The online survey panel industry is a crowded one, with players coming in and out at regular frequency. Due to this, it becomes all the more important for us, survey takers, to recognize the trusted providers from scammers.
And NPD Online Research Group (now known as VIP Voice), which is the subject of today’s review, happens to belong to this exclusive club of well-established companies.
Stick around and you will soon find out more about this particular website, and I would also address the rumors on the net surrounding the legitimacy of this company.
In order to produce a well-balanced review piece, my work would also explore some of the good things being said about NPD Online Research Group, and to find out if there is any justification for them.
As previously mentioned, the new name for NPDOR is VIP Voice. It assumed the new name not too long ago.
When a survey website can boast of membership that measures into 3 million, you just have to agree that this is one of the most popular sites around.
Personally, I am a bit skeptical about the acclaimed popularity because I do not exactly approve of their rewarding system. But that is just a personal opinion, and I will go deeper into that later.
The NPD Group owns this survey panel.
The parent company is a truly international player that has been providing market research study on behalf of Fortune 500 companies. It was set up in 1967 (now you know that whatever reason that drove the founder to start this business, it could not the Internet).
The company claims that it worked with more than 1700 companies and manufacturers, in and out of the USA.
Their specialty is to provide marketing research activities, and that along the way; they supply public opinion and feedback that helps to shape the decision-making process of their clients, with regards to products and services.
With such a track record, it is no surprise that the company counts some of the biggest blue-chip companies as customers, which is one reason the company is able to pay generously for the survey work it commissions.
Of course, its membership of 2.5 million makes it compelling for the largest corporation to want to work with The NDP Group.
There is an entry on Wikipedia about The NDP Group. It mentions that the company is often included inside the top 25 market research companies in the Honomichl Top 50 Report, which is published annually by The American Marketing Association (AMA).
Better Business Bureau’s Rating
In order to see a completely unbiased and professional ranking of the company, I decided to turn to the Better Business Bureau.
There is no entry of NPD, their online version, but there are more comprehensive descriptions about the parent company itself.
The BBB says that The NDP Group has enjoyed accreditation from the BBB since March 1972. This really traces a long time back and represents a good indication in terms of the legitimacy of the company.
The BBB has certainly thought that the business has gone extremely well, as they awarded this company with the highest A+ rating.
In spite of its long existence in the market, I found that the number of complaints and issues registered with the BBB is a grand total of 2. One is related to “advertising/sales”, with the next one being “product/service” issue.
Both issue have since found a resolution, another sign that the company recognizes the importance of customer support and corporate image.
The Working of NPD Online Research
While NPD may maintain such an embellished record with BBB, its operation is nothing groundbreaking. It operates similarly to typical survey panels such as SurveySavvy, MyView etc…
The modus operandi involves user signing up at the website and furnishing a personal profile page. If everything goes okay, the new user will get an e-mail confirmation, and he or she can now go on to take up survey work.
For compensation, the panel chooses to use rewards points system. Essentially, what done over here will be rewarded with points. You will work on accumulating your points until such times you are able to redeem your points through a member’s exclusive website, Sweepland.com.
The redemption options include (but not limited to) gift cards, laptops or direct bank deposit.
The points you make here would allow you to gain automatic entry into any sweepstakes of your liking.
In addition to this mode of compensation, there is also the cash payment system for some selected survey work, but don’t count on it as these do not happen on regular enough basis.
The panel also boasts of an exclusive Survey Points Booster program. It is innovative (but I can’t honestly say exciting) scheme, the whole idea of enticing you to take more surveys on a regular basis.
Take for example that the first two surveys you attempted to pay you 25 points individually. But the payout for the subsequent two surveys would net you 50 points individually. From the 5th survey work onwards, you will be rewarded with 100 points each.
Sweepland.com refers to a website that is exclusive to NPD’s members.
It displays sweepstakes of all sorts, and members gain entries to these individual sweepstakes through the points that they have accumulated. Yes, there is a really wide variety of sweepstakes indeed.
To start off, you can try your luck on its daily sweepstakes, where the payout is $100 in cash.
Additionally, they also organize monthly draws, with the top prizes promised to be $500 $5000 worth of gift cards.
It is represented by a great many top brands, so you can expect your usual smartphones, electronic gadgets, holidays and more.
What I Make Out of My Experience at NPD
NPD does not impose any fee on new registration. While you may see this as trivial, I never believe that any decent survey panel would want to live off any signup fee from new members, who will be contributing to their market research study.
But some precaution is necessary. There are some sites that say they don’t charge anything upfront for registration. But the moment you get to the page that requires you to declare your interest in the various sorts of membership (like premium or platinum), the issue of payment would then start to creep in.
I detest such approach and I would never give a cent to these guys.
But back to the VIP Voice registration…
It was refreshing to find out that they did not attempt to fish up any information on my credit card or my bank account.
Most survey panels would be interested to extract this information when you get to the profile creation page. But this does not apply to NPD, they did not even bother about online shopping preference or any income details.
There is a valid reason behind this exemption. Most of the clients that NPD works with are huge corporations. As a result, the survey questionnaire designed would want to gather public feedback from a wide spectrum of samples.
But there are also other survey types that are more targeted in nature. In this case, you would have to furnish more personal details in order to qualify for such surveys. But the main point here is that you do not necessarily have to submit your personal data if you don’t feel comfortable.
To be fair, there is merit in furnishing more details.
I did that during my registration and soon after I was invited to a product testing. If you are new to the survey market, let me explain the significance behind this.
Normally, no newcomer is invited to the better-paying product testing work. So I was surprised to get an invitation for participation in product testing at such an early stage of my stay at NPD.
Let me just make this clearer:
Most survey panels would hesitate to assign the new member to product testing as it invariably involves cost. They just do not know enough about you and that raises questions on how reliable you can be to undertake such assignment. And that seems to be a completely legitimate concern.
In my case, I got a surprise e-mail invite to be part of a group that supposed to test out a yet to be launched juicer.
I jumped on that opportunity and for the next few days I spent time extracting juice from all sorts of first imaginable.
I remember there are some specific questions that I needed to fill out, mostly concerned packaging, ease of operation and cleaning. It was a decent experience overall and I was $100 richer by the end of the product trial.
One more thing, a big part of the questionnaire is about checking boxes, where you are presented with multiple choices.
The thing is that it is not difficult to handle but the privilege is often accorded to loyal members only, at least in the case of most other survey panels.
Other Reviews of the Site
As a matter of habit, I also ventured to the Internet to find out what kind of noise NPD is making over at the consumer base review sites, blogs, and online forums.
Many are vocal about their reward system, specifically the way the site treats the compensation.
By refusing to compensate survey takers in cash is already bad enough, but when members are not even able to exchange these points for the items that they desired, it is simply ridiculous.
Think of it this way, the hard work you put in is just good enough to gain entries to some luck requiring draws. The system is so flawed!
- Since their clients represent a good mix of industry, like Automotive, Information Technology, Music, Software, Toys, and Video Games, the surveys tend to be diverse and intriguing.
- The survey questionnaire is usually straightforward that does not take much time to complete.
- Survey participation is not the only way to earn points. SweepLand Instant Win Game (available for U.S. residents only) allows you to win points without slugging at the surveys.
- If your lucky star shines (mark my word, it does only occasionally here), you will get invited to product trials or online focus group. Payout is good and it is in hard cash (versus the ridiculous points or entries to sweepstakes!).
- My number one peeve with VIP Voice is that they somehow reject the cash system and stick steadfastly to their unique (and useless) reward system. It could have been so much gratifying if they just simply set the payout for individual surveys, like $1.00 a pop, or whatever dollar value. So when you are done with the survey, you know your hard work has yielded some cash. Instead, you end up with the useless Sweepland points.
- One popular complaint I notice is that even when survey invitations emails come, you still have no clue whatsoever on how much points you are supposed to be paid should you decide to take up the work.
- As sweepstake is a game of luck, I was not surprised to read there is a large number of folks who complained that they never won anything from the numerous draws even after putting in hard work and good number of hours to warn those Sweepland points.
- Survey invitation emails often do not exceed 2 in a week. If you are harboring hope that there are lots of surveys to do, forget it! But if this is your idea of a more manageable inbox, you may like it! I leave that to you.
- Only residents of the U.S. and Canada are accepted here.
Would You Want to Place Your Trust on NPD?
I can vouch that NPD is a completely trustworthy site, and my reading from the web does not suggest otherwise. While this can be a truly legitimate site, it would not make my list of favorite money making sites.
I don’t know about you, but if I turn to the web to look for a source of income, these sources better are able to fulfill this wish.
In summary, there is no question about legitimacy on this company.
In addition, NPD suffers no image problem, as it is the brainchild of an internationally renowned marketing research company. But if you are motivated by the need to earn some real income online, then NPD could just fall short.
My advice is this case would be to look the other way.