Saturday, 16 October 2010

A Penny for Your Thoughts: Money in Surveys

Another way to make some money on the side is by filling in online surveys. Not quite passive income as it involves a little bit of brainwork on your part, but at the end of the day everyone loves giving their opinion on something. How else can you explain the rise of twitter and blogging!

Two of the best companies in the survey market are YouGov and Springboard. Both because they're real companies that actually pay out money. YouGov is so real it is actually a publicly listed company on the stock market. Unfortunately, the survey market is chock full of scam artists and spam monkeys just waiting to grab your details and sell it on to unsuspecting B2B marketers. I won't mention names but basically I wouldn't sign up with anyone else if I were you.

Over the last year I've got my £50 out of YouGov just for giving them my hard-headed opinion on politics, ads, insurance, and other random stuff. Some of the surveys are actually fun and users get to rate upcoming adverts and television programmes. The majority though are daft, thinly veiled attempts to find out when you will next be in the market to buy mobile phones or insurance. Still not to mind - at the end of the day a few minutes effort once a week for some free money at the end of a year is all good news.

Springboard is a bit newer to market and like most late starters has arrived with a few new ideas. So Springboard surveys are generally a bit quicker to fill in as they feature drag and drop and javascript quick pick boxes. It all looks good.

Obviously, parting with information about yourself to these online polling companies is going to have some downfalls. The biggest of which is that they sell the information you give them to the parties paying for the surveys. At the beginning I'd complete a survey about insurance for example and the next week two or three companies would be on the phone trying to sell me insurance. You can sort this out by signing up for the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). The TPS is a free service that lets you opt out of being contacted by unsolicited sales or marketing calls. Data marketers are legally obligated to check their database against the TPS first before ringing you. Signing up to this has reduced the dodgy calls  to virtually nothing now.

Overall filling in surveys is a nice way to earn a few pounds on the side. You're never going to be rich out of it but any extra is welcome these days.