rating online survey on a laptop

While combing through gazillions of survey sites, you might encounter a panel called Honest Insite. Just like their competition, these guys want to learn about your opinions and consumer habits, in exchange for certain rewards. It sounds like a fair trade: you take surveys and provide them with your feedback, and they give you money or something else in return.

However, we know better than to buy these promises straight away. In the crazy jungle of the internet, there are many dishonest players who would trick you into giving away your information for free. So, I decided to test this panel and let you know what you’re in for.

First of all, the panel is run by a company called The Sample Network. Curiously enough, the company doesn’t have a file on Better Business Bureau. They are simply listed as Honest Insite there. As you can see, they don’t hold an accreditation, but still have an A rating. In spite of negative user complaints. So, let’s see what it’s all about.

honest insite homepage preview

How to Become a Member (and What Do I Get in Return)?

To join, just head over to the top right-hand corner and hit “Join Now”. There are three steps ahead. First, provide your name, email address, zip code, and country. Step two will prompt you to enter your address, gender, birthdate, and phone number. Finally, tick to mark your ethnicity, marital status, education level, household income, job function, and number of kids. All of this doesn’t take more than 2-3 minutes. Confirm your account from email, and you’re good to go. You will now have access to your dashboard, which shows available surveys if any, rewards balance, and games.

Yes, that’s right – you can play games. Unfortunately, these won’t bring you any earnings. You can play them just for fun if you want.

To maximize your chances of getting surveys, there’s more work to be done. The information you provided only pertains to your so called “personal profile”. There are eight more profiles, including family and home, employment, health, finance, communication, automotive. These won’t take more than half an hour total, but they still need to be complete if you want to get any surveys. I know, this sounds annoying, but that’s the way it works with most survey panels. The more input you provide, the better your chances to get relevant surveys that you will qualify for. 

profile completion progress bars for online surveys

For every survey that you complete successfully, you should get between $1 and $3. Even though it doesn’t sound like a lot of money, it’s actually well above the average rate, which in most cases doesn’t exceed $0.50 of $1 per hour of answering surveys.

And the best part is that you can choose to redeem these earnings either for cash via PayPal, or various gift cards.

Should I Worry About My Personal Info?

That’s the trickiest question when it comes to any survey panel, not just this one. The point is, even if a panel appears to be (or is) entirely legit, there’s no saying what will happen to it tomorrow.

As for Honest Insite, take a look at their About Us page. It says that they are members of a few associations such as American Marketing Association, CASRO, ESOMAR, and MRA. This membership should account for their abiding by certain rules. But then they mention a certain “long legal document to protect us both”, which is nowhere to be found. I don’t suppose that’s a sign of some scammy secrecy. It’s probably just due to some sloppiness on the part of their webmasters. Still, it would be good to have this document and see what they are doing to ensure the safety of their users’ data. If I am willing to provide this data for them, I have every right to expect some kind of guarantee that it’s safe with them.

privacy guarantee page with partner logos

So, it boils down to a certain risk that you have to take if you want to make some money with paid surveys. But I wouldn’t be too dramatic about this. In the world of market research, nobody should be interested in John or Jane Doe’s personal information. An individual means nothing to the companies. Only large-scale, aggregated data from many Johns and Janes will bring them something they can really work with.

Advantages

  • Getting cash is more alluring than getting gift cards. But there’s one thing that beats both, and that’s getting to choose between the two. The gift cards are either from Amazon or various online retailers.
  • The cashout threshold is comparatively low. Many of their competitors will require you to earn at least $20 or even $25 to be able to get your hands on your money. However, this advantage has its flip side – more on that later.

Disadvantages

  • Users complain about not getting compensation. Contacting the company’s customer service didn’t help either. This is the gravest issue with this panel. Even if everything else was good (which it isn’t), why would anyone be part of a panel that has such a poor reputation with its users?
  • Can I get any surveys, please? Even though I completed my profiles (as far as I could, since I don’t own a car and that’s obviously a bad answer in the automotive questionnaire), there were no available surveys for me. But I won’t take myself as an example. Other users also complain of not getting enough opportunity to at least redeem the time they invested in completing their profiles. Judging by the comments, it may take years to hit the $15 cashout threshold! I suppose that’s what the games are for.
  • Only US and Canada residents are eligible for this panel. Yep, I completely understand if survey takers from Europe or Asia or elsewhere are a bit disappointed. Most survey panels just aren’t that interested in their opinions and consumer habits.

Final Thoughts About Honest Insite – Will You Get a Bang for Your… Time?

A thorough examination hasn’t revealed to me that this site is an outright scam. Therefore, I wouldn’t go so far as to tell you not to join. However, I can’t recommend it either. Granted, their surveys pay pretty well, and the payout threshold isn’t high.

But there are two scenarios that show how futile these pros are. The first scenario: you never (or very rarely) get any surveys, in which case it would take ages to have $15 in your balance.

The second scenario is even worse: you may accrue this sum one day, but never be able to actually get it. So, my two cents is that you would better fare elsewhere. There are hundreds of legit survey sites that actually deliver on their promise.