I have been looking for side hustles and ways to make money online. I love the Penny Hoarder, the site has great ideas and constantly introduces me to new apps or ideas. At the same time, I’m always looking to balance money vs. effort and am constantly testing some of the ideas to see how much of a return there is on them.
One of the ideas I consistently come across is online surveys. There are several sites: Harris Poll Online, Swagbucks, PointClub, OpinionOutpost, Inboxdollars and more. When i first saw this, I thought it would be a great way to make a few extra dollars when I was sitting around or otherwise stuck, like waiting in line, or something along those lines.
What I found was that online survey sites and apps has been extremely infuriating and not at all worth it. Even though you may see many blog posts out there listing this as a side hustle, let’s not forget, us bloggers and affiliate marketers are recommending products in order to drive traffic and make money so sometimes the reality is often glazed over.
Below, I’ll walk you through what an online survey looks like, how much time it takes, and what the ROI is.
1. How Much Survey Points are Worth
Just to show you what we are dealing with here…
It took me about 3 weeks or so to earn 156 SB. This included a purchase through Swagbucks (which is a feature I do really like), and also some sign-up incentive Swagbucks (SBs). I need 500 SB to get $5, however after the initial sign-up bonus SBs, I started averaging only a few SB a day. I know these companies need to make money and I get that, so I’m okay earning a few a day…if it weren’t for the next things I’m about to show you.
2. Choosing a Survey
Swagbucks outlines the surveys, how many SB’s they are worth, and how long it will take. For this example, I’ll take a 5 min survey for 75 SB. Not too shabby.
3. Taking the Survey
Questions 1 and 2 ask me about my employment. Notice the font and format.
After I answer the first two questions, it bounces me to some different data source. Note: This is STILL the same survey, but now the font and format is different, and it starts at question 1, which makes me think that it bounced me to another company that is going to collect my info.
Then it asks me if I’m a robot, which I assume is question 5, because then it jumps right to question 5.
And then last but not least….I get bounced to yet another site. Different font and format, Censuswide survey consultants as the header…and all still the SAME survey.
4. Completing the Survey
Now, I have answered several questions and it has taken me about 5-7 minutes and I’m ready for my Swagbucks.
But….lo and behold, I’m not going to get those 75 SB am I? After all, that’s about 75 cents, nearly a dollar, and if I made a dollar for about 7 minutes I could make about $8.50 an hour. Not too shabby for a quick side hustle, but probably not profitable for the survey company.
I am annoyed and frustrated. I answered questions, I shared data and then at the end, I didn’t get the compensation that I expected. Additionally, I don’t know why. There is no reasoning and so I have no idea how to find the surveys that will be a good fit.
If this happened once in a while, it would be fine, but this happens to me EVERY SINGLE SURVEY. Since I signed up, I haven’t gotten a true survey since, just failures, earning 1SB at a time.
Additionally, some surveys will tell you that you need to answer a few prerequisite questions, but then after you go through that process, it will tell you that the survey wasn’t a fit for your profile. Those questions are time consuming and a lot of times the data entry of it on a mobile device is very cumbersome, think lots of drop-downs with a lot of options in the drop-downs.
Essentially, to me it seems rigged that you answer the questions and give the companies data, with no compensation in return. Maybe I just have a certain profile that isn’t what they are looking for, but I’m not sure.
And it isn’t just swagbucks, this has been consistent across the online survey polls that I have used.
Overall, I think this is a bit of a scam and I would definitely not consider this a viable way to make money online. Definitely don’t quit your day job on this one.