Make sure you check out my list of paid survey sites. I only list companies that I have experience with and I give you the low-down on each one. And if that’s not enough, you can check out surveypolice.com for ratings and reviews.
So I decided to put on my detective hat and go digging a little further to help answer the questions that have arisen from my initial post.
First of all, I decided to sign up for Big Spot. I went through the sign-up process from beginning to end to see if my assumptions were correct.
UPDATE 8/2010: Their screens and graphics have changed since the writing of this article but the results and content remain the same.
The sign-up process:
The first screen that came up after I entered my information was this:
The next screen that came up after I entered my information and then clicked join was this:
This screen shows a list of “Free Sponsor Offers” that consist of other survey companies, newsletters and samples. They look interesting and exciting and the word FREE is very enticing. You can sign up for these FREE offers yourself and even earn money doing it by joining certain sites like MyPoints.com and other similar “pay to complete offer sites.”
The next screen that comes up will fill you with anticipation as you wait for all of your great, exclusive free paid survey listings:
The next screen is the “database” you have been waiting for:
This screen lists just a fraction of the market research companies who are willing to pay you for your opinion, and I actually signed up twice and filled out completely different personal information and you know what, I got the same exact list just in a different order.
What this means to you:
I don’t know all of their motives, and I certainly don’t know what they do with your personal information, but Big Spot and Survey Payoff appear to have basically set themselves up as an affiliate marketer. They are providing you with information, and you sign up through their links and they make money.
Is it legal? Yes. Is it wrong? No. Is it safe? Maybe. That depends upon what they are doing with your email address. To me, they are at least misleading people because not only is their “database” shamefully small, they do it under the guise that they have secret resources you can’t find on your own. I can even tell you why their database is so small. Because not all paid survey companies participate in affiliate marketing, so they only list the ones they get paid for sign-ups on.
If you have never signed up for a paid survey panel, and if you see their list, you can rest assured that their list does contain some legitimate market research companies who will pay you for your opinions and it does contain some of the most popular companies. But there is still the issue of why they need your email address and what they will do with it. Plus it also contains some questionable resources that I have seen other experiences survey takers claiming are not legitimate.
You will need to sign up SEPARATELY for each of the individual survey companies so it appears unnecessary for Big Spot to require your name, zip code and email address.
So, smarty pants, how do I get a list of Free Paid Surveys without providing my personal info to a third party?
If I had more time, I’d list every paid survey company known to man for you to sign up for. I don’t have that kind of time, plus there are a couple of resources I will point you to that have already done it. I have some of my favorites listed on my Free Paid Survey Sites page and also on my right sidebar. You will find that the sites I list are ones that I have been a member of for years (some since 2002 or earlier), have received surveys from and have received payment from.
When it comes to survey taking, there are a couple of “golden rules” that any experienced survey taker would tell you. The first would be to never, ever pay to receive information or access to free paid survey databases. The second would be to be extremely careful with your personal information because there are a lot of “cash for your opinion” offers out there that are not legitimate, in fact I would say the scam sites outweigh the legitimate ones. This means you have to be smart, do your homework, and read reviews and opinions from people who have experience.
The bottom line:
When it comes down to it, Big Spot does not appear to provide you with anything you cannot get from somewhere else without having to key in your personal information. You will still need to sign up with each individual market research company separately in order to receive survey invitations and payments for surveys. So the question remains about why they need your information, especially when the list they provide can be found across the web without having to share your personal info.
In addition to the sites we have on our Free Paid Survey Sites page if you want a complete database of paid surveys including actual participant ratings, check out FreePaidSurveys.net, and SurveyPolice.com. You won’t get rich taking paid surveys but you can earn some extra cash each month to order a pizza, or save it up to help fund Christmas.
Happy survey taking!
For more information on taking paid surveys: