As far as online survey panels go, you can definitely consider Vindale Research as a survivor. It is one of the longest running survey sites. And its hard to find anyone who hasn’t heard of Vindale.
As a reviewer, my latest task was to get on board this site and investigate if there is any scam in the work on this popular survey site.
If you are contemplating some of the probable survey sites that you want to work with, you will find this article helpful in that it presents a comprehensive review of this company.
I should mention that this is one company that offers loads of surveys to potential survey participants, in comparison to the likes of MySurveys and Swagbucks. And it helps also that this survey panel pays kind of generously. But Vindale Research is not without its flaws.
I was compelled to check out this company in a more detailed manner, after being motivated by the earlier reviews about the company, which collectively can be said as a mixed bag of observations. Some just can’t wait to praise the company enough, while others have pretty strong reservations about its operation.
Consistent with my other reviews on online survey panels, I typically got started by looking at the company’s history and some basic information, before getting on board as a member to examine the nitty-gritty details of the website.
The panel is the brainchild of a New York-based company called SayForExample, Inc.. In addition to this Vindale Research, the parent company also runs two similar survey panels named 20In20.com and Survey4Profit.com.
Better Business Bureau’s Rating
My scrutiny first started at the website of the Better Business Bureau. But really there is nothing much to be found there, other than I realized Vindale Research is not part of the BBB accreditation program, which doesn’t necessarily say a lot if the company is a scam or clean.
After all, a business does not necessarily choose to be a BBB accredited company in order to prove that its operation is entirely aboveboard.
The website did mention that SayForExample is a limited liability company (or LLC) and its current president is Nathanael Ehrich.
After gathering this information that is in the public domain, I applied to become a member of Vindale to gain exposure to the working of the survey panel, which form the basis of my subsequent review.
Some may sidestep this next step. But I always think that before you get yourself into any business (becoming a survey participant included), you should always examine the relevant policies, terms and conditions. Undoubtedly, it is never going to be the most exciting part of your life, but you’ll need this knowledge.
But back to VR…
It was a pleasant surprise for me to find out that VR is free, after reading through the boring fine prints on display at the company’s website. For me personally, this is often reason enough for me to sign up with a new survey panel.
I was just as impressed to read that the company is paying a generous $5-$75 reward scheme for its online surveys and market research.
Now, this rate would simply blow competitions like Global Test Market or InboxDollars away. They also stated clearly that as a condition to membership, new members will have to undertake products/services testing on the company’s behalf.
So What’s the Catch?
I actually feel reluctant to use that phrase catch. But if there is any, it got to be the products testing or “evaluation surveys” (I will expand on this later).
Here the company makes it mandatory for new members to accept assignments in the tune of product trials. The effort will not go in vain as Vindale is completely happy to share the resulting commissions with their members.
The product trial would precede some stock surveys that are going to be dispensed to the concerned members, so the overall exercise gives the impression that members are contributing some useful inputs.
Such product trials in disguise are not running foul against any law. But it is certainly one of a kind as far as standard market research methodology goes, and that element of deceptiveness is unmistakable.
There is also allegation that the payout rate as advertised is unfairly inflated, as the company has a habit of not coming clear about all associated costs that could be incurred as members taking on the various tasks.
Just as an example, you could be handed a task to conduct a test run for some Internet dating site. Imagine that the said website charges you $50 to cover the duration of the trial period. At the end of your assignment, Vindale pays you $65. Work your math and you will find out that your net earning is just $15. But the company happily declares that your compensation for your efforts is $65.
But no matter how the company designs its compensation scheme, it is prudent on your part to be diligent and well organized if you hope to make such product trials a consistent enough income source. When you take on a new assignment, it will also be accompanied by strict instructions that cover the duration required to test run a product or service.
In addition, if a physical product is involved for such trial, you will most likely receive the product at no cost, though sometimes shipping charge may apply, when they need to send the product over to you.
For this reason, you will need to be alert on the exact expiry date of the trial. If you do not make arrangement to return the product or cancel the account by then, you could be slapped with full fee of the product. Amazing as it may sound, there are people who lost money in doing product trials, simply because they do not take care of the expiry date.
The whole arrangement is a no-brainer.
Sometimes it works for me, as this is an excellent opportunity to test out certain products that I need. Before I go shopping for a real product or service, I will check first at their website if similar products are available for testing.
If the item is listed on their dashboard, I will make a beeline to apply as a tester. Naturally, I get the product that I want, and often it comes some decent discount. But the most gratifying part about this is that I can even cancel the purchase if the performance of the product or service is not satisfactory.
Taking Surveys and Making Money
Of course, not all surveys are equal, and your compensation will often be subject to certain factors.
In general, a survey that takes longer time to complete will pay better. And if a particular survey calls for some specific expertise or skills (such as engineering knowledge), you can expect it to pay nicely, in comparison to a survey that is more generic in nature, which could be undertaken by simply anyone.
The following classifications apply to Vindale’s surveys:
Evaluations - $5 - $75
This is simply a products/services trial in a mask. The exercise would extract your serious and honest opinions upon the expiry of the evaluation. Your compensation would have 2 components, the first one deals with the cost of the ’s/service’s, and the second one is to reimburse you on your time spent evaluating the product or service. Invariably, this represents the best-paid task among their offerings.
Surveys - $1 - $5
Good old fashion surveys are available here. Survey takers can take on any survey free (subject to qualification) and they do not have to surrender any credit card information. What you do is to read the questionnaires and fill them out.
Videos – Up to $0.25
If you enjoy video, you will like this option, as your time spent watching video would be compensated (sometimes you are entitled to exclusive discounts as well). The average rate per video is about 10 cents, but no huge loss as the whole experience could be over in just seconds. So if you sometimes get bored with those online surveys, you can switch off survey and switch on video, while continue to make money!
Reward Mail – Up to $0.10
Open your email and click whatever advertisement links in your email, and GET PAID.
Deals – FREE
You receive coupons and exclusive discounts BECAUSE you are where you are.
Referrals - $5
Their referral program rewards you $5 with every time you introduce new member to Vindale.
Submit a Payment Photo - $5
This program pays you $5 if you send in your photo with your payment.
Cash Contests – Up to $15
A sweepstake-like draw that offers cash prize. It is conducted every day of the week. Don’t miss these.
In my opinion, the one feature that separates Vindale from the crowd is its preference to pay in cash rather than points.
In a industry where it seems every Tom, Dick and Harry is so obsessed with a point reward system, this is indeed refreshing. While there is nothing wrong with the rewards points system, the willingness to pay in cash always create some positive connotation with some members, after all cash is king!
For me personally, if the reward system is points based, I know I just have to go through the extra trouble to convert the points into a direct check payable to me or have them transferred into my PayPal account.
This is really frustrating for me, as if I am dealing with some foreign currencies! So I am really thankful to Vindale, as it leaves in no doubt on how much exactly I am going to make every time I take up a task or assignment, in good old US dollars and cents!
Vindale Reviews by Other Users
My dealings with this site so far have convinced me this is one company I can place my complete trust. Throughout the interactions, the company never gives out any hint that suggests illegitimate activity. That is the image I want to impress upon you.
It is just my style; I wanted to reach out to the wild if this thinking is consistent enough before the site is granted Survey Satrap’s own stamp of approval. And the online world is always the most convenient and resourceful place to collect these views and thoughts.
The feedback gathered consists of both good and bad.
The good thing people have to say about the website is its offering called “daily studies”. They refresh these studies at quite regular frequency (daily), so they can be a good source for regular income, and individually, they generally pay well ($1.50). It did not escape me, as I read through these inputs, that this has garnered quite a fervent fan base.
On the other hand, what got people upset is that Vindale sets a ground rule that requires individual account to accumulate at least $50 before any redemption can be made (it is a serious grouse as most competitions don’t set the bar so high).
Some are also not happy with certain marketing gimmicks, like enticing them with the credit score. By the way, this requires a credit card to work but most members acknowledged that they have complete say whether to enrollment in additional programs or not.
One more area that seems to turn people off is its T & C, especially with regards to cancellation policies. Often there are ways to circumvent nasty surprises (in relation to their peculiar terms and conditions), but obviously members are not happy to make to pay more for an expensive monthly service, which they think they can do without in the first place.
So, the wise thing to do is to read diligently every term, condition and policy before you sign up, and in particular, before you take up any product/service trial run.
I have compiled all the inputs I came across with regards to Vindale:
- This site pays cash, can’t say the same thing about the bulk of the competitions.
- Payment can be transferred through PayPal, which is helpful if you are a resident in the United States, UK, or just about anywhere else in the world.
- A friendly referral program that rewards you, as you bring new members onboard.
You can embed a referral link, which obviously streamlines the entire process, instead of forcing you to fill up email ID.
- The organization of the site is cool.
- You can earn money by simply opening up emails and follow the links embedded in your email.
- It serves as a central directory service, where you can link to a multitude of online paid survey sites.
- The site features a daily consumer study, which allows you to make unlimited entries to it.
- The nice thing is that every entry you made will get paid.
- It also boasts of a very efficient blog (other than Twitter and Facebook pages) that publicize different offers, surveys and free samples on regular basis.
- You can have a customized personal inbox on the site if you choose.
- The account overview page is comprehensive. You can get into details of every payment (both completed and pending ones).
- There are plenty of invitation emails about new surveys, but some actually talk about surveys from other survey companies (you can get there through referral links).
- They issue great coupons, but only if these are not limited for use in the US only.
- The cash out threshold of $50 is ridiculous.
- There is supposedly tutorial to help you through but it is nothing more than a referral that pitches a Love Film website.
So, is Vindale Safe to Join?
I still have no clue that why a entirely respectable company wants to mislead the public by labeling product trial offers as market research studies. But other than this misstep, there is nothing this company does can convince me it is a scam in the making.
Well, I don’t think it does them any justice when they engage in such dumbfounded act, but if I were to evaluate a company based on its likelihood to scam and swindle, it certainly passes the entire good checklist. Most importantly, it pays the members on time and every time!
The final words are that after looking through the entire operation and business conduct of Vindale Research, I conclude that this is one company worth joining, especially if you like trial offers from generous paymaster.