Legitimate online survey sites for money

by Caleb Reading

I make a little money from surveys, and people sometimes ask me about that.  I’m posting a full list of sites I’m familiar with here, so I never have to type all of this again.  There aren’t any referral links in this, so I’m not getting paid to talk about these sites.

(Disclaimer: some of these rarely take new members.)

I get a little over $75 per year for telling them about new clothes I buy (I always fill out the survey within the first 5 days of the month and never skip a month to get all the bonus points.) I rarely buy clothes but still get paid. Most months, I log in around the 2nd of the month, click “I didn’t buy anything”, and collect over $5 worth of points. Even when I buy clothes it’s a quick, easy survey. It’s a longitudinal study that rarely takes new participants. If you go several months in a row without buying anything, they’ll kick you out.

Really easy $5 surveys [UPDATED LATER TO ADD: Now they only pay $3 per survey], lots of surveys offered, and quick compensation. You sometimes get more money for trying a product they’ll mail to you. They only take new members some of the time.

This one rarely compensates enough to be worth the time.  I get points from this one that I use for charity donations. This one doesn’t tell you up front how many points you’ll get or how many minutes the survey is estimated to take, and that’s really annoying. Sometimes the survey will take 2 minutes and pay 50 cents worth of points. Other times it may drag on for 10 minutes then they say, “You don’t qualify.” Grrrr. Oh, and they ask you if you think the survey was a good use of your time before you find out how much they’ll pay you.

This one rarely compensates enough to be worth the time.  Very similar to zoompanel, but they discontinued the charity option. I use this one to get CD’s.

Good compensation when you qualify, but I almost never do, and they’ll sometimes take me through several questions that are obviously giving them sellable data and then say, “Sorry, you didn’t qualify for the survey or a reward.” Um . . . excuse me? I just spend fifteen minutes doing the survey. Gimme my money.

I can’t remember the web address. You test out the user-friendliness of a shopping website and they give you a $10 amazon gift certificate very quickly. Usually takes 30 to 60 minutes and I usually look for something in the test that I’m already shopping for. It’s nice to get paid for shopping around for something I needed anyway. I usually get two or three of these in a year.

I always pay close attention to whether or not the survey pays cash, and I never do the “contest entry” ones. This is another one of those places that sometimes asks you a lot of product review questions then tells you, “You don’t qualify.” Oh, excuse me? I think I just did the survey. PAY ME.

I rarely qualify for the surveys, and they sometimes don’t add up to very many dollars per hour. This is another one that sometimes collects alot of sellable product review data before asking some minor demographic question that disqualifies you. Hey, if you didn’t want anyone from my zip code or age group or race or whatever, ask that before you ask me 300 questions about 15 brands of gin.

I only do the cash surveys, not the contests. Most of the surveys are just contests, they send a lot of emails every weekday, and you can’t always tell from the subject line if they’re cash surveys or not.


All of these typically pay small amounts of cash (usually $2 to $5 for twenty or so minutes of work) but I rarely hear from them or qualify when I do:

www.buzzback.com (very good compensation when you can actually qualify for a survey)

Each year I average around $400 in cash, $20 in charity donations, and some merchandise (mostly CDs, often resold for cash). I think I make around $10 to $20 per hour average. I only make that much because I refuse to do surveys that don’t pay a reasonable amount of cash or pay enough points to trade for a reasonable dollar amount of merchandise. I never fill out “contest entry” surveys or surveys that say, for example, this survey should take 30 minutes and will pay you $1.  If you want to make a decent hourly wage on surveys, expect to be deleting at least 80% of the emails you get from these sites, and don’t expect to make much money off this.

If you aren’t very selective about how you use your time, you’ll quickly be making well under minimum wage. Survey sites will gladly underpay you and cheerily say you’re “making a difference” and “sharing your opinion.” Whatever. Show me the money.

I can’t believe I typed all that. I wasn’t even getting paid.