(Updated November 2017)
NPD are a known name in the paid survey industry. Founded in 1967, the company are one of the biggest providers of valuable market data to Fortune 500 Companies. They conduct market research for hundreds of retailers and manufacturers across the globe, helping them to make profitable and effective decisions based on the feedback gathered from these studies. They also boasts ties to a number of top organisations, organisations that are more than willing to open their wallets for the opinions and time of the millions of members on their consumer panel. NPD consistently ranks among the top 25 market research companies in the Honomichl Top 50 Report published annually by the American Marketing Association (AMA) and enjoys the highest possible rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB have only two complaints on record lodged against the company, both of which have been resolved.
That these complaints have been resolved shows that NPD is a company that cares about its image, an image bolstered by plenty of awards and commendations. You would think that such a company would maintain an equally professional and trusted consumer panel. And yet, many have criticised their panel, VIP Voice, for being just another scam survey and a waste of time. How does millions of active members and the backing of a respected market researcher translate into such poor reviews. Why are so many current and former users prepared to denounce VIP Voice? Are they actually legit? Check out our answer below.
You Don’t Win Money
There are a few cash surveys on VIP Voice, but these are few and far between. Unlike other paid survey panels, VIP Voice does not generally offer cash. Instead, members earn points which they can then exchange for entries into sweepstakes or for bids on an auction. Each point you use in the sweepstakes is considered an entry, so the more points you put into the draw the more likely your chance to win. VIP Voice has a mechanic called the Survey Points Booster, meaning that the more surveys you complete the more points you earn. For example, your first survey would earn you twenty five points, your third would earn you fifty points, and your fifth would earn you one hundred points.
There is also a daily sweepstakes, in which you can win $100. There are monthly sweepstakes with a greater variety of more valuable prizes, such as vacations, electronics and more. In the auctions, you bid your points as currency. Whoever bids the most by the end of the auctions wins the item, and all of the other bidders have their points returned. Points expire after a questionable six months, so make sure you spend them before then.
You Don’t Really Win Anything
When you complete surveys on VIP Voice, you are winning the opportunity to enter a sweepstakes or bid on an auction. You and every other user competing have a miniscule chance of winning anything. And even though the rewards are effectively worthless, VIP Voice still only sends out one or two surveys a week. Worse still, when you are invited to participate in a survey, VIP Voice does not actually tell you how much you will earn or how long the survey will even take, nor even if you are qualified to take it. You just have to take a chance and hope for the best, and become a victim of what could be seen as an underhanded move by VIP Voice to draw you into a survey that was never worth your time in the first place. One disgruntled user suggested that the only person who could possibly be making money from VIP Voice are the owners, and called the points ‘monopoly money’.
In spite of NPD and its international standing, VIP Voice will only accept members from the US and Canada. For survey takers in Europe and Australia, this is a blessing in disguise. If you are not being rewarded with money or tangibles, then just what exactly is the incentive to get involved with VIP Voice? If you are passionate about completing paid surveys online, there are many other more financially rewarding surveys out there that you can satisfy your hobby on.
If You Do Win Anything, It Might Take Years
To VIP Voice’s credit, some of the auction prizes are extremely attractive. At the time of writing, a 55” HDTV, a Caribbean holiday and an ultra thin laptop are up for grabs. These prizes are also extremely expensive, the top bidders having saved up for a very long time in order to bid for them. Do you want to complete surveys for years and years just so you can maybe have a chance of winning a new wicker patio set? By getting a part-time job or establishing another avenue of income, you could save up the necessary funds in a fraction of the time and you wouldn’t have to compete with anyone else either. Even the cheaper, less desirable items like gift cards require users to save up for weeks and months in order to even stand a chance of winning.
Many former members of VIP Voice have stated that they have spent literally years on the site completing surveys in the hopes of winning something. Many have never won anything, one user disclosing that he was abandoning VIP Voice frustrated and empty-handed after spending almost eight years on the panel. Other users, although still active, were on the cusp of leaving.
There are a number of poor surveys out there that don’t reward you much, but at least they reward you with something. VIP Voice merely tantalizes it’s users with the prospect of rewards, stringing them along until they have had enough. User anecdotes are supported by the fact that most of the prizes on offer do not have winners listed. A user may accumulate and enter large amounts of points, but the chances of them winning anything remain slim.
You Get Advertised At
Many VIP Voice users have noticed that many of the surveys that they complete are identical to one another. The same questions, over and over and over again. Completing paid surveys is not the most exciting work, but this is really pushing it. The general consensus among reviewers is that these surveys are being used to advertise rather than to genuinely identify consumer opinions.
Your Responses Might Not Even Matter
Although money may be the main incentive for most users and the surveys might be short and easy to complete, it is disheartening to know that the thoughtful and honest answers being given are not being used for anything. If this is true, then VIP Voice could be rightfully called a scam. They would be deceiving their users, and the fact that they wouldn’t even be paying you for your time is just salt in the wound.
That is not to say that all of their surveys are doing this all the time. On their website, VIP Voice proudly links to media coverage of research only made possible with the help of their consumer panel, and stresses that their contribution is important. However, the prospect of this happening even occasionally is upsetting, a theory corroborated by the fact that VIP Voice does not seem to check if responses are consistent or legit. You can click yes throughout an entire survey and then click no throughout another, but if anyone at VIP Voice notices they do not seem to care. You can still complete surveys and VIP Voice will reward you with the normal amount of points than if a user had answered the questions with genuine sincerity.
They Keep Bad Company
One of the marks of a less than stellar survey site is that they outsource. When surveys do this they no longer have complete control over how they are perceived. Knowingly or not, they relinquish some of that control to third parties, third parties who do not always hold themselves to the same standards. In time, this can damage a survey site’s reputation.
VIP Voice might be one such survey site, as they outsource many of their surveys to Toluna. Toluna is one of the largest paid survey companies out there, but they are notorious in the online research community for their customer service (or lack thereof) and excessive delays. They are rated second from last by Survey Police, barely clearing two stars with over 300 user reviews. VIP Voice also have a disappointing two stars, and are rated tenth from last on Survey Police. Considering that there are over 250 survey sites considered on Survey Police, this is a damning indictment, and one in which Toluna and other third parties almost certainly play a part.
It Will Ruin Your Friendships
If one of your friends suggests joining VIP Voice through a link that they send you, that person is probably not your friend. Aside from the rare cash survey on the site, VIP Voice also has a referral program whereby you can earn a few dollars for each person who joins through your link. Users are not recommending VIP Voice because they think it is a genuinely good paid survey, they are recommending it because it is one of the few ways to make money on the site. The problem is even if you did adopt this unscrupulous strategy, you wouldn’t make very much money. So please, don’t be that person.
It’s Not All Bad
VIP Voice might be bad, but it’s not all bad. The site does not ask for your credit card information, neither will it charge you to participate – strong signs that it is, in spite of everything, legit. Although the site may offer meager rewards, they do not bombard your inbox with spam and they seemingly do not disclose your personal information to anyone else. When the surveys aren’t advertising at you, they’re reportedly reasonably interesting, with topics like software, music and technology, among others.
The customer service is also apparently quite good, with many users suggesting you get in touch with the universally-acclaimed Janet if you have any issues. That being said, there are many damning reviews. One user stated that he won an auction last year, and was told by a representative that the company would get in touch with him shortly. When he inquired weeks later as to where was his prize, he was told that there had been an error in the system, and that he had not in fact won anything. VIP Voice apologized, but did nothing else – it is easy to see why many frustrated users call VIP Voice a scam.
A few users had more positive things to say, one saying that she had qualified for a survey specializing in product testing shortly after creating her account. This is good to hear; normally a user would not be selected for product testing so soon after signing up, with many companies requiring you to be an active user for at least a few months before trusting you to test valuable items. The user in this case stated that all she had to do was try some chewing gum, and earned $100 with little effort. Other users have held out with the reward system and walked away with big prizes, although it is difficult to tell if these glowing reviews are fact or fiction. Lucky for some, but these experiences are not indicative of the majority of user’s experience on VIP Voice.
Rest assured that VIP Voice is a legit site, just not a very worthwhile one. There are plenty of paid survey and GPT sites like MySurvey and CashCrate that will reward you fairly well for your time and opinions. VIP Voice might be unique in that it offers a lottery and auctions in lieu of direct payment, but this feature renders it a paradox, the closest thing you can get to a non-paying survey site in the paid survey market.
Honestly, your voice is better off somewhere else. Hopefully our VIP Voice review has shed some light on the issue, but if you would like to do more research into reputable paid surveys and learn more about how to avoid a scam, the websites Survey Police and Survey Says are excellent resources. We also did a comprehensive review on Global Test Market, check it out.