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(REST ASSURED, THIS IS NOT A SPAM CON!): “Can I make money from online surveys?”

October 19, 2012

It’s a simple dream: make enough money to survive simply by obliging the wealth of companies that will reward people for filling in online surveys. This could be the key to gaining independence and that most important commodity, time to follow one’s dream.

Of course there is a code for those who pursue this avenue to freedom. You mustn’t give trade secrets away, and indiscretions such as revealing details of exciting new commercial products are very much frowned upon. Nevertheless, I shall now reveal – as a service to readers of my blog and all who are hoping to earn decent money by the use of their wit, experience as consumers and their PC – what I have learnt by several months of research.

First of all I must reveal that, sadly, my endeavours have not altered my opinion that only some people in this world, no matter what their situation, have the gift of making a decent profit, perhaps even buckets of cash. If you are such a person, you may find a way to turn the life of an online survey respondent into a going concern, and you will already know that it will take a lot of concentrated management and shrewdness to make the most of the available opportunities.

The most you can expect from responding to a single survey is about a pound, which you can only get your hands on once you’ve achieved a target total sum which may unexpectedly go up so you have even longer to wait and more questionnaires to fill in. Others may only offer 50p or even less, or entries into a prize draw of some kind, or a number of “points”, several thousand of which are needed for the most basic voucher or gift. One needs to get to know the companies that have the most consistent supply of truly rewarding surveys, and focus on them.

Bear in mind that as soon as you enter this murky world your in box will grow alarmingly, assailed by similar survey groups and an army of spammers, all dedicated to persuading you to sign up for all sorts of special offers, trial try outs of dubious value or, frequently, gambling sites. Or they may just want to tempt you into giving away your bank details!

Each survey claims it will take as little as one minute or at most fifteen. A conscientious, reflective person will soon find that it will take several times longer than the time stated to decide what kind of snack food they truly prefer or judge exactly how “smart” their phone is. It might be a good idea to carry a notebook and make a careful record of each shopping trip and decision, summaries of magazine or newspaper articles, details of journeys made for business or pleasure, every interaction with a utility or phone company etc, of every opinion you have ever formed that somebody somewhere may care to know. Perhaps you already do that?

Plato said, “the unexamined life is not worth living” and this sort of thing may come naturally. You may be so certain of your feelings that sharing any one of them is but the work of a moment, and you don’t need much prompting to recall the variations in price and quality of each item in your shopping basket.

It’s not all about the money, of course. It can be mighty satisfying to stick it to some bank or other multinational by marking down their services and products. And who could resist that common question: “If the Prime Minister were to turn up on your doorstep, what is the one issue you would like to discuss with him?” I guess we all know the answer to that one!

As always, wariness is called for, because some survey questions reveal that the researchers have a distinctive agenda into which they are hoping to fit you. It might not be as obvious as “which of these imitation toffee flavoured alco pops is the most delicious?” or “Now that you know that this Corporation is run and staffed by saints who devote every waking hour to making the world a better place, has your opinion of it changed?” but it’s as well to remember that statistics are easily manipulated and used to justify the most appalling legislation or commercial innovation.

Unfortunately, some questions may reveal unpalatable truths about oneself, particularly the questions designed to identify the section of the population (no doubt with its own special title, coined by the questioners for their own amusement) to which one belongs. What is your annual income? Are you in a relationship? What car do you drive (as if!)? When did you last have a foreign holiday, go out, play a sport or have any kind of fun? Do you in fact know a damn thing about anything at all? Repeatedly having to admit the ghastly truth not only has a depressing effect, but you end up being screened out of the juiciest looking surveys!

You might bend the truth a little, of course, just to make yourself feel better, but beware! The survey will freeze if it senses any inconsistency.

Well, that’s all I can tell you about online surveys. I’d love to offer you an eBook on the subject for a very reasonable price, but, as ever, the market has been saturated already by savvier operators than me.

So I’ll carry on waiting for the world to discover my true worth, and while I’m doing that I may well try my hand at another internet phenomenon, sponsored reviews! It’s not a compromise; they always assure you that you can be as objective as you please, just as long as you don’t say anything too negative or “hateful”, and how hard can that be?

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From → Critic, Writer

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