survey message in a speech balloon

The internet has made a revolution in the job market. Back in 2015, nearly a quarter of U.S. employees reported that they did at least parts of their work remotely, according to the Bureau of Labor. And the numbers are on the rise. A decade ago, the situation would have been quite different. Most people couldn’t even conceive of sitting in their pajamas and making money online. Today, many of them commit either full or part time to making a few more bucks. Chances are you’re one of them. And you’re searching for new paid online survey opportunities as a side gig.

As you are well aware, taking surveys online won’t get you rich. It probably won’t even replace your day job. Furthermore, it could even get you in serious trouble if you’re not careful. The industry is overflown with dishonest players who would just steal your personal information and get away with it. So, if you’re wondering whether Fairfield Research is scam or legit, you’ve come to the right place to check.

I have done a thorough research of their platform and activities, so we can decide together if it’s worth a shot. Let’s see who they are, how the platform works, and whether you should join or just skip.

Company Overview

According to their website, Fairfield Research, Inc. is a market research company established in 1982. Its main goal is measuring the audience and their behavior when it comes to various media – books, magazines, TV, as well as specially designated videos. Until 1989, they conducted their research the traditional way – via phone or mail. Then, they switched to the internet as the main field and methodology, pioneering in the area. The company’s headquarters are in Lincoln, Nebraska, and they are also featured on Bloomberg.

This all sounds very pleasing to the ear. When you click on the “List of Clients” tab, you will see even more impressive info. They report working with Microsoft, NBC, Sony Computer, Rolling Stone, Apple Computers, Nintendo USA, and dozens of others renowned magazines and media.

For a company with a spotless reputation such as this one, their website looks pretty dated. It’s not even responsive, which is kind of a big deal if you’re running a business in 2019 and want to attract people. Also, it is relatively scarce with options. Their LinkedIn page says the company has between two and ten employees. How is all that possible? Mere negligence or something worse? Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention the name. If you google “Fairfield Research,” don’t go with the result with that name in the URL. Instead, go to something called CyberSurvey.com.

fairfield research homepage preview

How Does It Work?

If you want a chance to join, click the “Join Our Survey Panel” button on their homepage. You can’t miss it – it’s one of the very few options you have. There, you will see a caption saying that they will invite “you and your household” to become members of their Consumer Research Panel. Your part is to complete surveys. In return, you will get chances “to win prizes in our monthly drawings.” Really, Fairfield Research? You’re inviting me to take surveys in exchange for sweepstakes entries? And I thought points and gift cards were kinda non-attractive.

But let’s see what kind of prizes you can expect to win if you get lucky.

  • Gift certificates from Circuit City and Best Buy
  • Gift certificates from The Gap, Eddie Bauer, and Land’s End
  • Computer games
  • eBook readers

It would sound alright if these were regular rewards for your time and effort. But as it is, you only stand a chance to win them. Doesn’t sound very appealing in a world full of paid survey panels where you can actually make money and earn rewards.

Anyhow, if you want to try it out after all, here’s what you can expect. You will be prompted to fill out a screener survey with your basic demographic information. It’s the standard questions: your sex, age, residency, marital status, household income. I was also asked if I owned any video game systems and other gadgets. Also, the magazines I read, whether I travel and how often, and whether I own any vehicles.

Once you complete the survey, there’s nothing else for you to do but wait for an email to let you know you’ve been approved. Or not. I tried it and never got any emails from them.

Advantages

  • The company appears to be very reputable in the niche. The list of their clients, the fact that they tapped into market research via internet back in 1989, when hardly anyone else did it… It all sounds admirable. Which is why I can’t really fathom why they don’t try harder to keep up with this reputation.

Disadvantages

  • They don’t pay in cash. In fact, they hardly pay at all. Sweepstakes entries are not a very alluring reward for your time. A decade ago, when there weren’t serious competitors who used real incentive to draw users, it might have been fine. Today, when there are thousands of legit survey panels that really pay, it’s not fine at all.
  • Signing up isn’t very straightforward. You get to fill out a screener survey, but that’s about all you can do. When you’re done with it, you won’t even get a notification to let you know what to expect. It would have been nice to at least say: Thank you for your time, we’ll email you as soon as your profile gets approved. Or another generic message. Anything.
  • Their website looks very… early 2000s. Not having a responsive, sleek and information-rich website is unforgivable today. Neither the users nor Google will appreciate it.

Final Verdict

My verdict is obvious from the very fact that I could only find a single advantage over a few disadvantages. And that single advantage doesn’t even have anything to do with the survey panel itself. It only concerns the company behind it.

Another curious thing is that I couldn’t find any user feedback anywhere online. When all said and done, I can only conclude that the company is definitely legit, but their commitment probably lies elsewhere. It appears that they have partly or completely neglected this survey panel. If not, they would have at least updated the website. And some happy or unhappy users would have spoken out about their experience somewhere.

However, I won’t discourage you from trying, if you really want to. There’s no harm in that. But I would recommend trying other options. There are many of them that might not boast of such a rich experience, but they actually pay.