Taking online surveys is pretty simple – a market research company e-mails you surveys to complete, you fill them out and collect your reward. Easy peasy. This is fine in theory, but if your account could be flagged if you don’t put in the proper effort when taking a survey, you speed through it, etc. Here are some tips for keeping your account clean:
Slow Down and Don’t Speed
“Speeders” are those who, just as it sounds, speed through surveys. If the estimated time to complete a survey is stated as 15 minutes, and you complete the survey in 5 minutes, your account may be flagged. That’s not to say that you must take the full 15 minutes to complete the questionnaire. But if you are substantially faster than the estimated completion time, know that you might raise the eyebrows of the market research company.
“Straightlining” is when you answer the same way to a series of questions. For instance, if on a grid-like survey, you rate an aspect of a product as 5 on a dozen questions, you could be straightlining. Naturally, there will be some variety in the way you answer a survey, so if your answers are consistently the same, you could appear suspicious. Market researchers don’t like straighliners because it’s an indication of an inattentive survey taker, or one who is not putting in any effort to take the survey.
This sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised how many people fail this basic test. To catch survey takers who are “asleep at the wheel” so to speak, survey companies may add a random question to a such as, “To verify your place in this survey, please select ‘agree’” for this question. Not only does this catch inattentive survey takers, just like straighlining does, but it also tests your ability to follow basic instructions. Answering these questions isn’t hard – just look out for them and follow their directions.
Watch your Consistency
If you’re asked a question in a survey, and then later asked a similar question, but answer very differently, you could alert the market researchers to something fishy on your account. For instance, you’re asked at the beginning of the survey whether you have any kids and you answer “no”, but later you answer “yes” to the question of buying toys for your kids. These answers don’t make any sense and are completely inconsistent. This is nothing to worry about if you answer surveys honestly, but if you’re answering dishonestly, just so you qualify to participate in a study but later forget your answers, be aware that your answers will be reviewed.
Provide Real Information During Registration
This might seem obvious, but many people will provide fake contact information when signing up with a survey panel. What they don’t realize however, is that the survey panel knows this! If for instance you wish to join a survey panel that is only open to USA residents, but you sign up anyway, the market research company will know that you’re actually located in the UK. Whether it’s IP tracking, or other proprietary methods they use, there is no point in trying to cheat the system. Not only will you make it difficult to collect your rewards, but the survey company might completely suspend your account (along with all of your earnings!) for trying to dupe them.
The Final Lesson? Just Be Honest
If you’re honest about the way you take surveys, and put a reasonable amount of effort into taking them, you should have no problems running into the issues above. Those who try to outsmart the system so they can take as many surveys as possible with minimal effort, are the ones who should worry.
Online surveys are a fun and meaningful way to voice your opinions and collect rewards. Be sure to regularly check out our list of paid surveys in the UK, as we add new survey opportunities all the time.
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