Side earners have become the bread and butter of many online freelancing endeavors. If regular work is lacking, it’s all too easy to sign up for survey sites and juggle between them to earn a few dollars. In a perfect freelancing world, we’d all go about our daily tasks (micro or not) with honesty and not try to shortcut our way through opportunities.
The simplicity of survey taking has been overshadowed by companies and individuals alike, resulting in far from best practices. Survey scams abound amidst efforts to attract and maintain even the smallest of profits in the ever-shifting economies of the world. Even the most seasoned of survey takers are getting scammed from resources they once trusted.
Although finding reputable survey sites is becoming more of a challenge, it’s one to be met with equal parts enthusiasm and education. Read on to learn about the known and not-so-known survey scams out there – tactics that you can, and will, triumph over.
Note: please visit my Reviews section if you’d like to find out which survey sites I currently trust.
If there’s one thing that infuriates even the most occasional of survey takers, it’s going through 15-20 minutes of questions only to realize those weren’t actually the survey, just screeners. And, surprise! No qualification after all. The company gets its answers without having to pay you a cent.
You might even try again and again, driven on by the hope that this next survey will be the one. Only, it isn’t. So, you eventually log out in exhaustion, with nothing to show for the effort you’ve put in.
It’s a tactic used in the gaming industry, too. Those stuffed animal machines come to mind – you almost get the prize, only to see the claw drop it just before it gets to the dispenser. In truth, the claws are often deliberately loosely rigged.
Avoid any survey situation that requires more than a minute or so of screener questions. If you don’t qualify, you should still get “thanks for trying” points. Some sites will cap the amount of consolation points possible per day, which is understandable.
There are lots of survey sites with excellent graphics that mask the fact that they have few (if any) surveys to offer on a regular basis. You might excitedly sign up, only to be met with the sweet-yet-disappointing sound of virtual crickets when you get to your dashboard.
Or, you might quickly get several surveys in the beginning, leading you to believe that wow, you just might meet that earning threshold almost immediately – perhaps weekly! Then, the surveys stop, though some sites offer more than surveys, like paid to watch, etc.
If you find that the only way you can reach an earning threshold is to sign up for promotional offers, many of which require a credit card, then stop right there. That’s not a win for you, unless you happen to really like the brands being advertised and will get use out of their deals on a regular basis.
Otherwise, you’re quite literally spending money to make money. Think about it this way: if a cashout limit is $10.00, and it looks like it’ll take a year or more before you’ll ever even reach that limit reasonably/without signing up for offers, it’s time to hit that “account delete” button. Ideally, you should be able to reach at least the minimum earning threshold every few months.
Sure, you could be patient and save up, but even then, you’re not always promised your earnings. Excuses range from invalidated survey results to problems with the account verification process. Customer service on many survey sites is often automated, or humans with vague, sometimes even accusatory answers.
Regarding verification, reliable survey sites generally have you confirm your account via a text message code shortly after signing up. Additional verification upon payout (if at all) should be something similar, perhaps an email code or password confirmation.
One way to navigate through this is to only request the minimum payout as opposed to saving up. This isn’t great if you’re a gift card fan, but for PayPal small payouts are better than no payouts at all. If you’re blocked from getting said payouts no matter how much you try, losing $10.00 stings less than, say, $50.00.
Reviews and respect…
It’s never a bad idea to give a glance at reviews before signing up for any given survey site. Remember, though, that sometimes reviews (good or bad) are actually scams in themselves, with posters having been compensated or even perhaps employees of competitors. It can all get very conspiracy theory-ish, so try to keep an objective outlook.
Websites you might want to peruse for second/third/fourth/you get the idea opinions include:
Something I think many of us tend to do is over-analyze the role of surveys as side earners. We can strategize all we want, but in the end, survey sites aren’t supposed to be especially effort-inducing. They’re snapshots of opinions via various demographics, and are compensated as such.
No matter how financially secure you do or don’t happen to be as a freelancer, one thing you must always hold onto is your self-respect. Your time is worth so much more than plugging away at a keyboard for paltry payments, surveys or not. Honor motivation, not minutiae.
Please note that all Fabulous Freelancer posts might contain affiliate links.