Are Online Surveys Worth It? – I Think They’re a Waste of Time

are online surveys worth it

It’s unavoidable. No matter what keyword you use relating to “making money online/quick/fast,” you’re always directed to online surveys. It just doesn’t fail.

When you try to earn some quick money online for the first time, you see surveys as a goldmine. I know I did. You don’t have to do anything. Just answer some questions and get paid.

So you’d think that surveys would be worth it, right?


At least, in my opinion.

Personally, I would say that surveys are a waste of time, and are actually vastly overrated by pretty much every “make money on the side” article out there.

Surveys are not a good way to make money, and here’s why I think so.

#1: Surveys Are Time Sinks

Sure, surveys sound like free money, and well, they are.

But just because you’re gaining money, doesn’t mean you’re not losing something else, which in this case is Father Time. Or just time, since Father Time is a person. Whatever you prefer. Alright, this paragraph needs to end.

survey ziggy

As I was saying, surveys take a long time to finish. When I started doin’ ’em on sites like InboxDollars, it would take around 20 minutes to complete a $0.50 survey.

Don’t even get me started on Swagbucks, where I’d spend 20 minutes only to see I’m not even qualified to fill that survey. I wouldn’t even get points!

I’m not saying these are bad sites. They’re actually legit ways to earn a little bit of money. But you’re gonna be wasting a huge amount of time for a few cents.

$10 a month is considered “good” for survey sites.

A part-time job could get you way more than that. You could work at your McDonald’s for an hour a week and come out better than if you took a survey every day.

So go flip a burger or two. There, I saved you a few hours a month.

#2: Not Worth the Pay

I mentioned this above, but I consider it important enough to give it its own section. Am I comprehensive, or what?

Anyway, the reason surveys are so common in listicles (list articles like you find on Buzzfeed) is because they pay. But while they do in fact pay for almost no work, it’s an incredibly small salary.

There’s also scam sales pages that promise full-time incomes just by answering surveys. Since so many are completely new to internet business, they believe the exaggerated salaries.

survey scam
This is what I’m talking about! Unreal!

I know, they’re not really salaries, but that doesn’t stop those gurus and scammers from acting like they are.

Some sales pages even claim that surveys pay $20-$50, or even more. You’re answering mindless questions, not finding gold nuggets.

A For Instance

Think about it like this: if you use Opinion Outpost, one of the most reliable and prestigious (I use that word very loosely) survey sites, you’ll earn 50 cents per survey. I normally take about 15-20 minutes to finish each one.

Keeping in mind that the payout threshold is $10, you would need to finish 20 surveys to get paid. That would take you around 3-5 hours. Maybe more, maybe less. Still a long time, though.

And that assumes you even find surveys right after you finish one, and that you even qualify for a survey in the first place.

So you’re looking at around $3 an hour, in the best conditions. Not ideal at all.

Remember, Opinion Outpost is one of the best survey sites. InboxDollars has a $30(!) threshold, and it pays only in checks. SwagBucks, one of the most popular rewards programs, doesn’t even use money as currency. It uses points that can be redeemed for gift survey meme

The truth is, the people directing you to the surveys, and really, the survey websites themselves, make a lot more money off you than they do off the surveys. They have a vested interest in having you join.

All in all, if you expect anything more than a few dollars, surveys aren’t for you. Don’t get caught in the trap.

Note: The Spam Factor

This is just an extra warning. If you go all out and do every survey you can find, your email will overflow with spam promotions. Just another effect to consider.

#3: The Time Could Really Be Spent Elsewhere

This goes hand in hand with #1.

You could spend hours and hours on surveys, and get paid right away.

But come on, do you really want to go past the “hours and hours” part?

The mind-numbing and unreliable nature of online surveys make it so that even if it is possible to earn a lot in a day, you often won’t, just because of how tedious they are.

If you’re serious about making money online (and you are, if you discovered surveys to begin with), then you know you have to spend quite a lot of time starting a business before getting anywhere.

Be it selling on eBay/Amazon, freelancing, affiliate marketing, or some other fourth thing, you need to invest quite a lot of time.

Sure, surveys give you an instant reward. We all love instant gratification. Heck, we millennials stereotypically live for it.

But it’s a pathetic reward. “Cash for surveys?” More like coins. If you spent the time doing something else for a delayed and often bigger reward… well, that’s just a good idea.

Take this blog post. I could have earned a few dollars writing surveys in the few hours it took me to write it. And when it’s done, it won’t make me much money… yet. Just like a tree, it’ll bear fruit in the future, when it gives me leads.

Why, these days I could start a full blog in the time it takes to do a survey.

That approach is how you should look at online business. Don’t waste your time on “quick money” jobs that’ll lead to nothin’.

Online Surveys: Not Worth Your Time

It may seem like I see surveys as the spawn of Satan, considering how I spent this whole article bashing them.

I really don’t hate them at all though. In fact, I still use some of the sites I mentioned above… Very. Very. Infrequently.

What I hate is beginners flocking to them and getting the wrong idea. They often get led to believe that surveys are one of those “need money fast?” tricks.

Flipping concert tickets is a fast money trick. The time lost on doing surveys is far more valuable than the money earned. You need to put some value on your time.time is money

After starting any kind of business, you eventually realize that time is actually more important than money.

Don’t wanna start a business? Fine, read a book. Play a game. Take a walk. You’ll make better use of your time.

If you’re looking for a few extra bucks a month, then by all means, go for it. I personally suggest going with Opinion Outpost, or iPoll (on mobile). To me, they’re the most useful survey sites.

If you wanna start a real online business, though, I suggest you check out the program I used to start mine. It lets you join for free, and gives you websites to boot. It hasn’t disappointed me yet, and hopefully you’ll have the same results.

Whatever you do, make your time count!

Have you had any success with surveys? Do you think I’m being too hard on them? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

And if you enjoyed the article, please share it on social media!

Your sidekick in surveys,






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24 thoughts on “Are Online Surveys Worth It? – I Think They’re a Waste of Time

  1. You’re absolutely right. I’ve done my share of searches in “how to make money online” and surveys always pop up. Even when looking up PS4 cards, surveys are so prevalent. And I’ve taken the time to register, or to fill out a few surveys. But in the end, I’ve never had the patience to push through to do more than a couple surveys. I’ve always felt there has to be something better, I’m getting nowhere with this!
    I agree, surveys might work for some, those with a lot of time on their hands perhaps, but it’s not a career. It’s funny you mentioned McDonalds. I work in fast food myself, and I make far more in an hour than I could doing surveys. Thanks for the article, it definitely confirms my suspicions, and saves me even more time trying to find more non profitable survey sites!

    1. Hi, Jason! I’m with you. You can only do so much before you realize you have to try something else. Like you said, only people with huge amounts of free time can possibly benefit from surveys. But then again, if they do have tons of free time, why not do something like start a blog?

      McDonald’s is just one example. I could literally shovel a driveway or two for half an hour and still make more. You’re making the right choice. Don’t waste any more time with them. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I did try the survey thing for a few days but I didn’t qualify for very many of the surveys that I did fill out. I didn’t like it, I wish I had seen this article before I did it. Very informative but the time better spent is is quite correct. I joined the same program after failing time and time again to make an honest living online. But you have to fail to succeed sometimes.

    1. I had the same experience. Was excited to try it out, only to find I could never qualify for anything. So I wasn’t only burning time, I was also unable to earn any money. Now I’ve learned to spend the time doing more constructive things. They pay off in the long run. And you’re right, we all have to fail at least once before truly succeeding. I’ve failed more times than I can count!

  3. I totally agree with your review. I have tried surveys, and I mean really tried. All I ended up doing was wasting a lot of time, with the return of zero in an income. Online Surveys are a waste of time, and in my opinion, a bit of a scam.

    1. I also tried my hardest. Alas, they are far too tedious for me. The few dollars I could make is not enough justification. I think calling them scams is a bit harsh though. SwagBucks, Opinion Outpost, etc are legit and totally free. Well, you do lose your time, but that’s beside the point. Still, I can see why you would think so. A lot of work for nothing!

  4. Thanks for spelling it all out. I tried the survey thing years ago. What you said is true–too much time and effort for a few cents (that you never get in my case). Also, many of the surveys have a short time frame or limited number of people. I used to get emails promising $5-$50 for completing a survey. Then when started it was too late or they reached the number of surveys they need. Plus, way too much spam!

    1. Hi Sandra! The fact that you only earn a few cents is bad enough, but then you consider the payment threshold and that you have to SAVE quite a bit of cents to actually withdraw them. That really sucks.

      Those emails are more interested in your click than your experience, I bet. And yes, giving your address to so many websites just opens your door for an avalanche of spam.

  5. I also fell for those “online survey” things. I drove myself insane taking survey after survey and not even making a dollar. I could not deal with it anymore and then quit. I also wasted a large amount of time with Swagbucks. I saw that one picture of going from $3 surveys to $500 surveys. yeah right. If that were true then about everybody would be doing them. To sum it up, like what your post said, no they are not worth the time.

    1. I actually tried to make some money with them, but they’re just mental torture for me. How could anyone keep doing that for only a few cents?

      SwagBucks is particularly wasteful, since you can hardly ever qualify for their surveys. You could spend 20 minutes on one before being told you can’t do it. It’s best to just try out something else. Thanks for reading, Karin!

  6. Yeah dude. I agree 100% with where you’re coming from with online surveys. I signed up for some of those and they were a real drag. I literally probably got tired of it after 3, ha. It was just….not worth it man. Anyhoo, glad you’re shedding a light on this. People need to be informed.

    1. I think I outlasted you by about 2, haha. As soon as I answered the first few questions, I got bored. I hope people read articles like these before wasting hours, or even days, on surveys. Thanks for your feedback Daniel!

  7. I have done online surveys for a few years and it has added a tiny bit of money to my income when I was quite desperate for money…

    But that said you have to be really desperate for some money to do online surveys.

    Now that I am earning a good amount of money online I don’t have the time to put into it because online surveys are not worth it for me.

    I know that a lot of people need to earn money urgently but I do agree with you that investing your time and energy into something long term, like building your own online business, will pay off much better.

    I did some online surveys to add a little extra to my income while building my online business.

    1. You make a lot of great points, Lynne, especially with the desperation. I think a lot of people starting out online have that desperate need to make some money, so they look at any money as worth it. Sadly, this means they waste their time on guaranteed pocket change.

      Urgency definitely plays a part in it, but something as slow as surveys kinda defeats that purpose, doesn’t it? The many hours you invest into surveys could grow a business. Long term business, yes, but a way more fulfilling one.

  8. I totally agree with you. When I started considering working from home with an online opportunity, I encountered more than my fair share of “making money with surveys”. It is something that eats your time and energy and delivers penny’s.

    Thanks for your informative article! Am glad to see that the problem was not with me! 🙂

    1. That’s what pretty much everyone goes through. Surveys are pushed as a magic bullet, but they’re more like magic wastes of time. Thanks for reading Marisa!

  9. Definitely won’t waste my time with these survey sites. I used to use them until I found out that you can actually create your own business and make some life changing income. I think these sites are a waste of time and the only winner is the owner.

    1. I was actually in the same boat. The idea of a website seemed impossible for me, until I found WA. Now I feel really bad for wasting all that time for essentially nothing. You’re right, the only winner is the survey company itself, or the affiliates who make the referrals.

  10. I have never seen money making opportunities for surveys. Do you have a post where you tell us more about what these survey opportunities are? I’d be interested in learning more..

    I like to take fun, silly, surveys but I would not enjoy filling out surveys for hours for a mere $0.50 that is crazy..

    1. Are you sure? I’m actually sorta shocked that you haven’t seen any ads or articles about surveys. Not one? Because if you’ve ever tried to make some money online you’ll see plenty. I didn’t think anyone would want to know more, but you could just search Google using any keyword with “money” and “online.”

      I have done posts on InboxDollars and SwagBucks, which are among the most prolific (and reputable) survey programs. However, there are many more. As I said in the article, though, don’t spend too much time on them. They’re not worth it.

  11. I couldn’t agree more that surveys are a waste of time! Your time is worth way more than they pay. There are so many other ways to make money online that will earn you so much more than what surveys pay. I have tried it myself and I kept getting frustrated! Your article is spot on!

    Thanks so much for your post!

    1. There are definitely a lot more ways to get paid online. I even talk about some here. Some are a lot better than surveys, and they don’t even need that much time. And then there’s blogging and eCommerce, which I think are the two best ways. Thanks for sharing, Grace!

  12. Paid online surveys are a great way to make a few of extra dollars a month. If you are searching to earn Six figures a year from them they will not get you there.

    As for not being qualified for surveys this all comes down to your profile. The better the information in your profile the better the survey organization can match you with their client base. Most people are not willing to share the info on the profile set of questions but without that information you will not get surveys.

    Think about it – if you fill your profile as Martha from New york and the survey company has a client who wants to survey women age 20-35 with 2 or more children you will not qualify even if you hit all those markers because you didn’t tell them.

    Surveys can be fun to fill out but to get them you have to trust the company and fill out the profile completely.

    1. Hey Sarah, thanks for sharing your opinion. I think you misconstrued my point. I only think they’re a waste of time because they can’t get you more than a few extra dollars a month. The time people use to take these surveys could be put towards something more productive. Many people taking online surveys are just looking for “six figures a year,” as you put it.

      What you say about profile info is true, and something I overlooked. The problem I see there is, lots of people aren’t ready to give up their personal info.

      As for them being fun, that’s purely subjective. I don’t think they are, but that’s just my opinion.

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