Paid survey sites, just like all things on the web, can roughly be broken down into 2 categories: legit and non-legit.
While this definition covers almost 90% of the online survey panels, there are quite some sites that fall into the gray zone, neither here nor there, this is what you are about to find out for Survey Spot.
While this panel is 100% legit and trustworthy, it’s not without its limitations either.
No survey panel can claim to be on top of their games in all aspects of its operation. In producing this review, I hope you get a clear understanding of this company, take with you all the positives and negatives presented here, and hopefully guide in deciding if Survey Spot is a good place for you to participate in surveys.
Survey Spot Background
Survey Spot is the brainchild of Survey Sampling International. The parent company, also popularly known as SSI, launched this site in 2000, as its first foray into online research panel.
SSI was co-founded by Tom Danbury and Beverly Weimanand in 1997. It has its base at Shelton, Connecticut and its current President and CEO are Chris Fanning.
While SSI is an international set-up that offers its cutting edge market research expertise to worldwide customers, this online survey panel happens to cater to the American market alone.
SSI has been active in the international survey industry. It claims membership on many international marketing research associations, from ESOMAR, or European Society of Marketing and Research (an international research group) to the US-based CASRO (The Council of American Survey Research Organizations), ARF (The Advertising Research Foundation) to the UK based MRS (The Marketing Research Society), and Japan Marketing Research Association (JMRA) and quite a few more.
Better Business Bureau’s Rating
Before commencing on any survey proper, I always make it a practice to check how a company fares on the Better Business Bureau’s site.
The panel does not have a dedicated profile there, but it is listed under the parent company, Survey Sampling International. What I can see is that SSI is not accredited to BBB, but it enjoys a super A+ rating from BBB (rating range from A+ to F, so that is remarkable).
The BBB site also shows that some 209 “Product / Service” complaints are associated with SSI, but it seems that the company has managed to resolve them all.
The fact that all complaints are resolved is surely a good indication of a company that cares about customers’ grouses and feedback. But at the same time, a total of 209 complaints is definitely something not to be proud of. But, to put it into perspective, all these 209 complaints are not necessarily attributed to the online panel, which is the subject today.
Another point to note is that some of these complaints came through their clients (i.e. corporate clients that engaged and paid SSI to conduct research, rather than the survey takers like you and I), so in that respect, the impact on this review is not quite as significant.
Finally, if a company gets an A+ rating from the BBB, you can almost be assured of the fact that this is a legit company and it does not go around scam people.
How to Become a Survey Taker
It is completely free to register as a member at Survey Spot.
As you to sign up to become a panelist, you will be required to provide some personal details, like your name and email address, plus a couple more that are often required by all survey panels anyway.
After you got over the sign-up process, the first thing that greets you upon your first login is the secured dashboard area. This is the place to check out what surveys are available. As you get going with your surveys, this same place will also tell you on points accumulated, and you can redeem your points here as well.
Alternatively, you may wish to wait for email invitations to surveys. The emails would often describe the survey concerned in brief, like how much it pays out and what the topic is about.
Points aside, there are also cash incentives offered to survey completions, though take note that these are meant for selected sets of surveys only.
The other rewards you can find here come in the form of one instant win gameplay, and sometimes free automatic entry into a sweepstakes kind of competition, the highest prize is reserved for the quarterly draw, at $25,000.
But on average, you get 50 points by taking and completing an individual survey. To cash out, you need to accumulate up to at least 1,000 points. Survey Spot sometimes up to their game and offers 1,000 points per survey, so that you could cash out straight away. Too bad such kind of surveys does not come frequent enough.
The site guarantees that all completed surveys will get rewarded. There are also claims that they occasionally dish out cash rewards for certain surveys. But as far as I can see, the modulus Operandi is more about rewarding members with free entry into the sweepstakes held by the site.
Sweepstakes prizes are about decent. If you happen to be a winner in their weekly draw, you get rewarded with $250. If you are lucky enough to become the quarterly draw winner, you stand to collect $25,000. Alternatively, if you fancy an instant reward, you can choose to play the instant win game, so there is no long wait time between survey completion and prize collection, which most likely is cash.
But where the money is concerned, it would take Survey Spot some 4-6 weeks for the money to get credited into your bank account.
According to FAQ published by the company, this practice makes sure that there is ample allowance for a survey to get wrapped up properly. And the long lead-time also ensures that a particular survey can get to the minimum number of participants, as may have been dictated by the client or the company itself.
In short, membership is free, you can choose to take any survey any time, and there is no pre-set number of surveys so that you could start earning your rewards.
Most surveys are short, with a majority of them can get completed in a 5-20 minute timeframe.
Various Cash Out Options
- PayPal Payment
PayPal is the undisputed champion when it comes to electronic payment options online. I would be very disappointed if this is not included by Survey Spot as a medium for users to cash out. Yes, I am grateful that I am able to cash out via PayPal. While you need to accumulate a minimum of 10,000 points (about $10 equivalent) before cash out, the transfer, once you are able to do so, is like immediate.
- Amazon.com Gift Cards
When gift certificates are mentioned above, you instinctively know that Amazon gift cards would have to feature somewhere. Yes, you can trade 1,000 points (minimum cash-out option) for a $10 Amazon gift card.
- WebShop Rewards
If cash does not work as nicely on you as it to me, you can opt for gift certificates instead. The minimum required points for redemption here is also 1,000, but instead of cash into PayPal, you get gift certificates in return. Participating brands are quite extensive, from Dell to Lowe’s, and Gap and a lot more. These gift certificates would be transmitted to you via codes to your email inbox. You just go to online stores of your choice and key in the given codes, to claim your gift certificates. For brick and mortal stores, they often require you to print out these codes and present them at the physical outlets.
- iTunes Gift Card
Personally I have never been a fanboy of Apple, so this option is of no use to me. But just for your information, you can exchange a minimum of 1,000 points for an iTunes gift card worth $10. You then use your gift card for electronic contents like music, TV shows, movies, books, games and whatsoever at the iTunes store. The gift card can also be used on the App Store (assuming the vendor concerned accepts that), Mac App Store and iBookstore.
Reviews from Around the Web
I did some digging and reading to find out what other people had to say about this site. After all, my own experience only tells you about my personal experience, which is not that helpful when it comes to looking at a survey site as a whole.
I categorized the positive and negative people had to say about SS into the following :
What Members Like
Survey Spot, thanks to its parent company’s extensive involvement in the market research activities, counts many customers that are among the biggest and most varied businesses in the USA.
The significance of this situation is that, for survey takers like you and me, there are always plenty of surveys to choose from.
The direct benefit is that we can always choose surveys that we can easily qualify. And another benefit is that we can afford to judge which ones pay better and which ones require less commitment and time to complete. All these would make us more organized, and as a result, we can strive to achieve more with this survey given whatever little time we have to tackle the survey questionnaire.
Plenty of Reward Options
It is not just lots of surveys, but also lots of reward options as well here.
In general, you can decide to get as many entries as possible to their weekly and quarterly sweepstakes, or that you choose to fatten your cash pile.
If shopping is your thing, you can always opt for gift certificates, and I must say that the participating brands are quite impressive, like Amazon, Foot Locker, and Barnes & Nobel, and these are just some of the better-known ones here.
Once a while, they have these “Spot Challenges”. Sure what you will win are even more entries to their various regular draws, so that intensifies your chance of winning the grand top prize.
Hassle-Free and Fast Payouts (Surely with PayPal)
Whenever I feel it was time to get paid, the cash out process is always non-event and payment moves smoothly and secured enough.
The transfer from my SS account to PayPal is almost immediate, which gives me another reason to prefer PayPal. Of course, you can always choose other payment options as pointed above.
Quick Response and Fast Turnaround
I admit I had some difficulties while checking out Survey Spot (for the benefit of this review). It happened twice when I got no payment even with the completion of the survey. But when I registered my complaints, these were picked up quickly by customer service on both occasions, and these folks get their work done quickly and effectively.
Never underestimate the role of customer service, it can mean a difference between heaven and hell. You know what I mean if your support ticket were ever put on hold perpetually by reps on survey panels that don’t seem to care enough.
What Members Don’t Like
Problem with Reward Points
Some users recounted horror stories of their laboriously accumulated points being stolen from their accounts. But some usually followed up to go on to say that the situations were quickly and amicably resolved once they brought these into the attention of the support folks.
It is not International
The site, for some reason, seems keen to draw boundary among the netizens out there, on both age and geographical considerations.
First and foremost, you cannot become a member here unless you have hit 18 years. Then, there is also this restriction that forbids anyone to become members, other than those living in the USA, Canada, and the UK. This contrasts unfavorably with some ‘real’ international panels, like Survey Savvy, which welcomes citizens of the world to come on board.
Problem with Certain Browsers
One of the most common complaints is about the screen problem as users were at the point of completion, or near completion, of their survey participation.
Naturally, this is frustrating and it is easy to understand why this makes it among the top grouses. But upon further investigation on the web, you would soon realize that this has to do with the version of the browser you are on.
Seems like there are compatibility issues between its software and some older versions of popular web browsers.
The fix is fairly easy: always keep your web browser up to date. If this does not solve the problem, it is time you get in touch with the customer service.
Unreasonable (Wrongful) Account Suspension
I never had this myself but some users complained about their accounts got suspended by Survey Spot for no apparent good reason.
SS did not come out to refute this accusation in the public domain, perhaps something to do with confidentiality issues?
So, Is Survey Spot the Real Deal or Simply Time Waster?
No one except you is qualified enough to make that call.
As a reviewer, all pertinent information (both good and bad, publicly collated and personally experienced) has been laid out in front of you, so you just need to make the judgment in your best interest.
But if sweepstakes and prize draw are your thing, or the chance of winning $25,000 in a jackpot always fascinates you, you may be inspired enough to become the latest member of Survey Spot!
But let us not take away the attractiveness of SS as a genuine site for survey takers to earn cash rewards, due to its massive database of surveys. And with SS being among the more generous paymasters in this crowded online panel industry, this is surely another incentive for people to take up to Survey Spot.
Having come this far, my own observation is that if you are looking for a solid survey company that pays and can be trusted, Survey Spot is a great online panel to join.