What Are The Best Survey Panels For YOU? - Evaluating Paid Surveys

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Once you’ve been taking paid surveys for a while, you will often find that you have become a member of many survey panels. You will probably be flooded by emails with survey invitations, and may decide that you want to cut back and focus on the survey panels that are worthwhile and are the best paying online surveys.

Unfortunately, since each panel is looking for people who fit certain demographics, the paid survey panels that are most worthwhile to me may be worthless to you, and vice versa, so there is no hard and fast rule saying that panel X is good, and panel Z is bad, and I so cannot just tell you which panels to keep. So, how can you evaluate this for yourself?

While every survey taker’s experience and preferences are different, I find that I can divide the survey panels into four main types, depending on the frequency and number of their surveys (“volume”) and the amount of pay they provide for the time spent (“value”). I find that I can group the survey panels I take into several categories, and if I have multiple surveys to take, I will take them in that order.

My categories are:

  1. Low Volume, High Value
  2. High Volume, High Value
  3. High Volume, Low Value
  4. Low Volume, Low Value
If you evaluate your own panels in a similar fashion, you will be able to prioritize the best surveys for you and make the most of your time while you try to make money online. Let me take a little time and expand on the categories for you.

1. Low Volume, High Value

These sites provide very few surveys, but the few they do pay well. I take these first, as they usually pay the best for the amount of time spent. For me, a couple examples of this would be OpinionPlace (one survey per week, but pays well for that one survey) and PineCone Research (an invitation only panel that sends out only a handful of surveys each month, but each 15-25 minute survey pays $3 the day after the survey is taken and I have never disqualified from them). Another example is GlobalTestMarket, although I do screen out from their surveys more often.

2. High Volume, High Value

These are sites which provide many surveys AND pay relatively well for them. I can spend a lot of time at these sites, taking many surveys, and find that my rewards have increased dramatically afterwards. For me, examples of these would be SurveyHead (many surveys at varying levels of value) and OpinionOutpost (some email invitations, but you can almost always take more surveys at their site directly).

3. High Volume, Low Value

These survey panels send out lots of surveys, but pay very little per survey. When I figure what I end up making per hour, it generally is far less than minimum wage. But, if there are no other surveys available in a higher category, these ones do have many surveys and some give out a few points for disqualifying from a survey, so the points add up quickly. In addition, they occasionally have a higher-paying survey that ups the average. If I don’t feel the survey reward is worth my time, I won’t take that particular survey, and if I run out of time, I will skip all of these.

4. Low Volume, Low Value

These are the companies who both have very few surveys and pay practically nothing for them. Generally, any survey company that ends up falling into this category is one that I would not be continuing to use. At first, I just cancelled my accounts, but I have started to notice that there are periods of low activity and high activity, so instead of canceling, I am now just letting them stand idle and waiting for the activity to pick up again.

Extenuating Circumstances

There are some other circumstances that might make you choose to keep a survey panel even if it falls in the last two categories, such as if it sends out high-paying special surveys infrequently, or is one that sends product tests regularly, or if you just find the surveys more enjoyable to take.

For instance, I have one panel that is definitely not my highest paying panel, but they occasionally have movie screenings before the movie is released, and also send out several product tests which are useful and valuable to me. So I keep them around even though they would otherwise fall into the “Low Volume, Low value” category.

In Conclusion

Keep in mind that, depending on your demographic, you may find that survey panels will have better or worse surveys for you specifically, but using these general tips, you can evaluate your own online survey panels and spend most of your time at the places that will let you make the most money at home.

I’d also recommend you sign up for our 7 day course (use the signup box on the upper right at www.getpaidsurveys.com) which contains some other tips that can help you evaluate how to make the best use of your time when taking free online surveys for money.

I'm also interested to learn how other survey takers choose to evaluate their survey panels. Please, leave your comments and ideas below!

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Comments (16)

  • Peter April 07, 2016 Reply
    Thank you, that was very interesting.
    Regards Peter
  • Jenna April 27, 2012 Reply
    This sounds really comprehensive but the numbers are making my head ache. [SiteNameRemoved] doesn't give me that. What do you think about this one?
    • Hannah April 27, 2012 Reply
      So glad you asked! That site (whose URL has been removed for the protection of our readers), among many others is not what I would consider to be a good site for this. It promises a huge profit (over $600 per week!) which is unreasonable, and besides that, asks the reader to PAY for the privilege of learning this system. I'd be willing to bet that very few (if any) people will see the performance advertised, but will instead be out their money and find the information they just paid for is available for free elsewhere. Don't waste your money on sites like that, but instead view sites that provide information for free, and do your own research. You'll be ahead in the end.

      Another flag about this site: it recommends other "get paid to" offers... some of these are things like signing up for things with your credit card. If you aren't extremely careful, you can end up paying more in fees on your credit card than you earn. I would never recommend those types of offers, as the chance of getting burned is too high.
  • Frode Lorentzen March 20, 2012 Reply
    Hi! Survey companies are always looking for senior members to their panels. The number of surveys you get may vary depending on your profile (i.e. your gender, your location, etc) and the needs of the clients.

    When you join a survey panel, give as much information about yourself as you can. Then you will help the survey company (or the company that buys your opinion) to send you surveys that you can be qualified for. It is also smart to read the faq-section before/when you join.
  • LapisLee February 25, 2012 Reply
    Martin, You should sign up for the best ten survey panels that we find for you on this website and take all of the surveys they send for at least six months in order to establish that you are serious, consistent and providing useful data. After about six months you will know which survey panels work best for you. Not every panel that is good for me (53 yo single male, Bachelor's degree, $25k+, 2011 Camry) will also be good for you. Some panels specialize in the 18-34 demographic and others prefer an older group. Just stick with it and the money will come rolling in, although only about $150-200 per month at most. Let's be realistic. :-)
    • Martin Ceelen February 27, 2012 Reply
      Hi Lapis,
      Thanks for your advise and encouragement. With my demographics( Male, 78, Married, $30k Retired, 1999 Jeep GC) I dont seem to qualify for many surveys. U seniors however still participate very much in the marketplace, we too have to eat and buy things all the time and we have a wealth of experience and exposure so it is hard to understand why the surveyors deem us to be of no consequence.
      I will take your advise and hang in there for a whileand see what happens. Your best 10 sites may not all cater to the Canadian scenebut I will pick the best ones I can and eliminate all the others. I am not looking to make big money but it would be nice to be rewarded once in while and $150 to $200 a month would be very acceptable.
      Thanks for listening to me, it is really appreciated.
      • LapisLee February 27, 2012 Reply
        It's a shame that you don't have a 54-year-old (or younger) son or daughter to help you take the surveys, because with your demographics and their age, you might be doing much better.
  • josh c February 24, 2012 Reply
    Great post!

    Can you offer any secrets to OpinionPlace? I go through streaks where I log in each day (never qualifying for a survey), get discouraged, and stop checking. Is it as simple as being persistant?
  • Martin Ceelen February 23, 2012 Reply
    I have been at this for about threee months now and have very little to show for. I have managed a grand total of $13 while having spent many hours. I get screened out of so many surveys, probably because of my age, that it just does not seem worth it. Where I do get some results, the action seems to stop just before the payout level which is always just out of reach. I can get to a survey within minutes of it being issued and yet be told " there is no survey for you" I like you course and articles, they are quite interesting, informative and helpful.
  • LapisLee February 23, 2012 Reply
    Great concept. Here are a few of mine:

    High Volume, High Value:

    1. Opinion Outpost $1335.40 (100 points = $10 minimum pay out) (Joined: 2008-02-04) (PayPal) (Invokes) (product tests) [1-13-12] [2/9/2012] Monthly Average = $25.82
    2. Global Test Market $1096.65 (1000 = $50 po) (2008-03-01) (Check) [12-30-11] (req'd $50.50 1-27) Monthly Average = $23.33
    3. MySurvey $845 (550 = $5 po) (2008-02-02) (PayPal) (product tests) [1-20-12] Monthly Average = $17.60
    4. SurveySpot $839 (1000 = $10 po) (2008-01-30) (PayPal) (Invokes) (product tests) [1-20-12] Monthly Average = $16.79
    6. Surveyhead $716.50 ($25 po) (2009-02-05) (PayPal) [2-17-12] Monthly Average = $19.13
    10. OnlyCashSurveys $342.50 ($20 po) (2010-03-23) (PayPal) [2-3-12] Monthly Average = $15.57

    Low Volume, High Value:

    11. SurveySavvy $278 (Check) (2008-03-01) [1-27-12] Monthly Average = $5.92
    12. Socratic Forum $243 ($5 po) (2008-03-28) (Check) [1-23-12] Monthly Average = $5.28
    13. Global Opinion Panel/Synovate $230 (5000 = $5 po) (2008-05-02) (Check) (product tests) [2-9-12] ($5 req'd 2-15) Monthly Average = $4.89
    14. Mindfield Research Online $205 ($5 po) (2008-02-01) (PayPal) (product tests) [1-15-12] Monthly Average = $4.27
    15. Viewpoint $181.88 (375 = $10 po) (2009-01-21) (Check) [2-6-12] ($12.53 req'd 2-21) Monthly Average = $4.77*
    16. ACOP $170 ($10 po) (2008-03-01) (Check) (product tests) [10-24-11] Monthly Average = $3.62
    17. 20/20 Research $160 (2009-6-1) (Check) (Invokes) (product tests) [8-30-11]

    High Volume, Low Value:

    5. Toluna $822 (60000 = $20 po) (2008-02-11) (Check) (product tests) [1-31-12] Monthly Average = $17.13
    7. IPSOS I-SAY $650 ($10 po) (2010-01-15) (PayPal) (product tests) ($500 sweepstakes win) [12-19-11] Monthly Average = $26
    9. MyView $391 (21000 = $15 po) (2009-03-01) (Amazon VISA pre-paid gc) [12-15-11] Monthly Average = $11.17

    Low Volume, Low Value:

    Why bother? :-)