Online survey phrase on a blackboard

While looking for reliable and legit survey sites to earn some pocket cash, you may stumble upon Permission Research, a panel with over two million users from all around the world. Wait, what? A site with so many users just has to be good, you reckon.

Well, it isn’t necessarily so. Survey panels and other get-paid-to platforms are pretty populous now that most people realize that they can actually get paid for taking surveys. But that doesn’t mean that all of them are equal. Some will rip you off and steal your data to resell it to the highest bidder. Others are legit, but will only ever pay you pennies. Before you commit your time and energy, you’d better find out about all the pros and cons.

Let’s sift through more info that you can find on Permission Research site. Their parent company is Comscore, Inc. It’s hard to doubt their legitimacy when you learn that they are a member of The Advertising Research Foundation, which has been around since 1936! That’s a respectable experience if I ever saw one.

Their list of assets goes on. Together with Trees for the Future, they help plant 50 thousand trees every month, totaling over 18 million trees since 2008. By becoming a member, you will also support this project and have a tree planted on your behalf.

But let’s see what else is in it for you, if anything.

How to Join?

Joining is very straightforward. Just click the “Join Now” button and wait until they test your configuration. If they let you proceed, you will get a simple and easy questionnaire to fill in. Questions include birthdate, education level and employment status, both for you and another member of your household.

Permission Research join steps page

Once you’re done with that (and it doesn’t take more than two minutes), you will be prompted to download their research software. I did it for the sake of testing the whole thing, even though my antivirus warned me that it’s a very rare type of software. But then again, my antivirus is a pretty suspicious little fellow. Not that I don’t understand the suspicion, considering that this software is basically monitoring all of my activity on the internet.

Sounds scammy? I agree. It’s entirely sensible to frown upon such a fact. But that’s what Permission Research is all about. Their primary goal is “to help companies understand consumer Internet usage and behavior”. So, no, you’re not in for taking gazillions of surveys like elsewhere. You’re just supposed to be doing what you normally do, while letting the program observe your behavior.

Even though the company is legit, I completely understand if you’re reluctant to offer that much information to anyone. If you suspect that Facebook or Instagram are misusing your private data, why would you willingly grant access to ALL of your online activities to anyone? I did it for the sake of testing, but you would fare better not to.

But what about surveys? Yes, they do that as well – but not on a regular basis. From time to time, you will get survey invitations via email.

How Much Can I Earn (If Anything)?

That’s where the second catch comes in. No matter how hard I searched, I just couldn’t find the information about rewards. Your main reward for becoming a member is that the planet Earth will get another tree. When it comes to surveys, you will be offered “cash or gift cards” as their way of saying thank you. How much cash? They don’t say.

However, there seems to be another way of earning on this site. But it’s hardly a popular one, let alone consistent. Once a month, they organize sweepstakes, with a $100,000 jackpot. That might sound tempting. But remember those two million members? You or I or anyone else don’t stand much chance to win these sums of money.

Advantages

  • It’s a respectable company with enormous experience in market research. And it’s not just about mileage. Their commitment to planet Earth’s health is commendable and rare in the world of market research companies.
  • There are sweepstakes that can get you as “little” as $100 or as much as $100,000. But, you know, it takes some serious luck to be the lucky winner among two million users. They would probably fare better if they rewarded all of their active members with mere pennies.

Disadvantages

  • The software monitoring your internet usage can and should be a bit off-putting. We live in an era of mass surveillance as it is. Therefore, many people won’t like volunteering to add a tool so that someone can observe their online behavior. Especially when there’s no information as to what exactly are they monitoring. Do they have access to your email? Even if they don’t sell this info to third parties (which I believe they don’t), it’s still a bit too much. If you’ll allow me to be blunt, you can plant a tree (or ten) without exposing your privacy that way.
  • You will only get paid from time to time. That is, if you ever get those coveted “special surveys” that pay in cash or gift cards. And they don’t even say how much you can hope for. Moreover, I didn’t manage to find a single user review confirming that those surveys actually exist.
  • Their website looks a bit dated for a company whose main focus is the internet itself. There’s nothing scammy about their looks, but they could definitely do a better job. This is the dawn of the third decade of the 21st century, after all.

Permission Research homepage preview

Final Verdict: to Join or Not to Join Permission Research?

In this case, my job was not hard at all. To put it simply and plainly: there isn’t a single good reason to join. And there are at least two good reasons not to.

Firstly, chances are that you don’t stand to earn any money here. And if you decide to join just to (possibly) enter sweepstakes, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for ya.

Secondly, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your privacy. They ask you to allow access to all of your browsing habits, and for what? If it’s about trees, you can plant them yourself.

Thirdly and lastly, there are dozens of decent get-paid-to platforms that will actually compensate you without potentially jeopardizing your privacy. So, my advice would be to skip this panel. There’s too little to gain while putting everything at stake.