ugh coffe mug
Extra Cash

Why online surveys suck – and what to do instead

Let’s talk about online surveys.

Are they worth it?

Can you make $500/week doing them? Well, one quick google search gives that impression. But the truth is, you’ll be lucky to make $5.00.

In fact, they’re the LEAST efficient way to make money online. But for some reason, no one wants to admit it!

Now I’m not talking about companies that trade free stuff for reviews or legitimate market research companies – more on that later.

I’m talking about THOSE sites. You know the ones.

Let’s discuss.


Why paid online surveys are the worst

They are a horrible return on your time

Does this sound familiar?

INBOX: Congratulations, you’ve been chosen for a survey about laundry detergent. Fill it out and earn points you can redeem for gift cards and cash!!

Oh cool. Let me click that.

Okay. First question: What are the main stores you shop at on a monthly basis?

30 minutes later…

Wait, there’s ANOTHER page?

When is the last time you bought nail clippers?


5 minutes later…

Whew, finally done. Okay let me see how much I got…..

Congratulations! You earned 200 points. You are only 300 points away from cashing it out for $5.00!




I don’t know about you, but thirty-five minutes for two dollars is not my idea of a good time. I’d rather clean out my sofa cushions. I’ll find more money, and knock out a chore on my to-do list.


As if the assault on your time wasn’t enough…

They spam the crap out of your email

The day after signing up for just one survey site, your inbox will explode with new email.

Go ahead, sign up and see what happens.

You’ll spend the next two weeks combing through pages of survey invitations. They will infest your inbox like roaches. Unsubscribe from one and ten others will take its place.

By the time you realize it’s not worth it, it’s too late. You’ll have to burn down your email address and get a new one just to escape the madness.

Not cool.

Did I mention….

They pay nothing

They pay pennies – or even worse “points”.

If you have to get 20,000 points to get a pay out of $20, you’re not paying off that student loan any time soon.


What to do instead

“But” you might ask, “I need money. I have to do SOMETHING. Have you got a better idea?”

Actually, I do!

Paid focus groups and market research studies

Focus groups are my absolute favorite alternative to survey sites! I’ve received as much as $250 for one study.

They are similar to surveys in some ways. They might want to know your buying habits or why you like your favorite products. But that’s where the similarities end.

Instead of clicking on 300 bubbles like an SAT test, you’ll talk to a marketer via video chat, phone, or even online forum. If you live in or near a large city, you can do studies in-person with a small group of other participants.

They’ll ask you questions that are relevant to their research, and you’ll make an ACTUAL difference in the direction of their marketing campaign. The studies usually take less than an hour and pay $50 – $300!

Focus groups shouldn’t be considered a reliable source of consistent money. You may only get a few surveys per year. But you can get more studies by signing up for multiple sites. Make sure your profile has as much information as possible to increase your chances of being chosen.

To get started, check out these sites.

Field Work

User Interviews

  • Online studies
  • Pay not listed and varies by length of study
  • Facebook Page
  • Not rated on BBB


Experience Dynamics

Focus Group (Focus Pointe Global)

Inspired Opinions

Plaza Research


Mind Swarms

  • Online studies
  • Pay $50 for 10 minutes study
  • Can also be completed on smart phone or tablet
  • Facebook Page
  • Not rated on BBB

Watch Lab

Focus Scope

In addition to individual companies, here are three aggregated databases of legitimate studies. You can search for in-person studies by location, or choose nationwide for online options. Check these out if you don’t want to wait to be invited.

Find Focus Groups

Focus Group Finder

Someone had to say it.

Let’s face it, surveys are a complete waste of time. That’s why you won’t find a single post on this blog that suggests them. They’re horrible, and you’re better than that. Someone had to say it. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.