Editors notes: EarningStation was shut down in 2019. Their new site is called Opinion Outpost, check out their site here.
Before you get started reading this review do bear in mind that we have a top 5 list above which we totally recommend checking out! After reviewing so many options we chose the above 5 as the winners overall.
EarningStation was founded in 2011 by Matt Hynes. In 2014 it was acquired by a company called Critical Mix. Before we go into any detail about the site, it is important to mention that the site permanently shut down on July 1, 2019, but more on that later on. Matt Hynes continued to run the company until it closed.
EarningStation was a get-paid-to site, sometimes referred to as a market research company. These companies pay their members to participate in a number of activities in order to collect data about consumer behavior. In this review, we will refer to get-paid-to sites also known as GPT.
What Activities Did EarningStation Pay their Members to Complete?
Joining a GPT site is often a great way of making some extra cash from home. Unless you are on the sites 24/7, you won’t be able to quit your day job, but they are ideal ways of making some pocket cash.
Below are the paid activities that EarningStation paid their customers to complete:
EarningStation would pay you for every friend you referred to their site. You would actually earn 10% of everything your friend earned on the site. Exclusions applied and these were bonus codes, sweepstakes wins, and account adjustments.
Sites that have a referral program are generally very popular as over time you can make a decent wage without doing a single thing. Referral programs are controversial and seen by some as a pyramid scheme.
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2. Watching Videos
The videos that were available on this site were actually quite interesting. Videos about what is going on in the world, music videos, entertainment, and general gossip all merited rewards.
If you are wondering why they would pay you for doing something that you would usually do in your spare time, then the answer is all in the ads. There were lots of ads before, after, and in the middle of the videos and that was what’s important to the site, not the video itself.
You would have been paid for every 10 videos you watch through the site, so you can imagine it wasn’t a very high earner. There was also a daily video that had a rather high pay threshold (well, kind of).
3. Online Shopping
GTP sites aren’t going to pay you for doing your online shopping anywhere you like, but they do have a long list of participating retailers for you to choose from. EarningStation offered cash back for shopping through the link on their website. Retail therapy at a discount, not bad hey!
A lot of advertisers worked in conjunction with EarningStation, they had a large pool of offers on EarningStation’s site for members to complete. These offers included things like trying out new services, testing products, and odd-jobs.
Payment was usually made within 48 hours of completing the offer which made this particular task very popular indeed. Some products had a long trial period, for these products payment would take a little longer.
5. Completing Online Surveys
Online surveys are one of the most popular ways to make ‘easy money’. As you probably have found out for yourselves, money is never actually ‘easy’ to earn. EarningStation did, however, have plenty of surveys available on their site and often updated the list of the available survey. Like most surveys and GPT sites, EarningStation used a points reward system for their surveys.
If instead of winding down with a glass of wine and an interesting Netflix series you flicked through EarningStation and completed tasks, you could have earned yourself roughly $30 per week. They paid rather well, surveys would have made you anything from $0.50 to $2.50 for a completed survey.
All of these activities are standard for get-paid-to sites and EarningStation appears to have paid the going rate for completed activities.
A Deep Dive into EarningStation
Now that we know what tasks members could get paid for, let’s look at the site in a bit more detail.
When and How Did EarningStation Pay Their Participants?
EarningStation had a points scheme, these points were called StationDollars. 1,000 StationDollars were only equivalent to $1 and members could only redeem their earnings once they had earned 10,000 StationDolars.
As you can imagine, it would take participants a long time to earn enough points to redeem, and once they had enough points, they couldn’t exchange them for cash. EarningStation only paid participants in prepaid gift cards or via PayPal, but as you can imagine, a $10 PayPal balance is not worth transferring to your bank account.
Why Did EarningStation Shut Down?
EarningStation shut down in the summer of 2019. They notified their members that their new community is Opinion Outposts.
In their email, they stated that from the 30th of June, members won’t be able to redeem rewards or complete surveys through their site. The email goes on to say EarningStation members have qualified for an invite to their new company and that it has many of the same features as their beloved EarningStations site. Take a look at a snippet from the official email to see what Opinion Outposts offers their members:
‘By signing up today, you’ll still get to enjoy:
Diverse ways to earn (including testing prototype products) fantastic rewards like Amazon, iTunes & PayPal Surveys on topics that matter to you.
Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of studies designed for your phone. It’s never been easier to earn rewards from the palm of your hand.
Join thousands of happy members at Opinion Outpost in just 2 simple steps today.
Thank you for being a member of EarningStation. The EarningStation Team’
Hmm, feels a little strange right?
Now let’s take a look at Opinion Outposts. This company claims to have over 2 million happy members. They are a GPT site that focuses heavily on online surveys.
Joining their site is easy and can be done in two steps by entering some basic details or joining via Google or Facebook. They have 9 rewards redemption options and even have a prepaid Visa card option.
Who Is it For?
EarningStation was for anyone looking to fill up their spare time with something positive and constructive. Let’s face it, you weren’t going to make a lot of money on the site, but their tasks were interesting and quick to complete.
This was an ideal site to join if you wanted to stop flicking through your phone at pointless content and start making money for surfing the web and expressing your thoughts and feelings about particular subjects.
Busy professionals could have participated in the site due to how short and snappy the activities were on the site, so even busy people could do it without it feeling like a chore. It wasn’t an appropriate way to earn for someone looking for a full-time job, or for anyone expecting to earn more than their weekly train fare.
What We Liked About EarningStation
EarningStation had a very easy to follow points system. Usually, points systems are frustrating and it’s hard to figure out how much money you have actually made. For every 1,000 EarningStation points, you made $1, that is a very easy sum to figure out. We also liked the variety of tasks available on the site. It never got boring using EarningStation as there was so much option to choose from
What We Didn’t Like About EarningStation
We didn’t like how little they paid. It often took a very long time to collect enough points for redemption. Think about how many surveys you have to take just to earn enough to redeem your money.
Their minimum of $10 (10,000 points) redemption threshold was frustrating and discouraging. This made EarningStation feel more like a fun hobby and less of a way to make money.
- Easy to navigate website
- An easy to understand point system
- Lots of paid tasks available on the site
- Great referral program.
- They didn’t pay much for completed tasks
- Would take a while to earn enough points to redeem
- The site was only open to US residents over the age of 18
We want to touch upon some of the complaints users had about the site. Maybe this will help us understand why they shut down, as well as seeing if Opinion Outposts is any better.
1. Surveys are Not Guaranteed
In EarningStation’s defense, surveys are never guaranteed to anyone, regardless of the site or topic. Surveys are very specific and look for very particular participants to help improve services and products for a target market.
2. Videos Were Slow
Videos would keep pausing and didn’t load, so what that meant was a 3-minute video took 10 minutes to play from beginning to end. Furthermore, you would only be paid for every 10 videos you watched and we are sure no one wants to spend 100 minutes on a task that earned them a dollar or two.
3. Credit Approval Process Took a Long Time
Some credits needed approval or verification. Take Groupon purchases, for example, they would take up to 45 days to be visible in your account.
4. Losing Points
If you didn’t participate in any activities on the site within a 90-day window, you would lose the points you made.
5. StationDollars Would Expire
Not only were the points forfeited, the StationDollars would expire too. They needed to have been redeemed within 12 months before losing them completely.
6. ‘Free’ Offers Weren’t Always Free
A vast amount of the free offers would ask for your credit card details, this was a huge cause for concern. Free products shouldn’t require card details at all.
How Were You Rewarded?
Every new member would get a $5 sign-up bonus. That is some incentive considering how little money you earned using the site. This was a huge incentive for budding panelists and drew a lot of new members to the site.
Members were also given 5.5% cashback every time they made a purchase through EarningStation links. That is a great incentive to do a spot of retail therapy.
Overview of Bonuses
As we mentioned earlier, EarningStation bonuses were not that great. Members could enter sweepstakes and competitions now and then, but the prices weren’t anything to write home about.
Overall, EarningStation seemed like a very average site to us. They weren’t a terrible site to be a member of by any stretch of the imagination, but they didn’t shine in comparison to other GPT sites.
Their points system was misleading and users found themselves shocked at how little money they earned when transferred from StationDollars to real US dollars. The site also didn’t make it completely clear to its users about the different conditions that were covered under its points forfeiture policy.
We believe that Opinion Outputs improved a lot of the working conditions from what EarningStation offered. Opinion Outputs is a legitimate and trustworthy site to join. EarningStation would not have been our first choice of GPT sites to choose from, what do you think about the site and what you have learned?
Identifying Scamming Get-Paid-To Sites
For future reference, we would like to help you identify the legitimate sites and be able to distinguish them from scamming sites. Here is what to look out for:
2. Sign Up Fee
Survey sites and GPT sites should be paying you to join, not the other way around! If you fall into a trap of paying a survey site to become a member, you will most likely discover that the site isn’t active and doesn’t have any paid tasks for completion only after you have paid.
This can be an issue for a number of reasons. First, you would have lost money by paying a membership fee for a non-existent company. Secondly, paying online isn’t safe on unprotected sites.
3. Contact Email or Phone Number
Legitimate sites will have a customer contact number or email address. If the site you wish to join doesn’t or has one that isn’t in use, avoid the site at any cost. The site might be real, but if you have no way of contacting management if there is a problem then you will not be impressed.
4. Impersonating Companies
Scammers are very smart, they often impersonate as a legitimate and running company to lure you into their trap. These usually show up in your email inbox and claim to be sponsored by a legitimate survey aggregate. This is something that happens all too often.
Take SurveyMonkey for example, scammers sent hundreds of people emails claiming to be sponsored by SurveyMonkey, only for the clients to discover too late that it was all a scam.
Because of this incident, SurveyMonkey, and other major survey sites have a warning on their site. So please be careful who you give your information to.