Make the Most of the Survey Panels You Join

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in January 2010. Due to constant change on the survey panel sites, some features mentioned may no longer be available.

Are you making the most of the survey panels you belong to? I have a few tips on my favorite survey sites that have helped me make a couple thousand dollars over about the past four years. In many cases, it is something you should have already known but didn’t bother to read the small print or just didn’t think it would matter. But my time is valuable, and I am sure your time is too, and I want to maximize my ability and chances to earn money taking surveys.

One of my favorite sites is Survey Spot, although recent changes have really disappointed me. Of course you already respond to survey invites but did you know you can access far more surveys by logging into their site multiple times a day? I have found that by logging into their site I can take as many as 6 to 8 surveys, one after the other. Most only offer a sweepstakes entry for completion but you can usually find a couple of paying surveys to take too. I am not saying there will be surveys to take every time you log in, but if you limit yourself only to the survey invites you get in your email then you are really missing out on some opportunities. And, another tip about Survey Spot, make sure you always play the instant win game at the completion of a survey or survey attempt. If you are like me you wonder if anyone really wins anything beside additional sweepstakes entries. Well, I am living proof that people do win the cash. Last year I was fortunate enough to win a $250 prize. So persistence can pay off.

Another favorite is HCD Research. I don’t get a great many survey invites from them but the one thing I have learned is to take the surveys just as soon as you get the invite. HCD surveys fill quickly; either that or they have a small sample size per survey. I generally find I qualify for most of their surveys, so the key is to take it as soon as you receive it.

GlobalTestMarket is also at the top of my favorites list. The most important tip I can offer for them is to complete the profile surveys. In the past they offered five points ($.25) for each completed profile and have had promotions offering the same points if you update your profile surveys. I also like the fact that when you cash in your points, you can check their blog to get an idea as when to expect your money. Each week they update their blog to tell you other weeks worth of checks are in the mail.

Back to completing profile surveys: for those sites that offer them, that is a key component to receiving survey invitations. It helps the survey panel to send out surveys to those members who meet a specific profile and of course it means it is a little less likely you will receive a survey invite for a survey you are not likely to qualify for anyway. And, without question, that has to be the most frustrating and annoying aspect of any survey - spending 10 or 15 minutes on a survey only to find out you did not qualify.

Another general tip for all survey panels is to sign up for a PayPal account. Most of the time, it takes several months to build up your account to the point where you can finally cash out. And then you find out the reward for all your hard work is still four to six weeks away, sometimes even longer…because they have to mail you a check. A lot of survey sites now use PayPal and that usually means you get your cash within a day of cashing out, certainly not more than a couple of days. PayPal accounts are free and are useful for activities other than surveys.

Finally, it is a great idea to keep a log of all surveys taken. I categorize mine by survey panel and then log in each survey taken and include the date, amount and survey number. Mistakes happen and there have been several occasions over the years where I didn’t get credit for a completed survey. I was able to provide the specific information each and every time I was given proper credit.

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Comments (1)

  • LapisLee January 29, 2010 Reply
    Great article full of excellent tips! I am still not sure I am going to log onto SurveySpot to take any more surveys for sweepstakes, but congratulations on winning $250! I always play the Instant Win game.

    The best thing about HCD is that the surveys are always on interesting subjects and you generally get to watch a current news clip and use a slider device to indicate how much you agree with what is being said, plus they are well compensated and not overly long.

    GTM is also one of my favorites and that is a great tip about checking their blog to see when checks are due to be mailed; although, occasionally they will arrive sooner.

    In addition to having a PayPal account, which is absolutely vital, I would also suggest a Gmail account and use the colored folders to keep track of different survey invitations. I just delete them as soon as they have been credited. This is particularly helpful for SurveySpot, SurveySavvy, Mindfield, ClearVoice and other panels that do not credit your account immediately.