Can You Make Money With Online Surveys?

by TheWritingCowboy

Taking online surveys can make you a handy amount of money - but it's not going to make you rich. Here are 10 tips to successful survey taking.

Is there a pot of gold waiting for you by taking online surveys? Probably not, but can you make several hundred dollars a month? Could be, depending on how much time you want to spend on it.
Is this for you? I’ve taken thousands of online surveys – yes, thousands – over the past several years and while I can’t claim to be living an extravagant lifestyle thanks to my survey-taking income (and neither will you), I have studied the genre extensively and have a number of tips that can help you earn a little more and do it more efficiently and productively.

How Much Money?

What kind of money are we talking about here? While it’s not possible to know what ‘a great deal’ of money may be when it comes to online survey taking, I average more than $200 a month in extra income from survey taking alone. Not a great deal, but I don’t spend more than an average of a few hours a week taking surveys.

When I started doing surveys my income was – well, puny. But over time I’ve learned to be more efficient, choose my surveys carefully, and bend the rules just a little (I’m just being honest here). 

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1. Be Fast

You have to be fast in this business. While all online survey sites warn you against speeding through surveys – and some may penalize you if they sense you are going to fast (or as fast as their computers are able to tell) – taking a long time on a given survey is a sure way to limit your earning power. Your number one job is taking as many surveys as possible in order to gain points, make money, etc. Even if you are bumped off of a survey, as I have been on occasion, for not taking your time don’t worry about it.

2. Surveys = Ads; Tell Them You Love Them

It may come as no surprise, but not all online surveys are actually surveys. I would guess that fewer than half of all surveys are truly interested in your opinion. The majority of so-called online surveys are actually ads and marketing tactics made to look like surveys. Advertisers are looking for people who say they just love their product or service. If you are the very honest type and you tell the maker of a particular product or service that you don’t like it and would never use it, you’re probably going to be bumped right out of the survey. So be positive, even if you stretch the truth a little.

3. Keep It Short

Sometimes surveys will ask you to describe how you feel about something, or to describe an image you just saw. The survey company wants you to write as much as you can. Don’t do it. Long responses will gain you nothing and suck up a great deal of time.

 4. Good Survey Sites and Bad

Some survey sites are worth the time you spend on them and others are most definitely not. How can you tell the difference? The most obvious sign is the value they provide to you. If the points/cash/prizes are paltry or it takes you months to earn anything at all don’t waste your time.

Another indication of a poor online survey site is the site requires too much time to complete the survey, or doesn’t offer many surveys at all.

5. “Sweepstakes” Are For Suckers

Many surveys, instead of offering cash or points will reward you with an “entry” into a sweepstakes for cash or prizes. The chances of your winning one of their sweepstakes are astronomical so don’t bother with them.

6. Don’t Wait To Hear From Them

When you sign up for an online survey company they promise to email you every time there’s a survey available for you. Don’t wait for them to contact you. Bookmark your favorite sites and set aside some time each day for going to the websites and see what surveys are waiting for you.

7. Security

While not directly related to maximizing your survey taking potential, it’s worth mentioning. Taking surveys does reveal information about you to the survey companies, their affiliates, their sponsors, advertisers, etc. So, be careful with the personal information you give out. For example, decide if you want to participate in surveys that ask you to reveal which bank you use, etc. I don’t!

8. I Never Took That Survey

Online surveys will often ask you if you have completed a survey on a particular subject, or about a particular product, in the last three months or year. If you answer “yes” you’re likely to be bumped out of the survey. Answering in the negative will usually allow you to proceed.

9. Link to Social Networks

Some survey sites encourage you to submit your own survey questions for other members to answer. Getting responses to your survey, or responding to others’ surveys can gain you points. Is that worth doing? Generally, no. What can earn additional points/cash is if you submit a survey and then link it to various social media like Facebook or Twitter. It’s not a great point maker but if you have a large social network it might help a little.

10. Have fun

You can get addicted to online survey taking. Taking surveys can also be frustrating – like when you aren’t rewarded even if you completed a survey – it happens. Take it easy. Enjoy it. When you don’t enjoy it anymore, or you are spending too much time doing it and jeopardizing your real job, step away. Take a break.


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Updated: 08/31/2014, TheWritingCowboy
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Telesto on 09/14/2014

I've tried a lot of them too, and for most, am just trying to get to my minimum layout before canning them. You are right, you do have to be quick off the mark, but apart from a couple, for me, the game isn't worth the candle.

WordChazer on 09/01/2014

Tried all of those, Cowboy. They didn't suit me as well as the one site I do use. But for those who do prefer cash payments, they're good, I'll give you that.

Digby_Adams on 09/01/2014

It seems that I never meet their criteria for taking the survey.

the Writing Cowboy on 08/31/2014

You might try sites like opinion outpost, Toluna or Global Test Market. The are among the better sites and you can earn cash.

WordChazer on 08/31/2014

I like surveys but I only have one site I use. The others just aren't worth my time. Mine pays me in giftcards for chain stores so I can get free food at a supermarket or free clothes at my favorite clothes shop. I also belong to a word-of-mouth marketing site that's great for freebies and coupons.

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