Survey Says?

18 May

So recently, I’ve fallen into the habit of taking surveys for money, and it’s an interesting universe. What marketers and academics are interested in hearing about and what they’re willing to pay for that information becomes research in and of itself.

Where this all started was with my wife–since she’s doing research for a dissertation–she needed to reach a wider audience so that she could get better results for her survey. Someone introduced her to a website called Prolific and she got double number of results that she had previously. So… success! However, it required a lot of money that she really didn’t have as a graduate student, but thankfully, someone had some extra money in their fund that they transferred to her use.

I thought–wow! Getting paid to do academic surveys? That sounds pretty cool. So they wanted to know a lot of information about yourself, which is understandable, so that you can weed out surveys that don’t apply to you. However, the information became more and more detailed. Finally, they wanted my personal information, including a screenshot of my ID, and that’s where I started to get worried. I made sure to check the website out, made sure it was legitimate, and then submitted the information. I got an email saying I was rejected.

What?! You make me go through actually showing you my ID to prove I’m a real person to tell me that you’re not Prolific material. Oh, hell no! So I write them back demanding an explanation. They reply saying “they don’t monitor this email account and could you reply through their service desk?” It took me a while to do that and… va-voom! Suddenly I get access.

What was the difference? My guess is that as long as my wife’s survey was live, they couldn’t use my input. Now that it’s closed, it’s open season for me. I’ve filled out three and got a couple dollars credit I can convert over to hard cash soon.

While I was waiting, there’s plenty of other apps which provide the same opportunities for regular marketing issues. These are not as exciting–and not as profitable–but they require very little to confirm who you are. I fell into Survey Junkie and rather enjoy it. They do a whole thing involving points that convert directly into USD pennies for… reasons. I guess that allows them to collect information for internal surveys to sell your information to get more marketers.

It reminds me of a lecture one of the lawyers I was working with explained. People get upset when they sell your data; but if you pay them for your data, they’re willing to give it for free. Modern people know that so much of your data is being stolen from you all the time, but hey, I get a free app out of it, so why not? However, there’s a limit to how much data theft we’re willing to take… but if you pay them for their data, suddenly all objection vanishes. That’s going to be the future of data mining.

Of course, what the heck would I know? I just make eLearning modules. Maybe you have a better insight than I do. If so, let me know in the comments below! And while you’re at my site, why not pick up one of my books? However, if you need to take a few more surveys to pay for it, download one of my stories for free!

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