If you have ever searched online for ways to make extra money, then no doubt you have seen ads taking surveys. Paid Surveys can be a legitimate way to make some extra income. However, many sites have taken advantage of the hype surrounding online surveys. They often inflate the earnings you can make taking surveys to entice users to join.

True survey sites are hosted by online market research firms.  Online surveys are a proven way to obtain consumer opinions on latest products and trends. The concept of paying consumers to test new products or service and then give feedback is not new. It is just that the earnings promised to unsuspecting online individuals has been exaggerated by some online sites masquerading as market research firms. In reality these sites are just looking to profit off the user, or gain personal information they can resale.

With annual market research spending on the rise, the use of the Internet has become a cost effective means for corporations and retailers to gain targeted consumer opinions. As a result several market research firms began creating online survey panels in the mid 1990’s.  To attract users to join, they offered members compensation for taking surveys.

Since that time however, several questionable sites have appeared, hyping online surveys as a means for financial freedom. They started using the concept of paid surveys to make money off the increasing number of users looking to surveys as a way to make some extra income. Some sites charged membership fees, while others just harvested personal information from their members. These sites have ruined the image of online paid survey sites, and unfortunately made many people look elsewhere for ways to make extra income.

In reality though there are legitimate paid survey sites to join. You just need to stick to quality survey panels, and remember real survey panels will never charge you or ask for sensitive information like social security number or bank account information. When choosing a survey panel to join, make sure the site has a full disclosure of how they will use your information, and ensure that it’s run by an actual market research firm. Often times you can verify the parent company in the Better Business Bureau listings.

Assuming that you manage to avoid the scam sites, and only join good survey panels, the question remains is it really worth the time? The answer lies in your expectations. If you are looking for a road to financial freedom, this is not it. However, if you would be happy with some extra income in exchange for your views then read on.

The typical pay for any given survey varies, but most offer $1 to $5 for each survey you complete. Normally most surveys can be completed in 20 minutes or less. So for any given survey that works out to about $3 to $15 an hour. You can sometimes even get products to try and keep for free as part of the survey.

Survey invitations are usually sent to you via an email, with details about the incentive offered, and a link to take the survey. Usually you are asked to fill out a short screener survey, and if you qualify then you can continue on and earn the full amount promised. Since the survey companies are looking for a certain demographic you will not always qualify. But do not be discourage, this is typical for most sites. Still it can be frustrating, and it will definitely put a damper on your total earnings for the time you spend.

If you do not qualify, you are usually dismissed early.  So that way you can save time for the next survey. Some survey sites offer a small incentive while others just offer a sweepstakes entry for your time. The screener survey usually takes less than 5 minutes, and the full survey can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.

If you sign up with several good survey panels, and you are in a good demographic that can qualify for surveys, you should do well with surveys. You should be able to make anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars a month depending on how much time you spend. It’s not exactly a fortune, but it can help offset some of your monthly bills, and it is something you can do in your spare time.
The main thing to remember is that taking surveys online can be a form of extra income. It can be a good and profitable experience as long as you keep your expectations in line.