Sep 18 2008

Beware of survey advertising

I used to take internet surveys to make an extra few dollars. In all, I estimate that I earned about $30.

But, these surveys were about specific products, and in a way, taking the survey felt like I was subjecting myself to one big advertisement. I had to learn about the product, give my opinion on its various features and benefits, and describe whether it would be a product I’d want to purchase and use in the future.

I have to wonder about the motivations of the marketing companies behind such surveys.

True, they probably are seeking feedback on their product. But, they have to realize that when someone takes a 15+ minute survey about a product that may or may not be familiar to them, that’s a decent amount of exposure to their product.

Would you want to watch a 15-minute commercial or infomercial? Probably not. But by rewarding survey-takers with a few dollars, you have a motivated, captive audience who is now more aware of your specific product.

Recently, I decided the surveys weren’t worth my time. And, I decided that I’d be better off by avoiding these pseudo ads.

Today, J.D. at Get Rich Slowly wrote about the prevalence of advertising and how its presence can increase our levels of consumerism.

I think he makes great points.

There’s nothing wrong with participating in survey or opinion groups to earn a few bucks. But, I think we have to remember that we’re being exposed to advertising that can subconsciously lead us to spend (or want to spend) more.

9 Responses to “Beware of survey advertising”

  1. I do online surveys too, and I know what you mean when you say it can feel like YOU are the target of an ad, rather than a respondent giving marketing feedback. But most of these surveys are insistent that you not share the information. It seems like pretty inefficient marketing, since you’re expressly forbidden from spreading the word (word-of-mouth is marketing gold because people trust their friends) — even if it is highly targeted.

  2. I’ve never been impressed with the money that can come from online surveys, either. I also find that it’s really not worth my time. I hate when I answer 10 minutes worth of questions only to find out that I don’t qualify for the survey. I would say only about 10% of the time I’ve spent “taking surveys” was actually paid … the rest of the time was spent looking for surveys for which I was “qualified.” Too much wasted time for me.

    Karen’s last blog post..My personal (student) loan experience

  3. I take surveys as well and never considered the advertising aspect of it. Have to admit though that some of them are SO long that by the end I just want to kill myself or give up!

    Dani’s last blog post..What’s Pork Got to Do With It?

  4. I like the free stuff :)

    Of course, I like getting paid but I have basically slowed my survey-taking fervor to companies that consistently send me free samples. I just tested diapers and two weeks ago baby wipes. We’ve tested everything from milk to deodorant to candy.

    I like free stuff. I’ll watch an ad if I can get the stuff free after. :)

    paidtwice’s last blog post..You Tell Me: Frugal Coffee?

  5. I could not agree with you more…sometimes the surveys are just not worth it!! We just recently tried a non labeled brand of diapers on Little Miss for almost a week….and guess what 3 of them leaked and created a few extra messy clen-ups throughtout the week. I will be very hesitatnt again to try diapers out!! Much rather would of just got a pack on sale with a coupon and had ne messes to clean-up…LOL LOL

  6. The surveys I take give you varying amounts of points that you can put toward gift cards of your choice. I find I tend not to get through the first few questions because they already have enough women or our household makes the wrong amount of money or whatever. For those I only get 1 point and it takes a *long* time to get enough for a gift card one point at a time.

    On the bright side, I’m not being exposed to a lot of subtle advertising.

  7. I take surveys, and some are long but I’ll be cashing out here in mid Oct. I find it worth is because I only cash out once a yr for xmas money, so its well worth it to me. I’ll get $800 or so and not have to save or worry about where my son xmas will come from. Plus we have a huge coffee can in our truck, we cash it in once only, and we count it.
    I will be posting what I cash out on my blog

    Sonia’s last blog post..CVS

  8. Semi-related, you should try out You watch little video clip advertisements and earn points. At certain point marks you can receive a free 1 year subscription to magazines. I watched enough to earn Parenting, Redbook, Popular Science, and Ode. So far I have only received Ode in my mailbox but I’m being patient on the others because they said it could take until October/November to receive. The Ode magazine is pretty interesting. They call it the magazine for “intelligent optimist”. It has some pretty cool articles.

  9. I have used Adperk for Redbook and Good Housekeeping. Pretty good deal.

    It’s one thing when you’re watching commercials and you’re conscious of being “sold.” At least you know the marketer’s intentions!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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