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How to Recognize a Pseudo Online Survey Website

Definition: Pseudo Online Survey Website
A website that has the appearance of an online survey company website, but in fact is not. Marketing companies or online lead generation companies typically run these "pseudo" websites.

The internet can be a tricky place - sometimes telling the difference between what a genuine online survey survey website looks like, and a pseudo survey site is difficult.

The Difference:

Genuine Online Survey Website Pseudo Online Survey Website
  • run by actual marketing research company
  • user registration information is not normally sold
  • data provided by panelist is used for market research purposes
  • research company is easily contacted
  • rarely is panelist asked to sign up with additional online survey companies, or other offers
  • credit card information is not required
  • rewards regarding survey compensation are believable and fair
  • company background information is usually listed on website
  • client lists, information from previous online studies, etc. is listed on website
  • privacy policies, usage terms, BBB approval, TRUSTe seals, Habeas mail seals, etc. are common
  • typically run by marketing or online lead generation companies
  • user information is often sold to third parties
  • user is prompted to register for multiple offers/online survey companies
  • user is sometimes asked for credit card information
  • user is rewarded for registering for multiple offers
  • user is often sent SPAM as a result of registering for offers
  • company is not always easily contacted
  • company's website makes unbelievable claims regarding rewards. ex. free vacations, products, huge sums of cash
  • website lists very limited information
  • difficult to know who is actually running the site
  • website typically lists only a privacy policy

Characteristics of a pseudo-online survey website

Earning potentials listed. Typically, $75 or $50 per online surveys is listed

Outrageous incentives for either registering immediately or taking surveys. ex. Free vacations, expensive products, large sums of cash

Scantily clad women on website. Genuine online survey companies would not want images like this on their website

User is asked to register for multiple offers during initial registration - legit research companies do not typically want to share panelist information

Claims that are "too-good-to-be-true" are listed on site

Company background information is missing on website

Website promises big rewards for referring others

Poor grammar, spelling, or unprofessional wording. Market research companies use proofreaders!


How do pseudo-online survey websites make money?

Typically these companies make their money in two ways:

1. When a user initially provides their information (usually on the homepage), often times the website sells this information to data collection firms, who then in turn sells the information to companies looking to contact people to promote their products or services. Sometimes this information is actually sold to legitimate market research companies.

2. Once a user completes their registration, they are prompted to sign up with online survey companies, or for other offers. When the user does this, the website is paid a flat rate for every user which takes a certain action. For example, if 10 online survey companies are listed on one of these websites, and the user registers for all 10, the website may make (for example) $2.00 for each registration. So, if there are 10 offers listed on the site, and the site gets $2.00 for every registration per offer, 10 x $2.00 = $20.00. This is mainly how these websites make money, which is through an online lead generation business model.

How to register for REAL online surveys

First, avoid providing your information to the type of websites we described above. This should limit the amount of SPAM your e-mail inbox receives.

Second, our website, SurveyPolice.com is a fantastic resource for connecting with legitimate online survey companies. Visit our panel directory, and click on any verified online survey company listed. You can then see for yourself how others have rated the company, and whether or not you would like to become a member of their survey panel. Or, you can visit our panel rankings page where you can find a listing of the top ranked survey panels, which have been ranked by actual online survey panelists.


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