Paid Surveys: Bad Telecommuting Jobs

I'm looking to canvass telecommuting jobs that actually pay. One that comes up frequently is how people can get paid for taking online surveys. Signing up for this was a huge mistake! I've taken several surveys but have received no payment. What I have received is a deluge of spam mail offering me the chance to sign up for even more things.

The site we signed up under looked credible and had the right message: "Would you believe there are people who make thousands of dollars a month just for giving their opinions? It's quite possible... "The good news is that getting paid for your opinions doesn't involve skill or hard work ..." "You're here to make some money, so let's get...started ...one favor to ask - would you please tell at least two people about us?...We appreciate your help in letting people know about us and your friends will too."

I very much doubt your friends will thank you if you actually refer them to any of the paid survey sites online. The offers that are pouring in promise free items, from computers to designer bags, to dating services to prescriptions, but to access them you have to sign up (read give credit card info) for "trial" memberships on various offers from known and unknown companies. And not just sign up with one but rather several offers.

My advice, if you sign up for ANY "paid" survey taking opportunities online: Use a different email.Don't use your regular email to sign up. Use one you can easily delete when it begins receiving spam by the 100s. Do not give personal information out. If they ask for first name, give first initial. If they ask for your birthday, don't give out your real one. Make one up while keeping the year the same. Use January 1 and your birth year. That way you can remember what you used. Don't give your actual street address to the sites you sign up with. If you have a PO Box use that instead.

My experience with "getting paid to take online surveys" has not been good. This is a thumbs down option as far as I'm concerned. I'd like to hear about other folks' experiences on earning money by taking surveys online. Is there any wheat out there? All I found were weeds.


  1. Anonymous8/23/2005

    I've been very much tempted to sign up and pay money to do this - and the funny thing is I've not found one realperson response the these surveys: your's is the first. I found it very suspicious that the site I was interested in had no telephone contact number or physical address, I have requested there financial records an a tax certificate. This is legal in South Africa, as you are actually not allowed to take a job without knowing they are legitamate.

    So if following your advice; I'm very sceptical- I'm also concerned that there will be no surveys for South Africa.

    I would realy appreciate a responce! tamsynkent@yahoo.com


  2. Hello Zinny,

    I would advice you NOT to sign up to take online surveys as a means to get a part-time income. I did this for several months and took many surveys...did not get a single penny for them but did begin getting hundreds of spam mail. The only thing that saved me was that I had created an email just for this and when it began getting zillions of spam I deactivated the email. Had I used my own email I would have had to dump it and create a new one.

    My opinion is that at best the "paid surveys" jobs advertised online are an under-the-table, sneaky way for companies to get people's email they can then bombard with advertisements of their own...at worst, these programs are being run by scam artists. They promise the moon and deliver junk, as in junk emails.

    I'm not naming names on my blog but I've got several companies I signed up for and every single one was a black hole of unending promises and zero deliverables.

    I wouldn't recommend anyone signing up for these but, if you do, at least use an email you can easily discard once it begins receiving hundreds of junk/spam from companies you never even knew existed nor would you ever buy anything from.

  3. ooohhh....one more thing...do be very careful when you're offered a free iPod or free digital camera or free whatever. NOTHING worth having in life is free, at least not merchandise. There are steel cable strings attached to these things. The "free iPod" I thought I was signing up for cost me days of haggling with 2 different companies to get me off of their recurring charge program. These free offers ask you to sign up for a "trial" version of whatever it is the various companies are selling. But remember that to sign up you have to give out credit card/contact info. So the trial package is sent AND UNLESS you save the package it comes in and invoice and labels, i.e., unless you save everything that came with the package, it's hard to return and get off of their monthly recurring charge program.

    What you're mostly signing up is not a one-time deal but a subscription. Just be careful and watch your bank and credit card statements like a hawk for months afterwards to make sure no unauthorized charges are sneaking in.

    Good luck finding good telecommuting jobs online. If you do find them, let us know about it! :-)

  4. Anonymous9/13/2005

    I have had some survey sites pay me. I have so far made more than $100 from paid surveys in past 6 months. I got introduced by a friend who runs a nice website Internet paid Surveys where you can find free info on paid surveys sites.

    I feel sorry for people who get scammed by so called paid survey sites that ask for money, In reality, what they do is only give you a list of paid survey sites. If you can get info on those sites for free, why pay them?

    Anyway you are not going to make a fortune doing surveys. But you can get some extra cash with them. I have never received any spam from joining these sites. The best thing to avoid spam is to look clearly while submitting forms, whether you have ticked to receive this/that newsletter or offer. Also always use a secondary email address.

  5. There are actually some legitimate paid survey panels. If something is saying "get a free ipod for this survey", it is not a real paid survey. Real paid surveys are conducted by market research companies to gather information for large companies. This is how they find out how the public feels about their products and advertising. A paid survey will usually pay from $2 to $10. Here is a a link to 30 of the top paid survey panels online. All of these are legit. And will not spam you or sell your information.
    Top Paid Survey Panels
    Never pay for a paid surveys list.

  6. Thanks, Chris, for the link. I'll check it out. Your advice is sound. I also appreciate the advice given in the anonymous post. You're both on the same wavelength and info like that does help to separate the wheat from the shaft. Thanks for posting!

  7. Anonymous6/12/2006

    Here are some good paid surveys tips:

    Use a free software program to automate filling out forms. These programs are great for signing up with multiple paid survey companies quickly. Many forms can be filled with one 'click', saving lots of time and typing. One of the most popular is RoboForm.

    Setup a separate email address. This should be used only for your survey business. You will be receiving a large number of paid survey opportunities daily, and it will be much easier if they're separated from your 'regular' email. Accidently deleting a $25 survey might not make you angry .. deleting a $75 one probably will.

    Keep records of your paychecks. Depending upon the law in your area, you will probably be considered an independent consultant for tax purposes. This means the IRS will be expecting you to pay taxes on your paid survey income. Keep a log of all your paychecks in case you have to pay taxes on it. All expenses associated with your paid survey business are normally tax deductible, including any subscription fees. Please check with a tax consultant for the laws in your area.

    Initially, accept every online paid survey opportunity. The idea here is to establish yourself as a reliable survey worker. Established, proven survey takers get more of the higher-dollar surveys. Once you have a track record and are getting the number of high dollar surveys you desire, then you can 'pick and choose' which surveys to answer.

    Paid Surveys - Worldwide Jobs Available.

    Paid Online Surveys - the TRUTH!.

  8. Dear Anonymous, Thanks for posting your thoughts. I'd love to keep hearing from regular folks who've tried this means of earning a part time income. For my money/time it wasn't worth it, so I cannot recommend it but rather would try to talk folks out of doing it. I pretty much did all you suggest folks do... except I didn't get to cash any checks because none ever came. Still I strongly suggest for those willing to give this sort of thing a try that they get a completely different email they use to sign up with because spam by the thousands will hit their inbox almost immediately.

  9. Anonymous9/07/2007

    Hello! I read this article! Big thanks to author, very interesting. Write more.

  10. Hi, in response to what Zinny said... I too am from S Africa and have been reading all about the millions to be made taking surveys. Since I am a WAHM, H/schooling my previous brood and also an author and publisher of children's educational ebooks, we spend about 12-16 hours a day on our computers & I thought aaaah well let's give it a bash... Now first and foremost we get to fill in these "profile" of "surveys" just to sign up... Once we have signed we see the message "Sorry, no surveys available for your country" One would think that they would actually notify you in the beginning.

    Then we Google search Paid Surveys in South Africa, just to get referred again to international companies that don't conduct surveys in S Africa. We have to be realistic here. S Africa is a 3rd world country and concepts such as these have not hit our shores yet(if they do work in the USA and elsewhere - excellent) but anything that IS on offer for S Africans is for you to pay up front to get access to their lists.

    Since signing up for a couple of these, only to be told that it doesn't work for our country, I have received zillions of mails in my mailbox and now have an idea of how the scam actually works....

    My advice to Zinny is don't hope to earn an income or make a living out of taking surveys if you are in S Africa. There aren't any. International organisations aren't interested in us either...

    Hope that helps
    Donnette, PMB, KZN, S Africa


  11. Oops, that should be precious brood - I think I need a new keyboard :)

  12. Thanks, Hilbert, for visiting our blog and enjoying what's been posted here so far. Good to hear from you.

    And Donnette, thanks so much for sharing your South Africa experience with paid surveys. I must tell you it's NO different from my USA experience. You experienced the SAME thing I did...going thru the process of setting up a profile only to land at the end and get the "no surveys available at this time." I also received those same messages. And I also received zillions of spam emails from folks I didn't even know existed.

    I said it before and I say it again, in my opinion paid surveys are scams. Period. But if anyone wants to try their luck at them I suggest they first get a different email, one they can trash the moment it starts receiving spam by the hundreds. I also suggest they give false birth date if asked, false address, false everything because in my mind paid surveys registrations are nothing more than data gathering machines that then go and sell your contact information to marketers.

  13. Anonymous2/20/2008

    Hi all

    Be very suspicious of any site that asks for payment! Legitimate survey companies DO EXIST - but they are FREE TO JOIN!! LET me repeat that, they should be free to join - as soon as any firm asks for payment, steer clear.. this industry has a bad reputation because there are certain scammers offering ridiculous amounts of money to do surveys.. if that were true dont you think many people would just sit at home doing surveys!! haha You can get paid doing surveys, but you need to find the legitimate survey firms that offer these opportunities - and please note YOU WILL NOT GET RICH

    For legitimate surveys in all countries - visit http://www.makesomemoney365.com - this site reviews all the legitimate survey sites and is FREE to join!

  14. Completing online surveys makes a good hobby, but certainly is not a replacement for a regular job - the pay is too low with no benefits to speak of (unless keeping the products that are sent to you is, in fact, a "benefit"). If, however, you remain interested in completing studies for pay (again, as a hobby only), I highly recommend Survey Savvy. It recruits panelists from every country (not just the United States and England) and compensates panelists each time a referral of theirs completes a survey of his/her own $2 with no limit. Survey Savvy does require a bit of set-up - there are eight moderately lengthy "profile portraits" on the main page that should be completed immediately to better ensure that one qualifies for an upcoming survey - but, afterwards, you are set to go. I personally receive a study a week, which range in value from $1 to $10; but I think Survey Savvy's best feature is its willingness to pay me even when I am not send a survey invite (because one of my referrals completed a study - no other online survey site is so generous). A panelist may request payment (via check) as often as (s)he wants regardless of the amount ($1 or $100).


  15. Thanks, Generous_Man, for your comment. You made some good points, the main one being that this would be a hobby and not a replacement for a regular job. Don't you think the ads for completing surveys online are a bit misleading? I know when I first looked into this I thought they were saying you could make good money doing this. So the point you make is a very good one. Folks who want to try this out should know ahead of time would do better to look at it as a hobby.

    That being said, and since there is not that much money to be made filling online surveys, do you think it's worth it giving out so much of your personal information to so many people? That's another thing that bothered me when I tried this. It's one thing for me to give my personal info online when I'm buying something from a reputable online store. It's another to freely give it out to folks I know little or nothing about.

    Thanks again for taking the time to comment on this and adding your thoughts to the conversation. Thanks also for sharing with us one place where you've found this to work for you.