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Online Opinion Survey Review for Vindale Research

Can you make money taking home based opinion surveys?

I took considerable interest in this question, after reading about all the home business opportunities that seem to always be announced and discussed around the Internet.  Making a home income using online opinion surveys sounds pretty easy. So I decided to try the process and see how it works.

I joined a company called Vindale Research who advertises as "an Internet market research firm specializing in the evaluation of online products and services. We help companies evaluate their products, services and processes. Evaluations are performed by our members who are compensated for their time and effort".

Sounds great!

So, I completed the enrollment steps, which were all relatively simple. I then entered into 5 surveys. The surveys I was offered paid between $10 and $30 dollars upon completing the survey steps. Vindale provides a step-by-step process for the user, which describes everything they need to complete in order to earn money.

Expect Acquisition Fees

I found that many of the surveys have an "Acquisition Fee", which means you have to pay money in order to obtain and evaluate the product. This requirement is clearly communicated by Vindale. This fee is then reimbursed back to the user as part of the payout for completed the survey. For example, I took one survey that paid $15, and there was a $4.95 Acquisition Fee. The actual money I made for completing this survey was $10.05.

NOTE: Like most people, I have reservations about submitting my credit card number. But this is a requirement to complete the product evaluation. I was careful to use a card with a small credit limit in case of fraud.

Three of the surveys required shipment of the product to my home address. On two of those surveys I could not review the product until after I received it. This required waiting more than 5 days for the product to arrive.

Watch for Trial Periods

Also, all of the surveys had a trial period included. After the trial, the user is automatically enrolled in a continuing monthly replenishment program. This forces the user to carefully monitor the trial period to make sure they cancel the membership before the monthly replenishment kicks in. In one case, my monthly replenishment charge would have been an expected $89.00.

For the five surveys I enrolled in, this portion of the process was the most cumbersome. I had to manually track each item to be sure I cancelled before the trial period ended. Each cancellation required a customer service phone call to cancel. For one survey, I was told they would cancel my ongoing membership, but that I would still be required to pay $89 for the first product shipment. It was only after I pressed the customer service rep that he finally agreed I could return the product and not be charged. Returning this product cost me another $3.63 for return shipping.

Track Your Online Survey Activities

I created a tracking spreadsheet for the surveys to make sure I responded to the trial periods before they ended. If not for this spreadsheet, it would have been difficult to keep all the requirements in order. I found the surveys to be a lot more time consuming that I originally estimated. The process doesn't stop after you complete the survey. It requires follow up calls to cancel ongoing shipments and trial periods.

Download Survey Tracking Spreadsheets: If you would like a sample of the survey tracking spreadsheet that I used, I have two spreadsheet formats available for download FREE! Just right-click the links below and select "Save target As" to download. You can modify or change these spreadsheets to meet your individual needs.

- OpenOffice Survey Tracking Spreadsheet | Microsoft Excel Survey Tracking Spreadsheet -

Overall, you can make money by participating in online surveys. Just how much you make depends if you take lots of surveys. Be sure to read the fine print when taking the surveys, and don't be caught off guard with unexpected charges. The survey company is not liable for any of those additional charges.