, see if the site bombards you with free trial offers (something that Panda Research is notorious for doing). While the occasional offer is a tad bit annoying, a deluge is a red flag that the site exists only to push offers on you and isn’t a legitimate paid surveys website.

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