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Paid Online Surveys - Are They Really a Way to Make Money?

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Taking paid surveys is often promoted as a viable way to make money online. Ads promising up to $250 per hour for participating in surveys are marketed toward stay-at-home moms, students, senior citizens... anyone looking for an easy extra income. But, is it really that easy to make money taking surveys online? Can someone actually expect to earn that much simply by completing online surveys?

The ads promising you a large payout are generally created by organizations that have developed a large database of information about survey companies. These associations charge you a one-time membership fee in return for giving you access to the data they have collected. So the question becomes, is it worth it to pay for this knowledge?

In my opinion, a membership in a reputable survey information database is well worth the relatively small one-time fee. These organizations can provide you with the inside scoop on each market research firm and all surveys they offer. This will save you countless hours of research -- hours you can spend much more productively by filling out actual money-making surveys.

So, what about the rewards offered for taking paid online surveys? Is it realistic to expect to earn $250 an hour doing this? In my experience, opportunities to earn $250 for a survey are few and far between. While I actually HAVE seen payouts this large, they have been for ongoing studies, not short online questionnaires.

For example, my brother (also a market research participant) was paid $300 to keep track of each and every time he ate any type of potato chip snack during the month of February. He was required to log the date, time, brand, type, and amount he consumed. From my viewpoint, that's not really much work for $300, and it probably didn't take much more than an hour of elapsed time during that month, but it's still not quite the same as sitting down to perform a task for a solid hour and earning that kind of money.

In general, depending on the complexity of the survey and the amount of time it is projected to take, you can expect to earn around $5-$25 for an average online survey. Instead of (or in addition to) cash, some companies will also reward you with points that can be accumulated and redeemed for cash, gift cards, or merchandise. This is where your membership in a survey information database becomes very useful; good databases will allow you to sort or filter survey opportunities by the type of reward offered. This way, if you are only interested in earning actual cash, you can quickly and easily eliminate other types of payment from your consideration.

So when all is said and done, I think we have to conclude that making money with paid online surveys is a reasonable endeavor. Like any other business opportunity, you will get the best results if you start with a bit of research and allow yourself time to learn the approach that will work best for you, but it has the potential to deliver very good results

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