Every once in a while I think to myself that whiling away at the internet is a preposterous waste of my time. I wish I had something constructive to do (on the internet) that wasn’t random googling or reading or blogging about ridiculous topics. I want to do something interesting but the words to write don’t seem to come out. But what to do, especially on a rainy cold day, while the dish- and clothes washers are humming along, and the crockpot emits savory scents throughout the house?
I fill out surveys.
And what’s more, I get paid for them.
I’m not getting rich here for giving my opinion online. But I do get a bit of cash that I can either transfer into the paypal account, or purchase a gift card with. Depending on how many surveys you fill out, you can make enough pocket money to support your secret Starbucks grande latte obsession without dipping into the grocery budget. Or you can treat yourself to lunch, by yourself, on errand day. Or maybe you can save up for an Amazon gift card to purchase a couple of books you’ve had your eye on (or a gift for someone’s birthday).
There are currently two decent surveys I fill out semi-regularly. Both are well known names, and I set up the reminders so that they email me each time a new survey is generated. I just have to click the link and get started.
The topics are varied. The surveys arrive in your inbox based on the profile you fill out. And each survey begins with the standard questions to determine if you are suitable for that particular survey topic. They ask you for age, gender and location (sometimes just province, other times they want to know which city you’re closest to), and often they want to know the ages and genders of the other occupants in your home.
Often they ask you for your household income range but you have the option to choose ‘prefer not to say’. Same with religion or cultural background, although that question does not come up with every survey.
Some of the most popular topics on my profile include:
- groceries (so food, drink, and snacks)
- household products (toilet paper, hygiene items, cleaning)
- service providers (phone, cell, tv, wifi)
- financial (credit card – types/name, bank institutions, type of service received)
I’ve also had alcoholic drink surveys. Some of them were so cumbersome and detailed I found them rather frustrating, whereas others were interesting, short and to the point. On the ones I didn’t enjoy I take the opportunity to express that at the end of the survey and my remarks are respected (it seems).
During the weeks leading up to the federal elections in Canada, there were quite a few politically-related survey topics as well.
Most of the surveys end with four questions, on both platforms, about how much or how little you enjoyed that particular survey. If you fill out a survey you found cumbersome or didn’t feel comfortable with (and you can always choose not to fill out that topic, or abandon it if you wish), be honest and tell them. I don’t enjoy credit card, or financial/insurance surveys so when I indicated this at the end of the one survey I found that particular topic did not come up again in my invitations for new survey participation.
The surveys usually give you the topic they are addressing at the beginning, before you start. They also give you the predicted amount of time it will take to complete a survey. Most are in the 8-10 minute length, although some may take 15 or 20 minutes.
If you get interrupted while in the middle of a survey, just leave it open and come back to it.
Check the privacy details when you choose your platform, but know they never ask for your name or address inside the actual survey (they need a name and email when you register in order to send you the survey invitation). The most I’ve been asked to indicate was my gender, age and postal code, although most of the time they just want to know what province I’m in, and whether I’m urban or rural.
Occasionally, there are more than two options in the gender-selection question. 🙂
I’ve been filling out surveys for these two companies for a few years now, and have enjoyed the variety and ability to express my opinion. You can follow them on twitter and elsewhere and one of them, Ipsos, gives you an opportunity to play a little game after completion of the survey. It’s a guessing game (Poll Predictor). An example of the type of question they want answered is something like this:
Have you ever been caught speeding?
How many Canadian Men answered this question with yes?
You then have to predict the percentage of Canadian Men that have answered this question with yes. If you choose 87% of men said yes, and the real answer is 81% then you get 15 or 20 chances at winning a particular prize. If the real answer is 23% you may only get 1 chance to win a prize. But you get to select which prize you want to win, among four different choices.
It’s kinda fun…
I’ve had my eye on a dyson vacuum cleaner, a new set of cooking pots, a $500 Amazon gift card, and some sort of technical toy one of the kids wanted (can’t remember now which). I haven’t won yet…but I’m hoping one day I will.
If you’re interested in joining one of the above two platforms, please let me know in the comments, as I can send you a referral directly. I just need your email address. (Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you choose to email me directly please refer to this blog post in the subject line so I know you’re not a spammer or spoofer.)