In this long-awaited post (at least by me) I’m going to give you guys an inside look of one of the most highly-respected survey panels around: Pinecone Research. And because many people wonder how to join Pinecone Research I’m actually going to provide a link that will give you instant access. However, this site only recruits a few times a year so I’ll only have a link here when I’m able to invite people.
I want to kick things off with a little bit of basic info on the site. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had a “Who We Are” button on their homepage, which is a solid sign of transparency:
Why is this so important? Because a missing or incomplete “about” page is a sign if a phony survey panel. While I wasn’t really worried about this because of Pinecone’s reputation, it’s always something that I like to keep an eye out for.
So…who’s behind this panel? Unlike many survey sites (like Ipsos I-Say), they’re actually not owned by a large market research firm. They’re entire business is conducting paid surveys.
And based on the fact that I’ve spent more than a fair share of my spare time on paid survey forums, I know for a fact that this survey panel received very few complaints, which is a rarity in this industry.
Does The Site Pay?
I’m a member of over 43 survey panels (crazy, I kn0w). And while I tend to make more from a few other sites, Pinecone is consistently one of my best earning sites, especially when I calculate my income per hour.
In general, they pay about $3 per survey. While that’s not going to get you very far in today’s economy, it’s definitely above average. I’ve spent HOURS on boring surveys as a panelist with other sites, and only had a few bucks to show for my time. In my experience most surveys from this site only take around 15-minutes. The longest survey I think I’ve received as a panelist took about 30-minutes.
And I’ve also received countless products for me and my family to test (even though technically only one person per household is allowed to join). Usually you get the product for free and get paid $3 to share your thoughts. Not a bad deal if you ask me!
Get this: their payment structure is the best in the business. No points, no minimums, and no hassle! Once of my pet peeves is having to keep track of all the points that most survey panels shell out these days. It’s really refreshing to just get paid (via check of PayPal) after completing one survey.
Pinecone Research’s Weird Little Wrinkle
If you’ve been in the survey game for a while you’re probably used to panels falling over each other to try to get you to join their site. They flatter you with slogans like, “we value your opinion and are willing to pay you for it.” And they entice you to join with promises of cash, lucrative rewards points and sweepstakes entries.
Pinecone Research doesn’t play that game. They’re actually in such high-demand (mostly due to their generous payments and reliability) that they don’t accept new members very often. Which can make it frustrating when you’re looking for a simple way to get your Pinecone Research membership.
And even when they do open their doors you need an invitation, which can be VERY hard to find.
What You’ll Need to Sign Up
If you have all the information you need and are ready to join, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Make sure you’re a resident of the USA
- Use an invitation link
- Enter demographic information
- Wait to hear from them to see whether or not you made it
Sometimes, even with a valid invitation, people are turned away. It’s usually because you’re in a demographic that they have covered with their existing panel members.
Watch Out For This Scam
Lots of people email me asking my opinion to whether or not their is Pinecone Research scam that they should look out for. Well, the site itself if anything but a scam.
However, as reported by the BBB, there was a scam in August 2012 that you should be aware of. People were invited to a phony survey site pretending to be Pinecone. And once they handed over some basic financial info they’re asked to participate in a money laundering scheme. According to this article, someone lost over $3,000!
Just be a bit more cautious than usual when joining. Make 100% sure that you’re on the official site and not a mirror site made to trick people into handing over sensitive information. Sadly, because the official site is so plain and dated it makes it much easier for scammers to emulate their site. Note to Pinecone: it’s 2013…time to update your site for this century!
Survey Spencer Bottom Line
If you’re able to get an invitation then you should definitely consider adding Pinecone Research to your list of trusted cash-paying panels.