Can I really make money filling out surveys online?

I’ll try to sum up why I’m asking this question in as few words as possible.

Mid-twenties, well-paying job, decided to quit last spring and finish my degree. Figured better now then when I’m mid-thirties with kids. Part-time work and students loans are just barely keeping my head above water right now (not to mention that I have to pay back those loans…)

My girlfriend got a new magazine not too long ago and filled out a little survey for them and sent it in and a few days later got a check for $10 in the mail. That reminded me of all the stuff I’ve seen on the internet over the years about getting paid to fill out surveys online. I signed up for a couple of “free” mailing lists but the one email I’ve gotten so far said that survey was already “expired” but they were taking me to “another offer” :dubious:, and most of the stuff I’ve seen on there offers “cash and prizes”. I’m not the least bit interested in “prizes”. I need a little bit of extra cash.

Most of the more legitimate-looking websites charge $39.95. I’d really hate to get into something like that without at least hearing some opinions first. Has anyone ever done it before? Can I scratch up a little bit of extra cash without a huge time investment or no? If it turns out that an hour-long survey tends to pay around $3 then the math is just not there for me, but otherwise it might be a big help.

At this point it’s pretty much either that or start selling plasma.

I do surveys for Pinecone Research. They only pay five bucks a survey, and I usually only get one a week, but that’s still twenty bucks a month. However, they don’t let on very many new people, though they sometimes have open recruiting where they ask members to get new people for the site. Usually, though, they want people whose demographics they are lacking, such as the very old or non-whites. I only got onto the site because I joined it very early in its conception. The surveys are very short; they usually only take five minutes. Once they sent me free food so I could take a survey about it. There’s no sign-up fee.

I got a $25 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble through Mypoints, partially by doing surveys (the rest was because I bought products through their affiliate link, or because I clicked on their banner ads). It’s not cash but I guess you could buy books and take them back if you really needed money, or use it for gifts.

Yes, but it’s not much. About 20 surveys over many moons netter me 1000 points on NFO, which got me a $10 check.

I’m hooked up with one survey company who pay $5 per completed survey. The surveys only take ten or fifteen minutes, but they tell you which ones you can take. I only get about one per week. Twenty bucks extra per month is nice, though. They mail checks, which is even nicer.

My sister is signed up for one that pays two dollars per survey and you get to pick ones that you think apply to you. However, I think she’s been hooked up with them for over a year and has yet to reach the twenty dollar minimum to withdraw her “money”. I don’t know what’s up with that.

Both those services are free. I’ve never paid to be paid for anything so I don’t know about the others you mentioned.

Same here, and I’ve always promised myself that I never will, which is why I’m so :dubious: about this . . . I’ve found that most information you pay for can be found for free if you know where to look, and I think all your $39.95 gets you is information. Then again, desperate times, desperate measures. It was only $4.95 to ask the question here :).

I joined one free site that occasionally sends me an invite to take a survey, but because of my job sector I’m usually screened out before I can take it. It’s a shame as the IT surveys usually pay $20-$50 each.

Another NFO member here. I’ve made about $30 over the years. But it is a free survey site.

I’m extremely leery of the pay for survey sites - just seems to be a mug’s game from the outside.

I’ve gotten two or three hundred dollars worth of gift cards from MyPoints over the years (usually for, but that’s because my one credit card racks up points at a rate of 1 point per $2.

No legitimate survey is going to charge you a cent. Any site that asks for money in advance is a ripoff.

Legitimate surveys are paid for by the company that wants the information; they pay the survey company to do them. If the survey company is any good, they will try to seek out people with the right demographics to answer the questions. If they charge, some of the people who they need for an accurate survey will refuse to pay, making the results useless. What they want to do is attract people, not put hurdles in front of them.

Surveys generally do offer to pay their participants. In some cases (though rarely online), they’ll send a check. In others, they put the participants into a random drawing for a big prize. In still others, you earn points by answering the servey that can be redeemed for prizes. Finally, some send their participants small gifts from time to time.

I’ve participated in a few surveys (and am still participating in some) and have seen all of these. Often, the big prize drawing is in addition to any small prize they’re giving.

The amounts are usually small. An actual focus group at your local shopping mall might get you $25. And there are so many participants in the drawings (which often cover several months of surveys), that the odds are against you. Further, legitimate surveys often limit who participates and how many surveys you can take in a given time.

Any money is nice, but it’s hardly possible to earn enough to live on, or even to be a dependable source of extra cash.