What are Online Surveys? (with pictures)

Deborah Ng

There are many websites offering payment in exchange for taking online surveys. In fact, anyone who has ever tried to find a work-at-home job has no doubt seen these solicitations. Have you ever wondered what online surveys entail and if the pay is as advertised? Basically, an online survey involves registering for a website and filling out consumer surveys. Whether or not you can make money from them is a whole other story.

Online surveys can be completed from the convenience of your home or library.
Online surveys can be completed from the convenience of your home or library.

There are hundreds of websites offering pay for filling out surveys. It's not difficult work. When you register at the website, you'll be asked to fill out a questionnaire listing your interests and consumer preferences. Once this is done, you'll be asked to wait until you're contacted for a suitable survey.

People might complete an online survey in their free time for a product or service.
People might complete an online survey in their free time for a product or service.

Will companies really pay money to find out your favorite brand of cat food or how much time you spend surfing the Internet? Apparently so; however, this money doesn't always make its way to you. A company seeking consumer information will pay the survey company to compile the statistics. A very small portion of this, if anything, is actually passed on to the person filling out the online surveys.

Online surveys may focus on a consumer's recent shopping experience.
Online surveys may focus on a consumer's recent shopping experience.

If one wants to earn money by filling out online surveys, one will have to spend hours searching out the companies actually paying money. Even though they might advertise as such, most of these companies don't actually pay. Some companies enter their survey takers into a drawing after each survey is complete. The chances of someone winning the drawing enough times to earn full or part time income are slim to none.

Online surveys may include incentives such as discounts upon completion.
Online surveys may include incentives such as discounts upon completion.

Other companies will offer points for all online surveys taken. These points can be saved up to exchange for merchandise. Keep in mind that you may get only two or three points per survey. An inexpensive item, such as a mouse pad, might be worth about 500 points. Someone can work hours filling out online surveys and receive little more than a mouse pad as compensation.

Also beware of companies requiring you to pay in order to receive a list of paying online-survey websites. Businesses seeking people to complete online surveys are all over the Internet where searches are free. Any website asking you to part with cash before taking online surveys should be considered a scam and avoided at all costs.

Indeed, there are reputable businesses paying people to complete online surveys. They're difficult to find and the amount of money you can earn is not enough to support anyone full time. Still, if you take the time to do a thorough search, you'll find companies offering cash compensation.

Online surveys can be a lot of fun. If you're looking to enjoy yourself and perhaps earn some merchandise, win prizes and even end up with a little pocket money in return, they might be for you. If you're considering taking online surveys as a form of employment, you might consider a career change.

Online surveys might be a way for people to earn additional income.
Online surveys might be a way for people to earn additional income.

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Discussion Comments


Oasis11-I agree that paid to take online surveys are not the fastest way to pay the bills, but I really am opinionated and I like it when people ask me what I think about different things.

You do have to have patience in order to find paid online surveys. I know that many businesses will send you free online surveys from Survey Monkey. A lot of companies use this firm.

I also wanted to add that I always wanted to be a part of a focus group too. In fact, I would love to participate in the political focus groups that Frank Luntz has. He is the one that is always on TV asking people political questions and their feeling about the candidates. I would rather do that then online surveys for money.


Mutsy- Online surveys for cash may be fun, but it is a bit time consuming and really does not pay much. You can register with market research companies that provide focus groups.

Being a part of a focus group is really fun. I was a part of a focus group once and was paid about $150 for two hours.

Basically the way it works is that you have to answer some screening questions just like you would for a paid for online surveys. Next, if you pass the screening questions, then you will be asked to participate in the focus group.

It is usually a panel of about eight people and it is in a roundtable format in which everybody is asked their opinions and buying habits if the subject is a particular retailer or product. It was a really fun experience and I highly recommend it.


Sneakers41-Often there are many questions regarding packaging and overall attitude toward the product. The respondent will get paid for both surveys and their ideas actually help shape the new product.

They also will get to try a new product periodically, which is a lot of fun. There is a confidentiality clause so if you perform a survey, you can not disclose any information regarding the product to anyone because the survey is conducted in the product development phrase and it is highly confidential because information could get out to a competitor that would have a competitive advantage.


Nightlights-There are many companies that offer online surveys that pay. A company by the name of Pinecone Research offers online surveys that pay.

They usually provide screening questions to people that are registered with them to determine if the fit the target sample for the study.

The preliminary questions might revolve around cleaning products or attitudes regarding make up or lipstick. If the candidate passes the screen questions then they are offered the questionnaire.

In some cases depending on the responses the company might want to follow up with the respondent to ask more targeted questions while providing a sample of the new product.

After the respondent has had a few weeks to try the product, the respondent will ask follow up questions in order to determine the likes and dislikes of the product.


I've been doing online surveys for years now. I have about 12 companies that I'm signed up with, however only about half of them pay in actual money. And like the article says, you won't get rich, you won't even earn enough in a month to equal a part-time minimum wage job. You can earn some extra pocket money every couple of months. I say months because most sites have a min amount to be able to request payment.

I continue to do the surveys because I do enjoy having some little bit of influence in new products, and I really love being able to try out products before they hit the store shelves!

The survey sites that offer points in exchange for merchandise usually have more survey opportunities, often daily. I end up saving up the points all year in order to get a larger item as a xmas gift, or something I really want but am not willing to spend actual money on lol!

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