Can You Make Money Doing Online Surveys?

Written by Karen Bryan

£5 notesI thought that doing some online surveys might be a good way to earn some extra cash. I signed up with Ipsos Mori’s I-Say research panel.

I believed that I’d be able to complete the online surveys quickly, as I’ve previously worked as a market research interviewer. I reckoned that being a female aged 55+ who was working full-time would mean that I’d fit the quota for a fair number of surveys. I also thought that as I’m online for a few hours a day, I’d be able to start doing the surveys quickly, before the required number of interviewees was filled.

Within the fist week of signing up to I-Say, I received a few emails from I-Say informing me that a survey was available. However, I was only able to fully complete two surveys, one earned me 150 points and the other 25 points. One survey wouldn’t load on my laptop.  I spent at least five minutes answering questions on two of these surveys, about internet usage and broadband/phone providers,  before it was deemed that I wasn’t suitable for the survey.

Now, if completing a survey which took 20 minutes would earn me 100 points, then surely spending at least 5 minutes on screening questions should earn 25 points, i.e. one quarter of 100 points, instead of the measly 10 points I was allocated.

You need to earn 1380 points in order to be eligible for a Reward, which is either a paper or electronic £10 shopping voucher. I worked out that you’d need to spend almost five hours completing surveys in order to earn the 1380 points required to earn a £10 shopping voucher, based on a 20 minute survey offering 100 points. That works out at around £2 an hour. It could also take quite some time to be eligible for sufficient surveys to amass the required 1380 points.

I suspect that many people never reach the 1380 points threshold, meaning that I-Say get an average of a few surveys completed per sign up without the interviewee receiving anything.

I certainly can’t recommend doing online surveys as a way to earn money, considering that the minimum wage for workers aged 21+ in the UK is £6.50 an hour. However, you do have to factor in that you can do surveys at home with no costs such as transport or childcare.  I assume that if you signed up with several research companies, responded quickly to survey alert emails and were in a desirable age/working status bracket, you could earn around £50 – £100 a month.

I-Say run an affiliate scheme were you can earn 100 points for each person referred who completes at leat one survey. That sounds to me like a better way to earn points than completing surveys yourself. But, you’d need to write positively about I-Say on your website if you wanted any readers to sign up.