market research elements needed for an online survey

Paid online surveys are a neat way of making some money on the side, but they won’t get you that summer house you’ve always dreamt about. Nor will they ever qualify to become your next day job. Still, it’s nice to get a little something in return for your time and effort – even if it only pays for your drinks or a small piece of clothing. Many people take surveys just for the fun of it. But the fun won’t melt away if it redirects a few cents your way. Quite the contrary!

So today, I am giving you a nice and thorough review of a survey panel called OpinionsUSA. Is it legit? Yes! But that still doesn’t mean that it’s worth your while. Or even that it’s possible to take advantage of it. Let’s dive into the bits and pieces, so that we can pass our verdict. opinionsusa homepage preview

Company Overview

According to their About Us page, OpinionsUSA are run by Toluna, a well established market research company. If you’ve ever come across Toluna, you will know that it’s a decent place to bag some pocket money. But does it mean that OpinionsUSA, as their subsidiary panel, is equally good? Not necessarily, as you’re about to see. As of this moment, Toluna has built over 200 communities, and I sincerely doubt that all of them are equally productive and rewarding. But if nothing else, Toluna accounts for their sister (or daughter?) panel’s legitimacy.

How Does It Work?

So I went there to test everything, but I couldn’t find a way to sign up. All I could see was a button to log in. What was that about? Since I couldn’t find an answer on the website, I had to contact their support. Surprisingly enough, the reply hit my inbox within hours. They weren’t recruiting at the moment, it said, but would start soon enough, “in a couple of weeks”. opinionsusa no join email message Therefore, I will only provide second-hand information that I could find online, as written and testified by other users like you and me. Make sure to take it all with a grain of salt. You never know if they are going to change the rules by the time they allow you to join. The registration is free of charge, but only US residents can become members. According to the information I managed to dig out, the process of joining is pretty conventional. Upon providing your email address, you will be prompted to fill out a demographic questionnaire, to let them know more about you so they could send you more adequate surveys.

How Much Can I Earn?

Surveys are not the only activity OpinionsUSA will reward you for. Take a look at everything you can do:

  • Surveys on various topics including politics, pets, technology, hobbies, travel
  • Short polls
  • Special activities such as focus groups

There are no exact rules about the amount of compensation, i.e. how many points you will earn per survey. In the FAQ section on their website, there are some approximations: a survey may take between 5 and 25 minutes, and will bring you anything between 125 and 625 points. Of course, that largely depends on the duration. However, the more surveys you take, the greater your chances to earn more points. Polls are very short and will always bring you 10 points flat. But the best part is, every survey that you don’t qualify for should also bring you points – exactly 25. It isn’t much, but it’s still a nice way of saying thank you for your time. Unfortunately, you won’t be getting any cash with OpinionsUSA. But you’ll be getting the next best thing, namely gift cards from Amazon, Target, Starbucks, Best Buy, Tango, iTunes, Walmart, and more. Since points won’t pay your bills or put food on your table, let’s see if there is a way to convert your points into real, tangible value. Thankfully, there is a formula and it’s is very simple: 100 points will translate to $1. Therefore, a survey is worth at least $0.25 (if you get disqualified) and $6.25, for up to 25 minutes of your time. That’s a really nice sum, considering that the minimum of 25 points or $0.25 is guaranteed.

Advantages

  • You will often earn points even if you don’t qualify for a survey. And we’re not talking about a cent or two, but $0.25! This is the single most important advantage of this platform. Sure, those $0.25 won’t get you rich.
  • They pay comparatively well. In fact, it’s far better than most other panels that I’ve seen. $6 per 25 minutes sounds excellent when you take into account that the average hourly rate on most survey panels doesn’t exceed $0.50.
  • Gift cards are not money, but they are the second best. Mind you, many panels out there will only “pay” in sweepstakes entries or charity donations. While there’s nothing inherently bad about that, I still prefer to be able to allocate my earnings where I please. 

Disadvantages

  • They aren’t recruiting new users at the moment. Not only it means that you can’t take advantage of their relatively high rate. It also means that they can change all of that by the time they decide to let new people in.
  • No cash involved. They pay in points, which you can then convert to gift cards. As much as I appreciate Amazon, Target, or Starbucks gift cards, they don’t get anywhere near cash in my book.
  • Surveys appear to be scarce. Most users report getting two or three surveys per month. Of course, you won’t count on this to become your next day job. But it would still be nice to have a better chance. Some users even claim that the number of surveys goes down just when they are one step away from the threshold. If that’s true, it would definitely be a red alert.
  • There is a cashout threshold, and it isn’t low. Having to wait for weeks on end until you accrue those 2,000 points seems pretty annoying. So, if you decide to give this panel a shot, don’t count on it as a stable source of income.
  • The panel is exclusive to the US users. Not even Canadians or Britons are welcome to join, unlike with other panels.

Final Thoughts – Is OpinionsUSA Worthy of Your Time?

Based on what I’ve seen, OpinionsUSA are a pretty decent panel. Even if the number of surveys you may hope to get is far from enough, it should still work well when combined with some other panels. The only problem is that you can’t get in right now. But if that should change any time soon, and if the rules of the game stay the same, I would definitely recommend all of you patient survey takers to sign up. Maybe you will happen to be just the right demographic category that they are currently seeking. You just never know. And the panel is definitely legit, which is more than I can say for many others.