Are Online Surveys Safe? Do Online Surveys Really Pay You?

By | 10/08/2015

new5Before investing your time and effort with online surveys, you should know the answers to these two very important questions:1) Are online surveys safe? Nobody wants to take a chance that something bad can happen to them as a result of taking online surveys. You never know what’s on the other end of the connection. 2) Do online surveys really pay you? Oh, they really pay you alright. It’s what you are paid with that makes all the difference and I want nothing but money. Straight up.

You must first consider the importance of matching certain demographics. If they cannot match your demographic to any of the demographic criteria of their clients, it isn’t likely you will be receiving many survey invitations. No surveys=No $$$$. That simple.

I will definitely tell you this much right now. Do not, I repeat DO NOT go into online surveying with the expectation of creating a full-time income. At best you might be able to create a little extra supplemental income. I have yet to meet or talk to anyone who actually supports themselves and/or their families with online surveying.

How I Choose

In order to determine if I am interested in joining a particular survey company, I have created a small checklist. I examine these aspects to ensure the safety of the site(safety first!!) and to see if they will really pay me before making my decision. 1) Privacy policy, 2) Payment system and 3) Will I get cash?

Privacy Policy

new3A privacy policy is essential for operating any website. Survey companies are no exception. Oft times they can be a bit wordy and hard to understand because of the terminology used. However, after prowling through dozens of these things, it is easier to translate, digest and hopefully help explain to other people.

I look for two aspects which will be what determines whether or not I sign up. 1) The type of data they collect and 2) Who they share that data with.

Once you have pinpointed and read the relevant information, you must decide if you can live with disclosing ultra private information to total strangers.(You will encounter this with every survey site)If you decide it makes you uncomfortable, suspicious, paranoid or all of the above, then I would suggest that perhaps online surveys are not for you.

I must admit to having a small lingering paranoia that survey companies are government spy agencies in disguise.(Pretty sure that’s not the case, though) Like I said earlier, you never know what’s on the other end of the connection. Right?

 Collected Data

Find out what kind of information they collect:


These screenshots came from the same policy. I picked this one because it gives the clearest most concise explanation of what type of data they collect. From voluntarily surrendered information termed sensitive data  to the information collected automatically.

I can sum it up for you in one sentence: They know who you are, they know what you do and they know where you live.(Not creepy at aaaalllllllll!)

Sharing/Selling Data

Find out who they share/sell your information with/to:

Check the privacy policy for one of these two types of statements:                                       newClearly states that your private information is sold or shared to third parties with  the intent to try and sell to you.

Clearly states they will never sell your information to third parties who intend to try and sell to you.

The two screenshots above are examples I retrieved from a couple of random survey sites. I chose them because they stated the point I am trying to convey in very easy to understand terminology(some policies can use terms difficult to decipher).

My perspective is like this: I don’t mind surrendering the information asked by most survey companies. How they use the very sensitive data I have provided is my main concern.new5

I am perfectly fine with my information being used for what they claim it is for actual honest to goodness RESEARCH!!

When the info is shared for this purpose, only your demographic  is  used as either one single statistic or aggregated and presented among many statistics as part of a bigger picture. Safety in numbers. (Heh, get it?)

What I don’t like is when they share/sell my info to third parties who will use this information to Send me “offers” that I don’t want or need.(That opens up a whole other can of worms about email safety) I get enough of that in the real world from the U.S. Postal Service, I don’t need it in my cyber world as well.

When I find privacy policies that will sell my info, that’s it for me, I won’t join. I move on to the next survey company to see what their policy has to say. Or if I join one in order to collect research material for a review, I don’t spend any money on any offer, and I collect my points for when/if the time comes to redeem them for cash. Remember, I am all about the money here.

Payment System

is affiliate marketing for beginnersOnline surveys companies generally operate the same way in this instance. They “pay” you with some kind of point reward system.  Aahhh the lovely point reward system. I would guess that %90 or more companies operate with points only.

In other words, for every survey you complete they reward you with a certain amount of points.  It isn’t always going to be the same amount of points for every survey. The points are redeemable only after a certain amount has been obtained.

The most important thing to consider about any point system is the redemption value(RV) or: Points=$. How many points are needed to equal $1 in “actual money”? For SwagBucks the RV is 100 pts=$1 or 1,000 pts=$10.  The RV for  Opinion Outpost is 10 pts=$1 or 100 pts=$10.


The redemption system usually works like this; You are not paid in cash or items. You are paid in points. After you have earned a stipulated total, they allow you to cash them in for gift cards.giftcard

The cash amount on the gift card depends upon how many points you have. This is how come I told you the RV was so important earlier.  Various companies offer a larger variety of gift cards.

Many now offer a redemption for cash. But…most cash type payouts are in the form of PayPal. So if you don’t have one, you need to get one. If you expect to be paid in “cash” I already have one anyways because of the income I receive as an affiliate marketer.

The Seedy Underbelly Of The Online Survey World

However, many “survey” sites are like a circus: Many attractions, lots of rides, and spending money/points to win prizes. Keyword here;  Spending not Making. These types are what really give online surveying a bad name. These offer more points awarded when you complete some kind of offer or some other stupid crap where you have to spend money to receive the points.new7

They are just helping others sell to you  These are not true hardcore survey sites(like what I want) At their very core, they are nothing more than affiliate marketing websites. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it is important to understand the true nature of who you’re doing business with. You won’t make any money with these people.

I think. many people come away from the experience with hard feelings and a bad taste in their mouth because of all the crap email they have tp put up with. Not to mention the fact that most of said emails are not survey invitations at all. Instead, they are “special offers we thought you might like, based on your demographic profile” (My personal feelings after my personal online survey fiasco.)

Surveys are not their main focus. Their main focus is on advertising other companies products, Through any means possible. You can kind of spot these if you are clued in to a few things I have noticed about their names.

If the name includes the mention of money in any way, shape, or form(i.e. cash, dollars, images of money). If the name contains the word reward or club or the implication that you will make money if only you would set aside 15 to 20 minutes a day to complete a few surveys. Run the other way if you don’t wish to be caught in their snare.


The best kind of survey company will: Not sell/share your information; Offer a reasonably attainable points=cash RV; Not be overrun with videos, games and “opportunities” to enjoy; Actually send surveys to your email and in the end, really pay you.

On A Personal Note:

Picture 4I would like to interject to state that never have I been paid for any of my efforts at online surveying. That being said, I would also like to say, my interest in online surveying has resurged.

I am trying to work through much of this on a personal level. That’s why I have been publishing post after post either reviewing an online survey site or just writing some things I hope will be helpful to others new to the world of online surveys.

This time around, I am exercising more caution, initiating more research and generally picking and choosing companies I want to join and/or review.  I know better now how they operate and checking them carefully, one at a time allows me to exercise better control over the situation. (Trust me, you will need to)

Maybe this time around I will find what I was looking for. Whatever I learn I will share with you as I learn it.

4 thoughts on “Are Online Surveys Safe? Do Online Surveys Really Pay You?

  1. Harold Hansen

    Please contact me . I ve signed up and have tried everything
    To get a hold of you .
    Asap please! I want to start!!

    1. Polly Post author

      Pardon me Harold I am a little misinformed I think. Maybe you can clarify for me.

      This comment is on the Are Online Surveys Safe? Do Online Surveys Really Pay You? page. So…my question is did you koin Wealthy Affiliate and are experiencing issues or did you join the survey thing.

      If you joined the survey crap I can’t help with that. If you have joined WA, then please be specific about your problem so I may assist you better.

  2. Chad reed

    Great post it is nice to see someone else from wa on the internet if your looking for surveys sites clixsense is proably one of the best ones they have a lot of surveys it took me some time but I did get 12.00 through them just doing surveys

    1. Polly Post author

      I might just look into that. It will give me something to review at the very least. Thanks Chad!


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