Online Surveys: Can You Actually Earn Any Money?

The truth about earning money with online surveys: Internet ScamBusters #150

Today’s issue is about one of the most common questions we get that we’ve never addressed before: Can you really earn money with online surveys?

Online Surveys: Can You Actually Earn Any Money?

You’ve very likely seen pitches like this that you receive via spam:

“Earn $140 per week! Earn $560 a week! Earn $6,270 a year! All by just sitting home, sipping coffee, and filling out surveys.”

Is this too good to be true?

Yes. Although it does make sense that a few companies are willing to pay for market research by using online surveys, we believe this is not a good way to spend your time.

Here’s how the scam works: Scammers use spam and promise you quick money for little effort. They claim that you only need to spend a few minutes and you’ll earn excellent money. Of course, you have to pay the “low” price of $34.95 to learn how to do this.

So their goal is to get thousands of people paying $34.95 (or whatever amount is charged) for the info.

This would be fine if they didn’t spam — and actually delivered what they promised. However, the vast majority of these online survey products are worthless.

Now, you may be thinking, “Well, I’ll go online and find a site that screens out the scammers and ranks paid survey sites, and that way I’ll find the legitimate online survey companies.”

This makes sense on the surface, but unfortunately, many of these “ranking” sites may actually be middlemen who are paid commissions by the survey companies for referrals. Often, whoever pays the most to the ranking site gets the highest rating, and the online survey companies they rank well are not necessarily reliable.

Are there legitimate online survey companies? Yes, there must be, but unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to find them. It’s like picking a needle out of a 77,300,000 haystack (type “online surveys” into a Google search for similar results).

In fact, legitimate online surveys often are quite long, which means they take awhile to fill out. That’s one of the reasons the hype isn’t true.

(As an aside, if you do online surveys, you shouldn’t scam the online survey companies either. Don’t have your kids fill out the surveys or just make up answers. After all, legitimate companies want legitimate answers from legitimate respondents.)

Given that the hype is wrong, how much can you realistically expect to earn doing online surveys?

A friend of ours decided to find out. She is one of the fastest typists we know, and she’s extremely efficient and skilled at administrative work.

Since she wanted some extra income she could earn at home in her spare time, she spent a week or so to see how much she’d earn filling out online surveys.

The results? She earned about $0.37 an hour!

Would that be what you’d earn? We don’t know. But we believe there are lots of better ways to earn money by working at home.

We’ve found that people WANT the hype about online surveys to be true. However, in order to make money on the Internet working at home, it takes (gasp!) work. The promises about online surveys are at best not realistic.

Note: Yes, you definitely can earn money on the Internet working at home. Many people do this very successfully. But not by doing online surveys, stuffing envelopes, or medical transcription. 😉

Now, we’ll probably get a lot of email telling us that we’re wrong. We’ve followed this area for quite awhile, and we believe that our advice about online surveys is correct for the vast majority of our subscribers. (Please don’t send us these emails, btw.)

Nonetheless, if you’re determined to go ahead with online surveys anyway, here’s some advice:

First, ignore all spam solicitations. They are all scams.

Second, use Google or your favorite search engine to see if you can find info on the company, including complaints. (Not finding complaints means nothing, btw. People are often too embarrassed to complain when they realize they’ve been scammed. Or the company may have changed their name or website ten minutes ago.)

One last point: It should be obvious that in this issue we’re not talking about free online surveys and polls that you find on many websites. For example, we’re not referring to answering the QuickVote poll on the CNN website. 😉

Bottom line: Save your money and your time — avoid online surveys.

Check out some great feedback from subscribers on this article on online surveys here.

We also wanted to let you know about our newest website, which is a blog called It’s “your entertaining and impassioned guide to the Christmas season.” We just started it last week — you’ll find lots of great tips throughout the Christmas season. You can check it out here.

In the wake of Hurricane Wilma, we again want to remind you about disaster scams. Once again, scammers began sending out charity relief and other disaster scams before Hurricane Wilma even hit land!

The number of Hurricane Wilma scams is growing quickly. If you haven’t yet read about these types of scams, we recommend you check out our page on Hurricane Katrina scams (since these scams were the most prevalent and we focused our info on disaster scams on this page).

That’s it for today. Wishing you a safe, healthy and productive week.