On their website, Ipsos I-Say says that they are ‘an online survey and rewards community dedicated to giving you a voice’. That is what they say, but do their actions back these claims up? Disgruntled members and unimpressed reviewers the web over suggest that the site is going downhill, many leveling complaints at practices they consider to be underhanded and, what’s more, intentional. The fact that these claims even exist is surprising considering Ipsos I-Say has nothing if not pedigree. Founded in 1975, Ipsos is a leading global market research company, conducting seventy million interviews a year for more than five thousand clients in more than one hundred countries. Those are big numbers, numbers that make Ipsos the third largest survey-based research firm in the world in 2016. So which is it? Is Ipsos I-Say a scam, or is it legit? Check out our investigation below.
The site looks good – a clean and minimalist affair that does not try to bombard you with countless trial downloads or offers. The interface clearly displays how many points you will get for completing a survey and approximately how long a survey will take. The surveys are clear and professionally written, and are fairly diverse in terms of content, covering everything from brand advertising to popular entertainment. There is an app available for Ipsos I-Say but strangely you have to be invited to particular surveys in order to download and use it. This does not make much sense considering the demand for all things mobile among modern survey-takers. The good news is that the website itself is mobile optimized and displays correctly on smartphones.
Glitches and Bugs
The site may be aesthetically pleasing, but it can be very slow as the result of shoddy programming. When completing our third survey we were asked to complete the same field multiple times, and after waiting minutes for the page to load we were told respondents were no longer needed. This had nothing to do with our internet connection. The site may tell you how much a survey will earn you and how long it will take, but this can change as you are completing the survey. We were quoted an initial time frame of 20 minutes and a reward of 80 points. After spending roughly half that time answering questions, we were quoted half as many points as before. When we answered another question, we were quoted an extra five minutes and the 80 points we were initially offered. These questions were revealed to not even be part of the survey – only after fifteen minutes of answering qualifying questions were we permitted to start the survey. What on earth is going on?
Setting up an Account
In spite of this odd experience, it was fairly easy to set up an account on Ipsos I-Say. You just answer a few qualifying questions to determine your demographic and then click a link in your confirmation email to activate your account. Once you are set up and logged in, you can complete surveys in return for points. Ipsos I-Say focuses exclusively on surveys and does not offer product trials or free offers. It is robust, but it does not have any major advantages over any other paid survey sites.
Surveys, Points and Referrals
One dollar is equivalent to 100 points, but they also have a loyalty program where you can earn more points per survey the more you complete. If you complete five surveys, you get twenty five points. If you complete ten surveys, you get fifty points, and so on. In our experience, your Ipsos I-Say account is credited just a few minutes after you complete a survey and debited almost immediately after you redeem points. Surveys can pay anywhere between 10 and 100 points, with some members getting invited to a scant four surveys per month. There are more surveys available on the site, but some users have noted that these are not updated regularly.
This can be an insurmountable obstacle to earning on Ipsos I-Say if your inbox is not bursting with survey invitations. Their reward scheme alleviates this slightly, rewarding the most loyal panelists with a bonus every time they reach a higher threshold in the tier system. You can find a full breakdown of the scheme on their website. The only downside to this is that these extra points are only credited to your account two weeks after you earn them. You can also earn points through referrals, but you can only refer people if you know your email address. It is a poor system, but it is available.
Draws and Polls
Ipsos I-Say also hosts draws, for example the click draw; every four months ten random panel members are awarded 10,000 points each. The welcome draw automatically enters new members into a lottery. The prizes are usually only gift cards but these are worth $120 each, with a substantial thirty winners every four months. Not bad just for joining.
The site also features polls, but these do not earn you any points unfortunately. Instead, they reward you with extra entries into the aforementioned draws. These questions revolve around guessing how the majority answered different questions. You get more chances based on how close your guess is. The polls can kill a few minutes if you are bored of the surveys but it just shows that there is not much in the way of variety on the website. Ipsos have said that additional methods of earning points may become available on the site, but nothing concrete has emerged. They are being outmatched by sites such as CashCrate in this regard.
Redeeming Your Points
You can redeem your points for cash transferred straight to your PayPal account, but this can take a few weeks. Other survey sites, such as Pinecone Research, can transfer money electronically to your account within a day. Why does it take Ipsos I-Say to conduct a simple transfer? And why does it cost more points to redeem cash than it does to redeem rewards? To transfer $15 to your PayPal account you need to redeem 1530 points, not an expected 1500. This is the lowest payout, an amount that will take a considerable amount of time to accumulate given that most surveys reward you less than a dollar and you only qualify for surveys sparingly. Interestingly enough, the number of points required for PayPal redemption gets lower as you reach higher tiers. To transfer $100 to your PayPal account, you only need to redeem 9600 points. There is unexpected danger in accruing that many points however, as we will explore later in the review.
Whats on Offer
If you are feeling generous, you can also choose to make a donation to a number of different organisations like UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders or Habitat for Humanity. You can also redeem 250 fifty points to be entered into a sweepstakes, but the prizes vary – it could be a travel package or vouchers. You can also redeem for gift cards. There is an impressive selection of stores from which to choose, including Starbucks Amazon and Target. Electronic gift cards are delivered almost instantly, but other rewards can take longer. You are better off opting for these rather than cash. Although they have their limitations, they are worth more than cash.
You would think that ties to such respected retailers would mean that Ipsos I-Say is an equally reputable survey provider but this is simply not the case.
The Fine Print
At first glance, Ipsos I-Say seems like a rewarding and responsible survey site. They are legit, but look closely and you will find that they are legit on their own terms. Their fine print states that in the event of an error, Ipsos reserves the right to make adjustments to a panelist’s account balance or deduct points at their discretion. They claim that your points never expire, but they also reserve the right to close your account if you do not remain an active user. There have been cases of regular users going on holiday only to return and find that their membership has been terminated. In cases such as these, points are forfeited.
These terms allow Ipsos I-Say to treat their customers however they want. The reviews speak for themselves, the site barely clearing two out of five stars on Survey Police. This aggregate comes from nearly three hundred reviews, the overwhelming majority of which are one star. Current and former members of the consumer give all sort of reasons for such a dire review. Some users are tired of completing surveys only to be told at the end that they did not even qualify. Their frustration is compounded by the fact that the extremely sluggish system takes a few minutes to tell you this, and that you only get compensated a miserable five points for being disqualified.
Others are irritated by surveys that ask question after qualifying question before letting them participate in an actual survey, as were we. Another popular survey reviewer found that whenever he gained access to a survey it was frequently longer and more complex that he had been initially quoted. Three times as long, in fact. Not as bad though as finding that your account has not been credited for your work, a situation that many users have found themselves in. A barrage of emails to customer service usually amends this, but it is a lot of work to go to for money you should have been awarded in the first place. When you are trying to complete as many surveys as possible and earn as much money as possible this can quickly get annoying. When you do not qualify for surveys for weeks at a time, it is even worse. Can we blame Ipsos for this? No, but that won’t stop users from abandoning the site.
Then there are the more sinister complaints, complaints that suggest Ipsos mistreats its consumer panel in the name of profit. One user alleged that her account was closer and her points forfeited after she had saved up over 10,000 points, or approximately $100. When she asked why they done this, they reportedly said they did it because they could. This narrative is corroborated by a number of other users, who state that Ipsos I-Say will try and find any reason at all to suspend your account should you ever accumulate a significant amount of points. Others have withdrawn their funds to PayPal only to find that no money was ever deposited into their account, even after their withdrawals has been confirmed on the website.
Bringing this matter to the attention of customer support works at first, but eventually users have found themselves shouting at a wall. Another user reported that they had redeemed a $15 dollar Amazon electronic gift card only to find that they had been given fraudulent information. Ipsos I-Say notified them of their successful redemption but none of the numbers given to them by Ipsos I-Say corresponded with Amazon. They received nothing for their time and opinions. If these stories have merit then it is clear that Ipsos I-Say repeatedly commits flagrant violations of industry standards. There is the occasionally glowing review, but these are painfully anomalous and almost certainly bogus.
It is not hard to see why some users accuse the Ipsos I-Say of being a scam. As one user notes, it does not seem possible given the hundreds of bad reviews that anyone is having a wonderful experience with the site. If the system worked well and the site did not operate so poorly it might be worth your time. Perhaps because they were launched by such a large and established market researcher Ipsos I-Say believes they can operate however they want with no consequences. This is not the case. Even a cursory glance at a forum or message board will repeat what our Ipsos I-Say review has confirmed – that Ipsos I-Say is a survey site to avoid for 2016, a truth that is becoming more and more apparent to its dissatisfied users. Your time would be much better spent on another paid survey site or even a part-time job. We also did comprehensive reviews on Quick Rewards and Send Earnings, and we find both these sites better than Ipsos I-Say.