Failing at your own business–online surveys

online survey pic

Site after site lists online surveys as a viable way to make money online, so with things a little tight in January, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.

I signed up for a few online survey and testing sites, hoping to make a little moolah along the way. I completed the initial questionnaire and the criteria questionnaire and the availability questionnaire and waited.

I started with User Testing. I mean $10 for reviewing a website sounded good to me. Every time I received an email indicating a job (test) was available, I went to check it out. Only thing was, I never qualified for the demographics criteria, so I would fill out the questionnaire, wasting 10 minutes or so of my precious time, only to be REJECTED with no reason given. Finally, I regulated those emails to the spam folder and went in search of another site.

Then I signed up with Toluna Surveys. They offered gift cards instead of cash, but hey, I have a valuable opinion and would like to receive benefits for expressing it, so I joined their Global Community. And again, every time I received an invitation to participate in a survey, I hurried over to the site, only to be told that the survey was now closed. After a few months of this without having filled out a single survey, I sent those emails to spam as well.

I also tried Hiving and after 37 invitations to complete a survey, did not qualify for a single one.  With Hiving, each completed survey gives you points which you can redeem for cash after reaching 4,000.  Just so you know, 4,000 points is $4 usd but apparently your points NEVER expire.  I’m up to 545 points for doing things like what the company calls microtasks, although there isn’t anything micro about it.  The few I have done consist of searching and verifying information about companies via search engines or company websites and takes forever.  Then you submit what you found and somebody tells you that you’ve found the wrong information so didn’t qualify for full point value.

Not to give up so easily, I signed up for a fourth survey site. ipoll offered gift cards AND a Paypal cash out option. Sounds good to me! And the very first questionnaire said I met the criteria and I was sent along to the survey site. I completed the survey and a little cash accumulated in my fund. I also qualified for surveys in Spanish, so double the fun. I spent several months filling out a survey a week or so and slowly, slowly my funds grew. In April, I was up to $15. I needed $20 to cash out and I was so looking forward to that little bit, either in cash or gift card. Then I received an email that said that iPoll would no longer be servicing Mexico and that I had until the end of the month to cash out.

I went to the site every day to see if I could earn that last $5 but found that there was nothing available for me, every single time. And come April 30, just as I was warned, my account disappeared, without me having reached the minimum cash out amount.

Two months and 10 emails after the April 30 deadline, I finally received my cash out payment through Paypal.  My $15 usd converted to $280 pesos and I was content enough.

However, as this way of making money was so time-consuming with such low profitability, I decided to leave the online survey world and move on to online teaching.  (See Also Can you really make money with paid online surveys?)




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