(Updated April 2018)
Life is expensive and it seems that prices continue to rise while our pay often does not. This is why so many people are looking for side jobs and the internet as a way to earn a bit of extra money in addition to their regular job. A lot of us don’t have the ability to get a second job—maybe we have kids or other time constraints—but this doesn’t mean that we are out of luck when it comes to earning some extra spending money.
There is a wide range of opportunities to earn rewards and money online for participating in a variety of activities, from small tasks on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, or taking surveys for money. These are legitimate activities that, while they won’t make you rich, can definitely help you pad your income by using a bit of your free time participating in surveys, focus groups, or other activities.
It should be noted that this is an area of the internet that is rife with false promises, scams, data mining software, and more. That is why it helps to go into this potential money making endeavor with your eyes wide open so you know what to expect and what to watch out for.
This will allow you to find legitimate opportunities online that actually give you rewards for your participation and don’t waste your time. Knowing what to look for will help you avoid falling prey to a scam or something that seems too good to be true.
This is not said to discourage you from participating in these opportunities, but rather, giving you the information you need to discern the real opportunities from the garbage. What follows is a brief guide on things to watch out for and keep in mind when looking into potential sites to participate with online. Then, we will briefly review Darwin’s Data, which is a popular and reputable site that allows you to earn rewards for taking surveys.
Things to keep in mind when looking at paid review sites
So far, you might be reconsidering as to whether or not it even makes sense to participate in paid surveys. Of course, there are going to be people looking to take advantage and get information for free, but this is true in pretty much every area of business. However, this is a legitimate way to earn some extra cash or gift cards that can be spent on things that you want or need. You just need to have reasonable expectations and be armed with a few pieces of information that will help you determine whether or not something is legitimate.
Let’s first talk about reasonable expectations. There are tons of sites with bright banners that scream about making thousands of dollars by simply existing on the internet, and while it is natural to wish that there were opportunities like this, they just don’t exist. It doesn’t even make sense as a business model to provide lots of money to people for doing nothing or even answering survey questions. Yes, your information is valuable, and a lot of places are willing to pay for your data and opinions, but you are not going to become rich filling out surveys in your spare time.
There are tons of hyped sites that boast that someone was able to quit their job and earn more than they ever have before by simply answering a few surveys. Technically, this is possible, but what is not often specified is just how rare it is to be able to do this, as well as just how much work you actually would have to put in to be able to make a living this way. It certainly isn’t something you will be able to do participating in surveys on one or two sites in your free time. You would need to piece together tons of different types of little gigs and spend a very large amount of time taking surveys, doing small tasks, etc., in order to earn anything close to a living. And websites shut down all the time, making this a very precarious thing to rely on for your well-being.
This doesn’t mean you don’t earn anything. A lot of people make enough money to supplement their income, use as spending money, to help buy textbooks, and lots of other things. These are reasonable expectations of what you can achieve taking online surveys.
Don’t fall prey to paid membership sites. Just like the regular job world, you should never have to pay for the “pleasure” of working. Any site that asks for a monthly membership fee or even a one-time fee is likely to be a scam. There are plenty of reputable places online that will pay or reward you for your participation that do not require any financial contribution. Most of these sites are scams and those that do point you toward paid survey opportunities are often pointing to sites that you can sign up for free.
How you are rewarded will vary widely depending on what company or firm you are providing information to. Some market research firms and other data collection sources will pay you in gift cards or you will earn points, which can be exchanged for gift cards or actual products. Other sites will pay you in cash, either by way of something like Pay Pal or Bitcoin, check by mail, or even direct deposit into your bank account. It is important that you understand how you are rewarded and what your rewards can be used for so you don’t get any unpleasant surprises when you go to redeem your rewards.
Pretty much all sites have some sort of minimum that you must reach before you can redeem your points or withdraw money. It will vary depending on the site you are using. A lot of places will require that you have earned $50 before you can actually access your rewards or funds. There are sites that do not have any minimum for redeeming your rewards, but it is pretty rare for this to be the case.
There are a few sites that do not require you to give identifying personal information about yourself, like your real name or address, in order to participate. These sites are few and far between, but they do exist, so if you are someone who doesn’t want to give your personal information out for any reason, there are still places you can earn rewards by sharing your opinions, talking about your buying habits, participating in polls, and so on.
To use Darwin’s Data, you will need to register for an account on the site. This will help them to determine what kinds of surveys to send to you. Your information is safe and secure, and their site utilizes the latest security technology to ensure that your personal information stays private.
Once you have set up an account or profile, you can begin to take surveys. Since the set up process does take a little while, you get a $10 gift card just for signing up. You will earn a $25 gift card for each survey that you successfully complete.
You are rewarded using Tango cards. These are gift cards that can be used at a range of popular retailers like iTunes, Amazon, Target, and more. This means that you get really valuable gift cards that can be used to purchase fun items or even everyday things you need for your home.
Sites like Darwin’s Data are a safe and secure way to earn rewards by sharing your opinion or expertise that can be exchanged for gift cards that you can use to buy the things you want or need from a wide range of different retailers. Sites like this allow you to leverage your opinion. Businesses want to know how to better reach their target audience and to expand their customer base and are willing to reward people who take the time to answer surveys, provide demographic information, or to detail their shopping habits.
There are tons of legitimate ways to earn rewards or money by sharing your opinion online and it can be a fun way to earn extra cash. However, there are people out there who don’t have a problem taking advantage of people or scamming them out of their personal information. This is why it helps to know what to look for to ensure that you are working with a site that you can trust with your information and be assured is actually going to reward you for your time. Whether you choose to participate in research efforts on Darwin’s Data or use this guide to look for something that is more up your alley, you are now armed with the information you need to earn some extra money in your free time.