MMFYOH PROJECT #1: Online Surveys
TOTAL $ EARNED TO DATE TAKING SURVEYS ONLINE: $363.00
AMOUNT OF TIME IT TOOK TO MAKE $363.00: INFINITY
THEME SONG: “Alive” by Sia. Will remind you that you are in fact alive, despite having spent 10 hours ranking paper towel logo preferences and watching clips from “Jay Leno’s Garage.”
SURVEY (ha!) SAYS: Fail. Not worth the mind-numbing effort.
Today I was taking my three millionth online survey in my quest to “make money from your own home” or MMFYOH (still looking for that catchy name.) This particular survey was about…meat. Somebody, somewhere required my input regarding meat package leakage. I don’t know about you, but I’m way excited that America’s best minds are focusing on the important issues.
Since embarking upon MMFYOH, I have participated in so, so many surveys; a tragic number of surveys, really. In addition to meat, I have been polled on the San Francisco 49ers, Uber, the presidential election, luxury automobiles, Valentine’s Day gifts and whether a particular cheese stirs my emotions. I’m not kidding about the cheese.
The cheese one wasn’t even the weirdest survey that day. That title goes to a survey that began “We would like to ask you about your habits and attitudes related to the bathroom and the bathroom experience.”
I personally have taken the same exact survey on coffee 6 times on 6 different survey sites. I purposely tried to disqualify myself 5 times by claiming to never drink coffee and insisting that I will never consider buying coffee ever, under any circumstance, but people – my opinion on supermarket coffee displays is vital. It’s nice to feel needed.
You would not believe the number of online survey companies there are. Since I’m crazy and am in the midst of my great MMFYOH experiment, I signed up with all of them. Today I received 310 emails from survey companies. I attempted to participate in about 100, and probably actually completed a dozen. My earnings from these surveys today may reach the 3 figures. As in $5.00.
I like to think I confuse the pollsters. I’m guessing there aren’t a ton of people in my income bracket willing to “earn” 35 cents for 10 minutes of discussion regarding carpet cleaners. Hypothetically, if I could complete 6 surveys in an hour, I would receive $2.10 for my efforts. Which is roughly $58.00 bucks an hour less than I was making in my previous/current/whatever-the-fuck-my-status-is job (see below on categorization and how it trips me up.) In reality, disqualifications are so common that completing 3 in an hour is cause for celebration. I just can’t emphasize this enough – this is one big fucking waste of time.
Filling out these surveys is tedious beyond belief. If I wasn’t crazy already, these surveys would’ve taken me there in the carpool lane. Every once in awhile, something fun comes along, like movie trailers, or my favorite – “What would they pay?” where you get to guess how much people would be willing to pay for a pair of shoes. But mostly? It’s really inane stuff about the colors of labels on packages and whether it’s important to you if a company contributes to charities.
I’m actually not allowed to talk about any of it, because I have signed honest-to-god confidentiality clauses. So you didn’t hear this from me, but – health insurance companies are super interested in getting access to our fitness devices, in order to “provide discounts to people who make healthy choices.” I’m sure we can all agree that if anyone is going to use our healthy choices in a responsible fashion, it’s the insurance industry, right? I don’t find this troubling at all.
What else have I learned from this chapter of my experiment? That I really like labels. It bothers me a great deal when I can’t check a box that really fits me. Like, technically I am still employed full-time. Except that I’m not working. But I’m not unemployed. I’m disabled, but (hopefully) only temporarily. I’m also not a homemaker (ha!), retired, or my aspirational category: “not working and not seeking employment.” It’s a conundrum. I spend far too much time thinking about this.
It bothers me that right now, I’m neither this nor that. I like to think I’m all quirky/square-peggy but in reality? I like to tick a box. Or have a box to tick. Or ticks in a box. I was going for something there and I lost the thought.
Spoiler alert – it turns out that I’m kind of petty and argumentative. Often, a survey starts out with a trick question, to make sure you’re not some bot trying to scam them out of 8 cents. I guess this is a problem in the online survey world? I’m not convinced, but it seems to be a big concern.
The most common “are you paying attention” question I’ve encountered is about a boy who had 4 marbles but lost 1 marble, so how many marbles does the boy have left? And all I can I think is, “kids play with marbles still?” This is (one of the reasons) why I didn’t do so well in school.
Sometimes the trick question is a little more creative, like “When was the last time you carpeted your ceiling?” And, okay, no, I’ve never carpeted my ceiling. But I bet some people have. Amy Sedaris probably did it last week. So, if Amy Sedaris honestly answers “in the last year” and gets booted from the survey for it, I think that’s totally unfair. I need to call Amy and check with her on this. It seems like the kind of thing that she’d be pissed about.
And the question about when was the last time I ate my shoes? What if I was a member of the Donner party? Talking about eating shoes would bring up a lot of very bad memories. On the other hand, I’d be about 170 years old with some awesome stories, so that’s kind of cool.
I also find many of the screening questions give me angst. Do I have cancer? Well, I don’t THINK I do. But I could and just not know it, right? Cancer is pretty tricky that way. It’s kind of cancer’s thing.
Bottom line, I’m pretty sure that taking online surveys is not the way to MMFYOH. It IS a an excellent way to get carpal tunnel syndrome, a deep cynicism towards market research and advertising and a shit-ton of spam. I also suspect that this is a good option for anyone wanting a fast-track to identity theft.
So if you’re crazy too, see the links below for every goddamn survey taking site on the internets. If you use my referral links to sign up, I could maybe make an additional 12 cents a day. Per site! So, like, an additional 2 bucks a day for me! (Math is hard.)
Starred sites are ones that I found had some value, however pathetic. In some cases, the value was for entertainment purposes. For instance, Tellwut is an odd little site I find amusing. It has real surveys from real companies, but it also has a deeply strange user-driven section where you can earn points answering surveys like “Did you ever work in a potato chip factory?” Talk about your niche survey topic! Tellwut also has its own resident pervert, who frequently posts surveys regarding sex toy preferences. Ladies, join Tellwut and within 10 minutes, JLRake will send you a “friend” request. Do not accept it.
One final thought on online surveys – although I made very little money doing this from a time spent perspective, as a result of participating I did receive access to more lucrative “consumer panels” (lucrative being a relative term here). I am currently being compensated for providing my extremely insightful opinions regarding pet food, bladder incontinence, greeting cards, refrigerated pasta, elder care and, (most puzzlingly), winter (as in the season.) The next chapter of MMFYOH will delve further into these and other “money making” opportunities.
National Consumer Panel*
Swagbucks* (starred because I won $25 bucks in one of their sweepstakes)
E-Rewards* (starred because points can be redeemed for magazine subscriptions and Audible credits. One of the major losses I suffered in my fiery brain crash was my ability to read for more than short periods of time, so magazines and audio books have served me well in the interim.)
Panda Research (fuck it, I can’t get the link to work and this site generates the most spam BY FAR, so don’t bother. As a side note, I recommend that anyone interested in signing up for online survey sites have a separate email address specifically for this purpose. )
Inbox Pays (wait, I take it back – THIS site generates the most spam. Unbelievable amounts of spam.)
Nielsen Research (yep, we’re a Nielsen family now. As part of this operation, we’re supposed to be scanning all of our purchases. We would totally do this, if only we could figure out how to set up the stupid scanner.)
Harris Polls Online
Quick Pay Survey