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Best Online Survey Programs

Part 1 of 2

Legitimate Online Surveys That Work
Web-based market research paid out some $18.7 billion in cash, gift cards, sweepstakes offers, and free stuff in 2012. Work-at-home parents, students, and the unemployed who are looking for some extra money each month are just a few of the survey takers who are joining up with paid online research surveys. Companies want public opinion so they can improve their products and services. Consumers are looking to earn a few extra dollars each month without getting scammed. Online surveys and mystery shopping are two programs that bring the company and consumers together.

An online survey is a market research tool in which a consumer completes a web-based questionnaire about products, advertising, etc. Mystery shopping is similar in that it is a tool used to gather customer opinion, but different in that the customer must go to a specified outlet and act as a shopper. After the venture as a "mystery shopper," you complete a web-based questionnaire about the look of the display, sales techniques you observed, how store personnel fielded your questions, etc. A wide range of survey and shopping sites have been created. As with all programs, you'll want to research to make sure you get what you're after.

Popular Sites
Comments accompany some sites. Other sites I'll leave to you to determine the pros and cons.

Slice the Pie - Slice the Pie sets itself apart from the pack by offering to pay for online music reviews rather than for online questionnaires. The music is all from new artists who are willing to pay to receive honest, high quality feedback on their music. "Scouts" select a genre of music to review, listen to at least one minute of the music, and submit a review. The review is then rated from 1 to 5 stars. Stars determine your pay which ranges from $.02-$.20. You can get paid through PayPal, or you can donate your earnings to an artist. Slice of the Pie is not a scam. It is low pay. Scouts report that it is difficult to earn a 5-star rating on a review, even when following tips. If you love listening to music and writing reviews or if you have a passion for helping budding artists, you've found your site.

Earning Station - Earning Station is a comparative newcomer to the world of legitimate online surveys programs. It has good reputation because of its free registration, rewards for playing games and watching videos, range of rewards, ease of use, variety of opportunities, referral bonus, and reliable payout at $10. It will take a while to generate the $10, but it has a place on your list of top sites.

CVS Advisor - Consider CVS if you love shopping there and like their perks.

Inbox Pays - Inbox Pays has one of the higher thresholds of $50 before you can redeem rewards; however, they pay cash through PayPal. In addition to completing surveys, you can earn points by clicking on advertisers in your email.

Swag Bucks - Swag Bucks has a reputation as a stable, trusted online survey program.

Harris Poll - Harris Poll is run by Neilsen Company, so its legitimacy has never been questioned. It has a long history of survey takers earning points to redeem for prizes and gifts.

Inbox Dollars - Take 4 survey/day and earn about $2.

Pinecone Research - Pinecone Research is one of the enviable programs. Their registration is not open year round, so you'll have to check back frequently until your foot is in the door. They pay a straight $3/survey and let you cash out your earnings any time.