The world of survey panels is a colorful one. Between scammers and legit players, there are many other types as well. Some will accept users from all walks of life as long as they’re residing in the right country. Others will set up very specific conditions that you have to meet in order to get in. PhorTech Panel belongs to the latter group. It recruits life scientists and works with clients from bioindustry.
In this in-depth review, I will tell you everything I’ve learned about the panel, first-hand and second-hand. Since I am not a life scientist myself, I haven’t been able to register and take a look from within. However, I did my best to dig around and find all the answers that might help you make your decision about this panel.
Company Overview – Who Are They?
Even at first glance, you will notice that this is not your average survey panel. The language is very professional, the black-and-white interface pretty uninviting. And that’s only understandable since they don’t aim for ordinary users. Nor would it do any good for them to get tons of unsolicited applications and waste their time on reading and rejecting them.
That being said, the panel is definitely legit. Its parent company, PhorTech International, has been around since 1989. Their list of clients is very long. Let’s mention just a few of them in case the names mean something to you: AMBRI, Barnstead International, CRA International, Bioarray Solutions, Bioscan Inc, Dionex Corporation.
If life science sounds too broad for you, take a look at some of the topics they seek respondents for:
- DNA amplification
- microarrays systems
- DNA sequencing
- cell & tissue culture techniques
- molecular biology reagent systems
Check the full list here. As for number of users, they boast of having some 13,000 registered members in the US. Those are people who work in universities, hospitals, private and government labs and research foundations. If you belong to this narrow category of professionals, you should be a match for the panel.
I Am a Life Scientist. How to Become a Member?
The signup button isn’t very prominent, so you won’t be able to find it on the homepage. A bit of digging is required, but it’s nothing complicated. First, go to the tab “PhorTech Panel of Bioresearchers”.
Look to your left and you will notice an option reading “How Do I Join the PhorTech Panel of Bioresearchers”.
Once you’re there, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will notice the registration button.
Besides the usual requirements such as name, address, telephone, email, they will ask you for your department and whether you use laboratory products. The next stage will have you tick your areas of interest or expertise. That’s all you need to do, and it doesn’t take more than 3-5 minutes. The rest is up to them. Once they go through your application, they will let you know via email.
Email is all you will need in the future too. As soon as there is an available research, you will get an invitation email. There are three kinds of projects:
- Online surveys
- Phone surveys
- Focus groups
And now to the most important part – rewards. Don’t hope for cash, as it isn’t an option on PhorTech Panel. Instead, you will have to settle for various gift cards – from Amazon to Barnes & Noble to Starbucks. They also mention some rewards that, frankly, don’t sound too appealing – for example, laser pointers.
As for the value of these rewards, you may hope to get anything from $7 to $50 worth of gift certificates. Should you prefer to donate your earnings to charity, that’s also possible. The list of charities includes UNICEF, American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, The American Cancer Society, and other reputable organizations.
- The pay per survey is okay. When I say that, I’m having in mind the average pay of much less than a dollar per survey on most other panels. Of course, the specialized ones will always pay higher since they are, well, more exclusive. Anyhow, $7 to $50 per survey definitely beats most of the competition.
- There are various types of activities. To be honest, typical online surveys can get pretty repetitious. Here, you can also hope for phone surveys and focus groups. Which probably pay more than surveys.
- Amazon or Starbucks gift cards are worse than cash, but better than anonymous certificates. And it’s nice that they included them as an option. In fact, there seem to be many options here, except for cash. You can also choose charity donations or even sweepstakes entries.
- Cash isn’t an option. Unfortunately, it’s the single most coveted type of reward on survey panels. Almost every survey taker hopes to get it, and understandably so.
- A very narrow niche. I’m assuming that not many survey takers can boast of having background in bioresearch. And there probably aren’t many survey takers among bioresearchers. Be that as it may, there is one more restriction: only US residents are welcome to join this panel. And that’s a pity too.
- Rewards include some very nickel-and-dime items such as laser pointers. Really? Taking up a scientist’s time and compensating it with a laser pointer? What’s even worse, it appears that there are no rules. You will never know what to expect as a reward. Or at least it isn’t specified anywhere on the site.
Final Thoughts – Is PhorTech Panel Worth Your Time?
As you can see from the lists of pros and cons above, it’s impossible to decidedly say whether this is a decent opportunity to make some bucks on the side. Most importantly, it isn’t bucks you’d be earning. So, if gift cards are your thing and you meet all the requirements, be my guest and sign up for this panel. It’s most definitely legit, and you’ll even have the satisfaction of influencing the future of bioindustry.
If you aren’t a life scientist, it makes everything that much simpler. You can’t join this panel, but there are gazillions of others that will be happy to have you. Go ahead and search for them! It might be helpful to scroll up to our list of top survey sites. Pick one or all of them, and enjoy taking surveys and reaping the small but sweet rewards.