We give SurveySavvy an A-. We like that it is a reputable company and that it uses a straightforward cash rewards system to compensate members for their participation in various research projects. We also really like its innovative two-tiered incentive system for referrals and the fact that you can start requesting payment as soon as you have earned $1. Although we receive fewer earning opportunities than we do with other online survey sites, we feel like SurveySavvy offers higher paying studies and does a better job of connecting us with opportunities we are qualified for. With that said, we had to deduct some points because of how long it takes to receive rewards after completing a survey (2 – 6 weeks) and then how long it takes to receive your check after you've requested payment (4 – 12 weeks). If waiting for your cash rewards doesn't bother you however, we would definitely recommend joining SurveySavvy's panel.
SurveySavvy is an online survey website that compensates members of its community for providing their opinions on products and services relevant to them. It is owned and operated by Luth Research, a reputable market research company that was founded in 1977. Through Luth Research, SurveySavvy is BBB-accredited (A+ rating) and is affiliated with major industry organizations such as CASRO, the American Marketing Association and ESOMAR. The founder of Luth also serves on the board of directors at the American Marketing Foundation and previously served on the CASRO board of directors for 8 years. Luth Research originally made a name for itself by establishing focus group facilities and a call center operation, and both of these areas remain an important part of their business today. In 1999, Luth launched SurveySavvy with the purpose of helping them build and manage a community of individuals interested in participating in market research. Since then, the community has grown to about 1.5 million members from a number of different countries around the world.
Becoming a member of the SurveySavvy community is free, and the registration process only takes a few minutes to complete. You are required to submit your contact information, age, gender, education level, household income, employment status and race. Once you have verified your email address, your account will be activated, and you will start receiving invitations to participate in research studies as they become available. Anyone over the age of 14 is eligible to participate in SurveySavvy's global panel, and there is no minimum time commitment required to be a member.
After activating your membership, you are first encouraged to complete 2 unpaid "Portrait" surveys that will help SurveySavvy to compile a more complete picture of your lifestyle and better match you with available survey opportunities. The first "Portrait" survey takes about 3 minutes and asks about your current employment. It includes questions related to your company's size, the number of computers it uses, whether it has an IT department, the industry it is in, your title and the decision making authority you have in different departments (ex. Operations, HR, Marketing, etc.). The second "Portrait" survey asks about your health and could take at least 5 minutes to complete depending on any health issues you may have. In addition to health issues, this survey also gathers general information about any children you may have, as well as your smoking and drinking habits (if applicable).
Members will earn cash rewards or sweepstakes entries for participating in various types of research studies (about 20 opportunities per month). While you will primarily be invited to participate in online surveys, you could also receive invitations for other types of research studies like online communities, focus groups, clinical trials, webcam/telephone interviews, etc. Compensation varies greatly depending on the type and length of the project, but surveys seem to pay an average of about $1 – $3 for 10 – 20 minutes of your time. Occasionally, surveys could pay as much as $15 – $20 for similar amounts of time, and then there are obviously opportunities to make substantially more money if you are chosen for a focus group or clinical trial.
In addition to participating in paid research opportunities, members have the option of joining the SavvyConnect® program. SavvyConnect® is a downloadable desktop application that tracks your internet browsing to help SurveySavvy's customers learn more about your online behavior. All of the information is kept anonymous, and the software will stop transmitting your activity if you have activated the privacy setting in your browser ("Private Browsing" or "Incognito Mode"). SavvyConnect® participants are able to access surveys directly from their desktop and will also receive additional paid research opportunities that range in compensation from $15 to $75. They also receive priority when cashing in their rewards. Instead of having to wait the typical 4 – 6 weeks, SavvyConnect® participants will have their checks mailed out within 1 week of requesting payment.
Another way to earn rewards is through referrals. SurveySavvy actually has a patented incentive system that pays you when your referrals and your referrals' referrals complete surveys (takes 4 – 12 weeks for your account to be credited). Lastly, members can also earn rewards by participating in any of SurveySavvy's one-off contests or special promotions that they host throughout the year (ex. SurveySavvy Superstar or the SurveySavvy Jingle contest).
Unlike other paid survey sites, SurveySavvy doesn't use an obscure points system to reward its members. Members are compensated for their participation in various research studies with cash (issued in the form of a check). After you have participated in a research study, your cash rewards will be reflected in your account balance within 2 to 6 weeks. When members screen out of a particular study, SurveySavvy still compensates them for their time with an entry into a monthly sweepstakes that awards 50 panelists with $10 cash each.
SurveySavvy members will receive email notifications as soon as research study opportunities are available. All open study invitations will also be listed on the homepage of the members' area, which can be accessed from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
SurveySavvy members can redeem their cash rewards (in the form of a check) directly from the members' area of SurveySavvy.com as soon as they have earned $1. From the "Account" tab, you will click "Request Payment", which is located next to your current account balance. You will first be required to confirm your mailing address and can then input the amount that you want to redeem. There is no maximum payout, and you can request any amount (over $1) that you want. Once you have requested payment, it could take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks before you actually receive your check.
While the SurveySavvy is clearly a reputable site, feedback from panelists is somewhat mixed. Some people have been very happy with their experience and the money they've earned, but others were frustrated by the lack of survey opportunities and by the delay in receiving compensation. There were also a few complaints about not being credited for surveys and not receiving payments.
I personally have enjoyed my experience as a member of SurveySavvy. Joining was really easy and the website is very user-friendly. The straightforward cash rewards system is obviously preferable to an obscure points system, and I like that I will always receive cash (not sweepstakes entries) for completing surveys. I haven't yet participated in the referral program, but it is definitely an attractive part of their business that I plan on testing. One person I came across said they could earn as much as $20 per month for their direct and indirect referrals' activity.
Since joining, I have received about 20 invitations per month, mostly to participate in online surveys but also to join online communities and clinical trials. I filled out the "Portrait" surveys and do feel like SurveySavvy has done a good job of connecting me with relevant opportunities. The compensation for 10- to 20-minute surveys has typically been in the $1 - $3 range with a few opportunities in the $10 - $20 range. While I haven't been chosen for any of the higher paying surveys yet, I have made a few dollars here and there on the site.
I do agree with other panelists that it is annoying to have to wait 2 – 6 weeks to receive your rewards after completing a survey and another 4 – 12 weeks to receive a check after requesting payment. I also think it is somewhat unacceptable that they don't keep a list of completed surveys with pending payments in the members' area of the website. While I understand that SurveySavvy needs to receive payment from their client before paying the panelists, it seems a little weird that panelists are required to keep track of all survey completes and their reference numbers to ensure that their account balance is updated accordingly within the 2- to 6-week window. In any case, what works for me is just keeping screenshots (like the one below) of my completed surveys and storing them in a "SurveySavvy" folder on my computer. Given Luth Research's reputation and BBB rating, I'm confident that payment issues are completely unintentional and isolated incidents, but I'd rather just have my survey history easily accessible if I do end up having to deal with customer service about a missing payment.
The bottom line is that, if you don't mind waiting months to receive a payment, we would definitely suggest trying SurveySavvy's panel. It is probably best suited for people who are a little more organized, but it is still a great way to earn some extra cash in your spare time, particularly if you enjoy participating in market research.
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