Working from the comfort of your couch, sofa, bed or whatever you prefer isn’t a rarity these days. You probably know at least a few people who make for a comfortable living that way. Yours truly included! But while my job is very particular, there are many online gigs that nearly anyone can do. Ask Wonder is one of countless panels that recruit freelancers from all over the world. And they do it for various research projects.
But the fact that a company does something doesn’t mean it they’re good at it. So let’s see how this panel works, who can use it to earn, and what you can hope for.
Before we dive in, let’s make one thing clear. The panel’s official name isn’t Ask Wonder, but Wonder only. However, many people call it Ask Wonder because of their domain name. And that’s what we’re going to call it too, to avoid any confusions.
Who Can Join and How?
We mentioned researchers in the title because that’s the most common way people earn via Ask Wonder. However, they aren’t limited to the STEM-related fields. When you complete the registration form, you will see two options:
- Become a sourcer. According to their description, it mainly involves various creative tasks. To qualify for this position, you should have experience in copywriting or market research. Beyond high school, no other formal education is required. For this, you stand to earn in between $5 and $8 per hour on average.
- Become a researcher. I’ll say just one word: Boolean. If you don’t know what it means and have to Google it (like I did), this is probably not an option for you. Apart from a Bachelor’s or higher degree (from STEM fields, I assume), they require you to have strong math skills. And yes, Boolean search skills. Naturally, the pay is higher, averaging at $15 to $18 per hour. Sounds like a really good deal so far!
Being an absolute idiot in anything STEM-related, I went with the first option. It sounds close to what I’m already doing for a living, after all.
And bam! The empty white screen glaring at me, with a single entry reading “This typeform is now closed.” What does it mean? If they are no longer accepting new applicants, why haven’t they removed the option altogether?
Anyhow, I was left with the option to become a researcher.
How Does It Work?
As part of the next step, I was presented with a quick survey. To attract me more, they promised a $50 bonus that I would receive as soon as I’m done with my first job. Sounds great so far!
The survey first asked me my name, address, and country of residence. They accept members from all countries and most US states – except for California, Massachusetts, and New York. Further questions include education level, LinkedIn profile (if you have one), resume, a short professional summary. There were some interesting questions too. For example, to type in a few topics that you would ace at a dinner table.
You will also need to upload a sample of your writing. It doesn’t have to be long – just one or two pages, to showcase your writing style.
This survey didn’t take more than a few minutes to complete. After another few minutes, I got an email inviting me to proceed with the second stage. Hooray!
Now, I was to answer 20 multiple choice questions. Some of them were simple and concerned grammar and spelling, while others required logical thinking. Alas, I failed this part. It seems my logical skills just weren’t enough. (Okay, maybe I should start to worry!) The notification said that they are accepting less than 1% of all the applicants.
What to Hope for if You Get Accepted?
For this section, I had to rely on user accounts that I could find online.
It seems that the more active you are, the more tasks you are likely to get. To stay in line with the requirements, you should take at least one question per week. If they deem you inactive, they will just dump you into their list of inactive users who even get different emails and offers from the active ones.
What type of questions or research assignments can you expect?
Since anyone (including you or me) can ask for research on a specific topic as a client, it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact type of questions. The examples they cited include, for example, building a list of biotech companies and their M&A deals. In another case, the client needed an exact number (or percentage) of people with incomes of over $150,000 can’t buy a house because they can’t pay the down payment. As you can see, these questions probably require hours of research. And that’s if you’re versatile and fast!
But will that make it worth your while? It boils down on how fast you are. The more research projects you engage in, the faster you’re going to become. But therein resides a problem common with get-paid-to panels. In their FAQ document, they claim that a researcher can earn up to $15-25 per hour. That’s an average rate, since they pay per project and not per hour. In reality, most people will probably end up making significantly less. These rates are pretty arbitrary, so it’s best not to take them as a rule carved in stone.
If you need help with the task at hand, you can always ask your fellow researchers, who will be available via Slack.
- The pay rate is very high in comparison with other GPT sites – at least in theory. But even if you manage to make less than $15-25 per hour, it should still be much better than with, say, survey panels.
- The panel is sleek and intuitive. In a perfect world, this should be a must for every get-paid-to panel out there. But you would be surprised how rare it actually is. They say that looks aren’t everything, and they’re right. But in the online world, paying attention to a website’s design means caring about its users.
- The tasks are interesting and thought-provoking, which can’t be said for most other get-paid-to panels. Furthermore, they will help you to really develop your research skills. And that is always a huge plus!
- They even offer internships to students, which could be a nice way to kickstart a career. I don’t know how much their certification is worth, but it still counts as work experience. In any case, it’s better than an empty resume!
- Available worldwide, save for three US countries. If you are in one of them, it’s a pity!
- Their selection process is pretty rigorous. Sure, it’s a research panel that aims to recruit only people who are an exact match. But less than 1% of all applicants still sounds a bit harsh.
- A few revisions followed by ban? Take a look at this user’s experience on Reddit. If it was 100% incorrect or unfair, would the director of research at Ask Wonder reply? It’s not even a problem that they asked the user for multiple revisions. After all, they specified in the guidelines that they would do that sometimes, especially with rookies. But the problem is that they didn’t provide any constructive feedback and, after a few days, just suspended that user’s account.
- For whatever reason, the panel won’t accept users from Massachusetts, California, and New York. It doesn’t beat the fact that it’s available worldwide. But why only exclude people from these three states?
- They don’t seem to accept sourcers any longer, but the option is still there. Did they just forget to remove it? Or maybe they plan on reviving it some time in the future.
- No referral program. They do encourage people to share the panel with their friends, but there’s no incentive.
Conclusion – Does Ask Wonder Qualify for Your Next Side Gig?
With these things, it’s often difficult to say an enthusiastic Yes or a resolute No. At first glance, the panel seems like a decent place to earn some additional cash AND have fun while doing it.
But if my experience has taught me anything, it’s that you should never rely on GPT panels to replace your day job. Judging by some user reports, this one is no different. So, if you do decide to give it a shot, get ready for some frustration. Maybe you’ll manage to deal with the issues. It’s also possible that there will be none, or that the panel got better in the meantime. But if not, you can always jump ship and try another GPT panel. After all, there are thousands!