I have been working with and learning about the world of online paid surveys for roughly a month now. In this multi-part post, I will clue you in to what I have discovered in this virtual world of opinions. From demographics to your earnings to what ever else I have deemed note-worthy, I’ll give you a realistic evaluation of making money in your ‘spare time’.

online_survey_v1Let’s start with why I decided to try my bit with paid surveys. Like many people right now, I could use some extra income to help out with the expenses of simply existing in this society. Times are financially hard and are only going to get harder. Twenty years ago, I had my first child. I wanted to be a stay at home mom, raising him with my ideals and moral code. The very thought of someone else being his caretaker for most of his waking time while he only ‘spent the night’ in my home and on the weekends really bothered me. I wanted to be a mom first. My career could wait. Gratefully, my husband agreed with me, and we made arrangements, financially, for my choice to happen. I understood what I was trading or postponing for motherhood.

Fast forward twenty years. Now I’m forty-two years old, a mother of three, have no degree or work experience worth anything by society’s standards. As a family, we’re scraping by on one income which is 40% less than what it was before thanks to an asshole boss that my husband had before being “invited” to find work elsewhere. That boss isn’t as benevolent as he claims to be, but enough about him. Regardless, my husband’s new job doesn’t pay as much as we were accustomed to. This motivated me to seek the extra moneys to help out with groceries or other minor expenditures that creep up every week.

I went to Google and searched for online paid surveys. I figured I would read some other opinions on the subject first. I found a couple of seemingly good ones on Squidoo. They appeared to be honest takes on their experiences plus they listed the best paying ones from their point of view. I started with those.

Most of them have sign-up bonuses of $5, some more and some less. The sign-up can be as simple as creating an account with your valid email address and a password then confirming the address by clicking the link in the email they send you. Like I said, simple. Others want more to begin with like your zip code and birthday. After joining one, you’ll be ‘invited’ to join partner sites for paid surveys, coupons, and other ‘bargains’. These too will have incentives to join them, ranging from point bonuses to cash to sweepstake entries. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Initially, it does, but then I figured out what was really happening.

They want your email address. They’ll want your phone number too. By giving them these bits of information freely and willingly, the less-than-legitimate ones will spam both your inbox and phone with “offers”. As for being on the “do not call” list, once you give them your number, they are legally allowed to call you at least once where you must tell them to remove you from their call list. It’s a hassle. Or, like me, you just ignore the numbers you don’t recognize. I have voice mail for serious callers to leave messages for a return call. Another alternative to giving out your phone number is to create a Google Voice number. With the email spamming of your in-box, double check at the bottom of the annoying email to see if you have an unsubscribe link. Use it. If you don’t, then learn how to filter the annoying emails directly into the trash, or just delete it yourself.

I’ll let this be the initial post for this series. In my following posts, I’ll cover some of the sites I’ve used and been used by, some of the common survey types, and who I’ve had actual success with. With any luck, you won’t be screened out too frequently.

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