online survey screen on a laptop

“This survey panel is great and you will get rewards in exchange for your opinions. There’s just one tiny little problem… You can’t get in!”

Ever seen this scenario? Yep, it is annoying! The platform called Opinion Central (or more accurately, Opinion-Central) is one of those sites. And that is the first issue you might have with it, if you don’t belong to the chosen ones. But is that the only issue? Read this in-depth, unbiased review to find out!

Who Are They?

I like it that their site clearly states that the panel is run by a company called Millward Brown Digital. Even though it definitely is a basic piece of info, you’d be surprised how often panels tend to keep it a secret. Since this one doesn’t, it’s the first sign of their legitimacy.

The second sign is the fact that they don’t charge for signing up. But then again, they won’t let you join voluntarily, so the free access kind of loses a bit of its appeal.

Back to the company. They are fairly experienced as far as market research goes, dating all the way back to 1999. According to their file on Better Business Bureau, their headquarters are in Norwalk, Connecticut. Even though they are not accredited with BBB, they still hold an A+ rating there, which should mean they are legit and responsive to user complaints. However, don’t rejoice just yet. From as few as 20 user reviews, I could only find a couple comments that reflect genuine user experience. Others would just say that it’s good or even awesome, without explaining why. Yet others were completely misdirected, concerning Walmart or home care agencies. People get confused a lot.

On the other hand, they brag about being a member of Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO) or Insights Association. It’s a trade association with nearly 300 companies, with clear cut rules that the members have to follow. Those rules include protection of users’ privacy, which is extremely important.

So, if I could conclude anything from this part of research, it’s that this panel is legit. And you shouldn’t be afraid to join if given the chance.

opinion central homepage preview

How Does It Work?

As I said, the panel is invitation-only. Unfortunately, I am not one of those lucky consumers who got an invitation. So, I can’t speak first-hand. But I’ve done some thorough research, and here’s what I found.

If or when you get that coveted invitation, the registration itself will be easy as pie. You will only need to take a short screener survey to let them know a bit about you. That shouldn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes. Next, either click the “Take a Survey” button to check if there are any available surveys, or wait for an email invitation. As they themselves admit, you won’t get many surveys. You will get a new one “at least once a month”, but not more than two or three times. And that means you shouldn’t rely on this to be your next side gig, whatever the compensation might be.

Finally, let’s explore the most important matter – compensation. Unfortunately, there aren’t good news on that account either. Sometimes, just sometimes, you will get a reward in a certain amount of points. You can redeem these points for selected items including household & electronics. Other times, you will just have to settle with the fact that you’re making some kind of difference or influence on the market. If that’s good enough for you. If I could identify any kind of silver lining here, it’s that they will always inform you in the email whether you can expect compensation.

Advantages

  • They are legit and seem to be well established. Being members of trade association that directly communicates with the US state and laws, they definitely shouldn’t misuse your private information.
  • Surveys are short. In fact, none of them should take more than 15 minutes to complete. It’s nice to know that you don’t have to spend more than that on an activity that is compensation-free most of the time.

Disadvantages

  • There’s a wall to climb, and no known path to get over it. Of course, I’m referring to the “invitation-only” part here. It’s not a way to get many users. But then again, maybe they don’t want to have to sift through hundreds of thousands of accounts to find the best targets. It’s their right. As it is mine to say that I don’t like it.
  • They will compensate you only occasionally. And as I said above, this compensation isn’t cash but points redeemable for merchandise. Frankly, I wonder why would anyone expect you to do anything for free when there are others who pay for it.
  • There aren’t many surveys. One to three per month tops – which means you can’t rely on this, not even for coins.
  • If you decline several surveys, they might suspend your account. That’s the second restrictive measure, and it’s already a bit too much. Most other panels won’t “punish” you for deeming their surveys inadequate or simply not having the time at the moment.
  • They only accept US citizens. So, if you are based anywhere else in the world, you will just want to skip this one.

Final Thoughts – Should You Join Opinion Central?

When it comes to handling your information, there’s nothing wrong with this panel. In fact, it should be safer than most others.

Unfortunately, that is basically this platform’s only real pro. Everything else, from restricted admission to not paying cash to not compensating regularly, tells us a decisive “no”. Of course, if you get an invitation to join and are a survey fan, I won’t tell you not to join. But if you expect to make a little sum on the side, this is not the place to do it.

Even though the Survey Police directory compares them to such panels as Branded Surveys, Univox Community, and MySoapBox, I have to say I disagree with that. Having tested the mentioned panels myself – in fact, having had the chance to test them, I think they are much better. At least user-wise. Even though there are no perfect survey panels (just like anything else), there are certainly some that are significantly better than others.