Take surveys for cash! Sounds like a dream, right? Be opinionated and make money. Sounds awesome! Unfortunately, taking surveys for cash isn’t exactly a path to retirement. All over the web I see promises of making money from surveys, but rarely do I hear about the very real truth about taking surveys.
I’m not saying you can’t make money taking surveys. You can, but after reading the truth about these schemes, you might think twice.
When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was crazy about trying to make an extra buck online. So, of course, I turned to surveys. Hey! It’s easy. I don’t have to work hard. I make money. Sounds awesome! Unfortunately, the truth isn’t that pretty.
Taking surveys for cash makes you a target for junk mail and scams
When you sign up for a paid surveys site, make sure you’re using a throwaway email. Don’t use your main address. Ever.
Create a throwaway account through Gmail or Yahoo. You can easily ditch these accounts and create a new one very easily.
Once you sign up for a survey site, be ready for the deluge of unsolicited offers, junk, and malware.
Some sites will gladly sell your data to their “partners.” Don’t expect your information to stay private. Read the terms of service very closely. You may be agreeing to sell your kidney for all you know.
You may have trouble qualifying for surveys
Surveyors look for certain demographics to take their surveys. Unfortunately, these demographics are often very narrow.
Before you can take a survey, you’ll be asked a series of qualifying questions. Do you like this or that? Have you bought one of these or would you consider it? Are you or any of your immediate relatives in marketing?
If you don’t answer correctly, you don’t qualify. If you don’t qualify, you don’t get to take the survey. If you don’t take the survey, you don’t get paid. Coolio.
You’ll find that this is more common than not. Sites may advertise X dollars per survey, but they conveniently forget to mention how infrequently you’ll qualify.
Earnings from surveys aren’t much
Taking surveys for money is certainly no path to retirement. It’s simply not a sustainable, scalable source of income. The payout per survey is usually cents to a few dollars. That’s not much to build on.
Some sites won’t actually give you cash but instead will “pay” you with gift cards or other non-money “goods.” It’s hard to pay bills with gift cards.
You would have to qualify and answer a LOT of surveys to make any sizable amount. In the amount of time it would take you to answer enough surveys, you could be building an email list, creating an info product and making some actual money.
Maybe get started on Fiverr or Upwork at least. You’d probably make more there in the same amount of time.
Of course, you may not even get paid
Some of these paid survey sites are so shady they won’t pay. Sure they’ll promise riches. Take surveys! Get paid. Except… you may not actually get paid. Small detail.
No, I’m not saying every site is like that. Of course not. But they are out there, and you may not know until too late, when you’ve already spent your time taking survey after survey, finally hitting the payout threshold. You’ll wait around for a payment that’s not coming. Sweet!
You’re disclosing a LOT of personal information
Consider how much information about yourself and your family you are giving away when you take these surveys. Even if you do get paid, is it really worth the risk to your privacy?
You’re exposing data that could potentially be used in very very bad ways:
- Your buying habits
- Your likes and dislikes
- Where you live
- What you do for fun
- Where you’ve traveled
- What health conditions you or a loved one may have
- How much money you have or don’t have
Maybe you’re thinking “nah, that’s no big deal. I have nothing to hide.” But you do. If someone has that information about you, do you realize how easily he or she can steal your identity? Not cool.
No, I’m not saying that every survey site is so unscrupulous as to cater to identity thieves, but some are. Some have absolutely no qualms about selling your data to their partners. Who knows what happens to it from there?
Are paid surveys worth it?
So that leaves the question. After reading all the downsides, is it really worth your time and energy to take paid surveys? Is it worth the risk?
I say no, it isn’t. Paid survey sites are simply not worth it.
There are far better ways to make money online. Paid surveys simply are not the source of income you’ve been told. The data you give away should be private. The time investment is too large for the reward.
And the spam. oh, the spam.
There are far better ways to make money.