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Ask DSM Readers: What Are Your Favorite Survey Sites?

by Tara Kuczykowski on May 28, 2010 · 65 comments

Online Survey SitesPhoto by occ4m

Every week I'll pose a question for you to share your experiences and tips. If you have a question that you'd like me to post, I'd love to hear from you!

A popular way to earn some extra spending money -- whether it's to fund your Starbucks habit or save for the holidays -- is to participate in online surveys. I've mentioned some of the most popular survey sites here before, but I don't have experience with all of them, so I wanted to hear about your experiences.

What are your favorite survey sites? Which one has the best rates? Which one has the most frequent surveys? Have you had any negative experiences? How do you figure out what's legit...and what's not? (Please note that affiliate links will be removed from the comments.)

Join the discussion -- add your two cents to previous Ask DSM Readers questions too!

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Renee May 28, 2010 at 9:02 am

My favorite is PineCone Research Surveys, they have a good amount of surveys and send the checks pretty quickly. My Other favs are Surveyhead and Mindfield surveys. The only problem I have really had is sometimes during a survey there's a glitch and I can't continue.


2 Jen May 28, 2010 at 9:24 am
3 Michelle May 28, 2010 at 9:32 am

I love I have been a member for years and actually used to work there doing surveys over the phone. They have the best rewards & surveys! I also like NPDOR and won $100.00 cash a few months after joining.


4 Madalina May 28, 2010 at 9:33 am

PineCone is by far THE BEST. I haven't really tried others, they seem to not be worth my time collecting points or pennies per survey.


5 Mel May 28, 2010 at 11:34 am

I agree. I get about a survey a week and get paid the next day. It's not loads of money or anything, but it is actual money and not points. I think it adds up to more, too.


6 Maura May 28, 2010 at 9:38 am

I recently tried Global test market. They send surveys daily, but a lot of them just give you credit for their sweepstakes, rather than for points. You have to earn 1000 points to get a $50 check. Most surveys for me have been 35 points. The problem is that more often than not I get "screened out" of surveys, so I just waste my time answering a few questions, not finishing it or getting credit and I've about had it with this site. I'm going to go try PineCone now. Thanks ladies for the advice!


7 Lindsey May 28, 2010 at 9:39 am

I love Toluna. They have lots of opportunities, they don't bombard you with emails, you can take short quick surveys on their site daily to earn a few points here and there, and they seem by far the most professional.

I also do Vauled Opinions occasionally as well


8 ashley May 28, 2010 at 9:42 am

I have had the most luck with lightspeed panel and opinion outpost


9 Heather May 28, 2010 at 9:47 am

I am looking for ways to make money at home. I have heard about PineCone Research - but, how do you join?


10 Claire May 28, 2010 at 9:59 am

Heather - you have to be accepted to join. They only accept requests periodically though, so watch the blogs as they always post when they are looking for new people.


11 Amber May 28, 2010 at 9:54 am

I hated lightspeed. It seems you take all these surveys & get nowhere with your "points"...


12 Carrie May 28, 2010 at 10:30 am

I have to say that my experience has been different. I've gotten about $30 in amazon e certificates this year from lightspeed.


13 brenda May 28, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I do ok with lightspeed. I have been using it for more than 5 years I think. And it seems the greatest benefit is participating in the product trials.


14 Liz May 29, 2010 at 12:38 am

How do you sign up for Lightspeed?


15 csemom May 28, 2010 at 9:58 am

Pinecone is the best. $3 for surveys that you are pre-qualified for. Survey Savvey, not so good. Usually get screened out/disqualified for their surveys.


16 The Tight-Fisted Penny May 28, 2010 at 10:13 am

Pinecone is the best. Unlike other sites where you answer a multitude of questions and the you don't qualify, Pinecone surveys are short and I haven't ever gotten a sorry you didn't qualify message. They send your $3 check immediately!


17 Jenny May 28, 2010 at 10:18 am

MyView, is my favorite! I have earn 250$ in virtual Visa gift cards from them since January. I have also been accepted into two Market Research panels from them earning 75$ and 10$ respectively. They post rewards wuickly between 3-5 days. The cards are "virtual" but I just use it to order a Walmart/Sams Card online because they ship GC's for free! So it all works out. I love MyView. Survey head is a good earner but VERY slow in paying. I have been waiting 4 weeks for a payment of 26.50$ and have another 47.50 pending but still have received nothing and no response from customer service.


18 Maura May 28, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Jenny, where did you find a link to sign up for MyView? I just went to their site and they said its a closed community and you have to find a link on another page. Any advice? Thanks!


19 Maria May 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm

I would not recommend Surveyhead to anyone. You have to accumulate $25 to cash out. This can be done very quickly, if you take at least 1 survey a day worth $1 in less than a month you have your $25. However, a customer service rep has to confirm the survey and this can take between 4 to 6 weeks. Ounce you have $25 worth of confirmed surveys you can request to cash out. I got paid nearly 9 weeks after i requested to cash-out. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Beurau and with the California State Attorney' office against Surveyhead and only then i got paid. I encourage everyone to read the BBB reviews on this company or any you're considering before investing your time.


20 Terri May 28, 2010 at 10:22 am

I like Pinecone also. They are very fast with sending payment.


21 jess May 28, 2010 at 10:32 am

I get the most out of Pinecone and Opinion Outpost.


22 Jennifer May 28, 2010 at 10:01 pm

These are my two favorites!


23 Jennifer September 24, 2010 at 10:46 am

These are my favs too! Although I sometimes get mad at OO for making me think I've been taking the survey just to get a "you do not quilify" note!


24 Angie May 28, 2010 at 10:47 am

Although it's not cash money my two favorite sites are harrispollsonline and e-rewards. Harris polls you earn points for prizes and e-rewards you earn dollars which get transferred to your upromise account which in turn is applied to college/student loans!


25 Denise May 28, 2010 at 10:50 am

I've only done Pinecone. I got one check in the mail, and then, recently opted to get my $3 via PayPal. My pay-pal account shows 5 payments since April 28. So, $15 total in about month. My plan is to use it to pay for my newspaper with it. You have to wait for them to send you a survey, so there's not really a way to maximize your savings. You're not going to get rich!! (each survey takes me about 10 minutes)


26 Michelle May 28, 2010 at 11:12 am

My favorite is (NFO) they have great prizes with your reward points and I used to work there!!!


27 Olivia May 28, 2010 at 11:17 am

I am a big fan of Lightspeed. I get accepted for about half of the surveys and usually get about 150 points per 20 minute survey (most usually don't even take that long). 550 points is a $5 Amazon gift card.

I used to love Pinecone, but then I stopped doing the surveys for a while and got dropped from the program.


28 Shelly :) May 28, 2010 at 11:21 am

I only have experience with Lightspeed. I actually qualified for their beverage study and they sent me a palm pilot to record everything I drank for 2 weeks. They sent me a $10 VISA G/C upfront and another $50 at the end (I think those were the amounts). It was really easy and kind of fun. :)

It's really random though because I'll get a ton of surveys all at once then go a couple of weeks with out seeing any. I haven't tried to redeem points yet, so I can't speak to that process.


29 Ashley May 28, 2010 at 11:30 am

Pinecone is definitely the best I've experienced and while it isn't a lot of money, they do pay very quickly. Opinion Outpost is maddening -they bombard you with e-mail survey opportuntities yet once you invest the time and start the survey, you very rarely meet the criteria.


30 Abbygail May 28, 2010 at 12:05 pm

My TOP 3 (and one more) I have been with them for about 8 years and a good variety of surveys and pay cash.
Pinecone- I've only been with them for about 6 months, but they pay $3 paypal for every survey and I get at least one survey a week.
Valued Opinions- I've been with them for about 2 years and they have lots of opportunites for me to qualify and they pay in Visa GCs.
Mindfield- It's ok and I've been with them for about 2 years. I don't qualify for many surveys that I get emails for, but they do pay cash.

I have tried almost every survey company out there and the worst are Greenfield Online (or whatever they changed their name to) and Opinion Outpost. I got about 20 emails a day, but NEVER qualified for the surveys- sometimes after making it half way through. BIG waste of time. I am lucky enough to work at a job where I have time to do them. I recently cashed in my points and got about $145 worth of cash/ gc. It's not a lot, but 3 weeks of groceries means I have more $ to pay on my debt snowball.


31 Abbygail May 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I forgot to mention Lightspeed. I have been with them for about 8 years and while I don't qualify for a lot of surveys, I make about $100/ year with them.


32 Abbygail May 28, 2010 at 12:20 pm

And I get a lot of product trial opportunities from mysurvey. 2 packages of wipes, a pack of pampers, Pantene, Propel water


33 brenda May 28, 2010 at 12:23 pm

My new favorite is Ipsos/Isay. My friends had a horrible time with it in the past but they recently revamped their whole program. Now it seems like the points add up super fast. I got a $30 american express gift card in just three months and am well on my way to another.
Synovate/global opinion panel I get good product trials from. Lots of food, personal care etc. I trade in my points for a $25 check once or twice a year.
Zoompanel it seems like it takes for ever to earn points. i would say it takes about a year to earn enough points for a gift worth about $20.


34 cwaltz May 28, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Research 20/20

The compensation for participating if you get chosen for their projects is phenomenal and the projects are FUN. Last year I received $150 in Amazon GCs for participating in a one week forum. The beginning of this year I was asked back and received $100. Participating in the project was a blast and I am looking forward to the day I get to see a product on the shelves I helped put there.


I've only been doing them a short time but so far since February I've had 6 surveys that I have gotten compensated for. The surveys are short and the prequal reasonable.


This survey site is specifically for people with kids 6-18(It's a Nick survey site). I haven't requested compensation yet but have $40 worth of credit.

Global opinion

Its been slow going but they even compensate you for prequal and the surveys aren't too arduous. I've got $15 worth of compensationso far.


They revamped their site when they merged wth Greenfield so its a bit of a pain to qualify and the payout is $20 which is a bit high. However, the site itself has quickpolls wch earn you ponts. I've got $20 worth of credit and am working towards $40.

I also do Swagbucks and Mypoints which aren't survey sites but definitely help supplement things.


35 cwaltz May 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I forgot to mention Epoll-I've managed to get $10 worth of credit there over 5 months. Definitely not a huge moneymaker but the surveys are super easy.


36 Chelsea May 28, 2010 at 12:31 pm

My two faves are Survey Savvy (They typically send 1-4 a month and are worth $1-$4 on average, as well they offer a lot of surveys in which you get to test product and receive paid surveys after trying the products) and Opinion Square you collect points at about 200 points a survey. If you don't qualify though you usually get a "token" to play a game and spin for points. They add up quickly and they have a huge catalog of rewards to save up for. I'm saving for a dooney and burke purse!


37 Chelsea May 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I love Panel Polls, Opinion Square and my fave is Survey Savvy. Survey Savvy is great, not a lot of emails and they are worth from $1-$4 usually and a lot of times I do product trials that come with surveys at the end. As well American Consumer Opinion.


38 Corrie @ "Cents"able Momma May 28, 2010 at 1:19 pm

My favorite site is definitely Pinecone Research Panel. But there are a lot of other ones that I enjoy too. HCD Survey doesn't pay a lot, but they have fun surveys related to current events. I've gotten a lot of trial products through My Survey and some through Valued Opinions.


39 Marissa May 28, 2010 at 1:34 pm

MySurvey, Opinion Outpost, Lightspeed and Valued Opinions are my favorites. These sites have gotten me the most GC's and checks. I have been doing survey sites for about two years. My goal is to pay for Christmas with the monies and GC's. I figured that the survey sites paid for 80% for Christmas last year. These are not going to get you rich but the extras really do help out!


40 Tina Swift May 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm

The only one I have done consistently is Pinecone and I can not say enough nice things about them!!! They pay you quickly and I have also done a fun product test!!!! LOVE THEM!!!:)


41 Jill May 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I definitely like Valued Opinions and Lightspeed Panel the best. Lightspeed pays in points, but they add up really fast and you can get gift cards. Valued opinions pays cash, and the rewards are fair considering the time requirement.


42 Liz May 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm

I have only done couple survery and clicked on few emails and already earned $7.5 in a week! They send check when you reach $30... So, we'll see!

Panda Research is another good one!

If you don't utilize Swagbucks you are missing out!!


43 Lori L May 28, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I must agree with a lot of fellow savers: Pinecone Research. The check is always in my mailbox in two days. It's not much, but every little bit counts.


44 krystal May 28, 2010 at 2:17 pm

i like a site called, you have to be sent an email to even get into the program, and its a little difficult to earn the points, but i have been lucky enough to qualify for several of them and we got a $50 gc to gamestop, you can pick from a few places to get gc's. we got an xbox hard drive w/ ours so it was way worth it to us, i also am apart of isosay, i get lots of surveys but rarly get in to them, and its nat a lot of points... would love to try pinecone if they open it back up soon!


45 Katherine May 28, 2010 at 2:19 pm

My favorite is Lightspeed. I've gotten quite a few $5 Amazon gift cards from them, and I qualified for a snack study last fall that got me a $10 prepaid Visa for agreeing to do it and a $50 prepaid Visa once I completed it and sent back the pda they gave me to record everything.

My other favorite is Opinion Outpost - it seems to not take very long to have enough to cash out a $5 Amazon gift card with them either.

I do surveys about once a week or so, and I usually get an Amazon card at least once a month from one of them.


46 Kaycee May 28, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I loooove Pinecone Research! And now that they let it go to Paypal I have been doing that and saving it up. It adds up quick!!


47 Kaycee May 28, 2010 at 2:58 pm

I forgot to say - I am a bit annoyed with Opinion Outpost though. I keep answering LOTS of questions and then not qualifying so I dont' get any points. And it keeps spiraling back to the initial questions on surveys instead of letting me in lately. I have not saved up enough for anything yet and I spend a lot of time answering their questions. I may not do it anymore.


48 Laura May 28, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I haven't tried Pinecone, but I think I will after reading some of these responses!

I use Surveyhead, but have recently been frustrated with it because a) you have to spend about 2 minutes answering a bunch of screening questions when you may not qualify for the survey; b) you can't cash out until you reach $30; and c) it took over a month for my last cash out to hit my PayPal account. I'll still continue with it when I'm bored and need something to do.

I joined e-Miles recently to earn airline miles by taking surveys. I usually get about 15 miles per week for ~2 mins of clicking on advertisements, which means it would take about 7-8 years to earn enough miles (40,000) for a free ticket. e-Miles can also be used with Continental Airlines, US Airways, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines or Hilton HHonors rewards programs... those might have quicker returns depending on their mileage requirement to earn a ticket or reward.


49 PollyS May 28, 2010 at 4:39 pm

I gave up on survey sites a long time ago. I would spend time answering questions, only to be told I didn't qualify, therefore not getting paid for my time. It was frustrating to say the least. I found out I am not the typical mom. I was quickly approaching 40, I am not brand loyal, didn't/don't buy a lot of baby gear and wasn't their target surveyer.
I'm very loyal to I have been a member for almost 8 years and love it.


50 Jen May 28, 2010 at 7:25 pm

In my experience Pinecone Research is the best. While you won't get rich on $3/survey, They do offer quick and easy surveys to complete and pay promptly. It is a very straightforward process. I highly recommend them. I've seen several recent opportunities to join and have received a couple of requests to refer interested friends and family.


51 Raelyn May 28, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I LOVE Pinecone!
Like everyone else has is 3$ a survey...but it is to you almost immediately. I get roughly a survey a week. There have been a couple product reviews. It has been fun. Just a little extra money...pays for coffee. :)
Toluna is another that I have done. They are OK...lots of emails, not a lot of accepted survey opportunities though. It is a point system, which I haven't yet cashed out on. I haven't spent a lot of time with them, except for their ontro surveys....which it seems like they repeat over and over. Makes you wonder why they can't remember any of your info...AS IF it changes often.


52 stephanie May 28, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I'm new to Pinecone and I like it. I get my $3 by PayPal right away. Very nice.

I make about $10 from Lightspeed and a $5 Amazon GC from Opinion Outpost every month. It takes me 3-4 months to make the $20 needed to cash out at FocusOnline/ Surveyhead [they are sister survey sites] but the do pay to PayPal. Synovate has been fun because I've gotten to test some interesting products even if it takes longer for the points to add up.

I do MyPoints a well and it takes me 3-4 months to have enough to get a$10-$15 GC but usually I use it for seasonal clothing changes for the kids so it's always timely. HCD Surveys is fun too and since they are current event surveys there is sometimes video involved. It can be fun. Oh, and you can 'unoffically' vote for American Idol:)


53 Telisa Griffin May 28, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Those of you who are looking to join Pinecone Research here is a link for you to join. I got an email from them with this link.


54 Martha McGhee May 29, 2010 at 3:53 am

I like Pinecone the best & Opinion Outpost after that.


55 CJ May 29, 2010 at 8:25 am

I get 2-3 surveys a month from Pinecone, have made $30 so far. The surveys are easy and checks come fast. It's interesting to see a new product in the store just a few weeks after I do the survey on the same product!


56 Michelle May 29, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I'm on mysurvey and lightspeed. I prefer mysurvey. There are fewer surveys but they're quick and easy to do. With lightspeed, I often don't qualify or I get most of the way through and have some kind of technical difficulty and have wasted my time - no points and you can't go back and redo it or start over even if it's their fault there was a glitch. Their surveys seem more repetitive too. Every once in a while I get one that really drives me nuts by asking something like "if this toilet paper were a person, would you describe it as outgoing or shy? etc. WTH?! It's toilet paper! lol I've tried to get on with pinecone, but haven't be able to yet. I use swagbucks too.


57 Sheryl May 29, 2010 at 4:36 pm

These are my faves ranked in order:

1. Valued Opinions - Pays you via $20 GC of your choice (from a list on their site). They also have a prepaid Visa GC. I have got 4 $20 GC since this time last year!

2. Global Opinion panels/ Synovate research - pays you in points and you cash out in $5.00 intervals ($5 = 500 pts, $10 = 1000 pts, and so on). Points vary by length of survey (5 min survey may earn you 150 pts, 30 min survey, 750, etc) They also give you 50-100 points even if you don't qualify for a survey. I usually cash out $5 every 1-2 months.

3. - They do the points as well with the minimum cashout being a $10 charity donation of your choice for 1000 pts. A $10 Paypal payment is 1100 pts. They recently added a whole slew of various GC and other items for you to cash out with. I have been paid a few times by them, but for me this has been a very slow earner.

Also, I have recieved several products to try out for a few days and answer follow-up surveys on - including jumbo-size packs of diapers, wipes, paper towels, tp, food, etc.


58 *mindi* May 29, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I like Pinecone, especially now that they send my money instantly to paypal.

Has anybody tried You enter your paypal e-mail address, and can qualify for at least 1 survey a day. They put the money into your paypal account weekly, usually on Mondays. I've gotten about $10 in my paypal account in the past two weeks. I'm surprised nobody's mentioned them on this thread yet?! :)

I do Surveyhead, Toluna, Opinion Outpost, InboxDollars, etc., but no feedback about them yet, as I've not tried to cash out yet. We'll see.


59 Fawn May 30, 2010 at 1:06 am

My two favorites are American Consumer Opinion and Pinecone. I have also tried MySurvey and Opinion Outpost, but I got kicked out of more surveys half way through for not meeting the "requirements" than I was allowed to complete with both of these companies. A big waste of time with no compensation. I am also a member of The Juicy Bunch, which is a focus group specifically for Juicy Juice, and they have nice compensation for completing activities/polls.


60 jessica stewart May 30, 2010 at 1:49 am

I just looked up Pinecone Research after reading this post and the panel is open. I was able to sign up. Yay!


61 Carol June 1, 2010 at 5:08 am

I haven't found one I really like. I get tired having to commit to something that not wrong with me, something I don't care about or something I don't like to get .5 oz sample of shampoo--or end up with 50 different spam emails everyday.

I would really appreciate if you would post a great list of survey sites that actually won't waist my time.


62 Anna August 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I'm a member with most of the sites that are being talked about in the comments and they're all great! You should look into them!


63 David June 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm

I like PineCone, they do pay fast, but I guess I don't qualify for many surveys, it get about 2 every 3 months.

Opinion Outpost has been paying me about $50 per month, but slow as death.


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