From time to time, I’ve been asked for my “valued opinion” by an online survey in my inbox. As I click through screen after screen, I’ve found myself quickly losing patience. Fifteen minutes later, I’ve earned a dollar. Yippee! Let’s put that towards the kids’ college accounts! Not. So I was surprised to learn that a friend of my husband’s, a former stock broker, makes up to $10,000 a year answering online surveys. How is this possible? I went straight to the source and interviewed him.
Find out how he earns $10,000 a year doing online surveys:
Jeff Kahn is a retired stockbroker who now earns extra cash trading stocks, receiving dividends from his core holdings…and doing surveys online. Our conversation has been edited and condensed.
Is it a good idea to sign up with more than one site? “I am on MANY survey sites, so many, I can’t keep up with all of them so I do the most rewarding first. For the last three years I have kept a diary and I have averaged between $8,000 and $10,000 a year in cash, Amazon credits and prepaid Visa cards. I also have chosen gift certificates for Chilis, AMC theaters, gasoline prepaid cards, etc. I have received so many products to try I don’t even bother to put them in my diary.”
How much time do you spend on surveys? “I spend hours and hours doing surveys. I have two monitors and sometimes I am taking two surveys at the same time.” (He does surveys while trading stocks.)
How do you know if a site is reputable? “Well, first I have been doing surveys for so many years that I know which ones have the best payouts and which ones do not. There are many scam sites and you can always tell if they ask you for money to join or try to sell you something.”
Can you recommend some sites? “The best sites for me: Opinion Outpost, E-Rewards, My Points, Ipsos, Global Test Market, Inbox dollars, send earnings, CVS, Valued Opinions, Harris online surveys, Pinecone Research, Memolink.com, Survey Spot, Toluna and Autosite.com, to name most of the sites I am on. Two other sites I highly recommend are MyGov.com. This one is terrific because most of the surveys are on current events and politics. They are easy to take and topical. The other is Directive Analytics.com. A good payout.”
Are there any sites, offhand, that you would NOT recommend? “Good question. There are some but the one that was a waste of my time that comes to mind is SoapBox.Com.” Reader Colleen also says, “Dunkin Donuts has a online survey site. Surveys are painful and all you get is one lousy cup of coffee all year. No thanks!”
Are any of the sites you recommend “invite only” or can anyone join? “Some sites are invite only by current members, but most survey sites are always looking for new members and are open to all.”
Any other recommendations? “If you use Bing instead of Google as a search engine, you receive points when you sign up. I switched to Bing just a few months ago and I have already cashed out enough points for a $10 Amazon credit.”
Now for the drawbacks:
- If you sign up with a lot of sites, you may find yourself bombarded with emails. (Hint: Set up an email account solely for surveys.)
- And phone calls. Since signing up for these surveys sites last week, we have been receiving phone calls on both our cells and home number. Two just this morning regarding taking online courses! (Hint: If you are going to do a lot of surveys, consider getting a Skype number for $30 a YEAR.)
- And SPAM.
- These surveys often go on much longer than promised, which can be downright maddening! Do them when you know you have the time.
- Some surveys crash right before you’re about to finish them – and there’s no way to go back in. If this happens to you, try using a different browser.
- Some surveys “pay” in points versus dollars, like “winning” the oversized cheapie stuffed animal at a carnival game. Check out what the rewards are and see if they are worth it to you.
Check out these previous Bargain Babe posts about online surveys for additional information about online surveys: Get paid for surveys, opinions and mystery shopping, Do you take surveys for money? and How to make big bucks doing online surveys.
What online survey sites do you recommend?
I agree with what Jeff Kahn said. I have been doing online surveys for many years. I am signed up for many of the same sites that he listed. I have a notebook that I keep track of the survey companies and write down when I redeem points and when I should expect to receive the money or gift card. If I do not see it within a reasonable amount of time, I contact the company to inquire about it. I also go to Taste Tests and do in-home product testing. I estimate that I receive a few thousand dollars in actual cash and gift cards but it is hard to estimate all the ‘free’ food and products that I receive. There are definitely some online survey companies that I do not recommend as a waste of time but that has to be decided by the survey respondent. Thanks for a good article.
To the other Julie who posted, how did you get hooked up with taste testing and in-home product testing? Those sound fun and I’m often willing to wade through some red tape and headaches if it’s worth it in the end.
Also, instead of a Skype number for $30 a year, if you have a gmail account (or set one up to use as your “spam” account for these purposes) you can get a Google Voice number for free. You can choose to have that phone number ring through to your cell phone (ditto with texts) or not! If not, then people leave messages that you could access online if you wanted to, but if you know it’s all spam you can just go in and delete or ignore them en masse.
teresa deloach says
Why not invent something. or just turn off the computer and save some electricity. Surveys big waste of time and energy.
$10,000 a year? That’s terrible considering all the wasted electricity and energy. I guess if you were in a pinch and needed money to pay the utility bill but that’s awful considering I have to spend 2 hours to earn 2 dollars.
Bargain Babe says
@Marilyn Not sure what you mean by wasted electricity. The computer and lights and heat already would have been on. In terms of energy, I suppose if you enjoy earning a few extra bucks in your spare time it is worth it. If you’d rather relax, I agree, it’s not a good deal at all!
Travis Wagner says
I’ve signed up for many survey sites. But I’ve concluded it to be a waste of time because I do all the practice questions and other”tests”, then start a so called 10 minute survey that’s really 20 minutes long. So after 5 minutes of “practice” its almost half an hour to get a whpping .25,.40 cents. And thats only if I qualify. My biggest gripe is spending 5 or 10 minutes on one and then told I don’t qualify. I feel I should get something for my time even if its just a few cents. I like Inbox Dollars because I can earn from videos,tv,search,etc. Its nothing special but its still some extra cash.
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