Internet survey companies are a dime a dozen. Some are “fake” in that they serve only as a front for collecting valid e-mails. Others are valid data collection agencies, but without any true benefit to those surveyed. Finally, there are some that provide benefits to both their customers – the companies seeking information – and also to their members – those contacted to complete a given survey.
Let’s examine one known as “ZoomPanel.” I’ve been a member of this company’s survey panel for five years now and it has been a much fairer “partner” in the survey process in one respect than many other companies.
Depending upon your demographics, ZoomPanel is a relatively infrequent visitor to your inbox. You might receive perhaps eight to twelve invitations per month. For the most part, the surveys are well-designed and offer an amount of points consistent with the amount of time required to complete the study. Zoom Panel also offers occasional long-term surveys in which you answer a survey about a particular topic once a week or once a month, depending on the needs of the customer.
ZoomPanel doesn’t penalize members for screening out of surveys – you won’t be awarded the entire study point reward, but you will at least be provided a small stipend for your time and trouble. Believe me, 5 points is better than a “chance” to win a “unwinnable” prize.
Regretfully, a member is unable to turn in accrued ZoomPanel points for cash or Amazon.com credit. Instead, a panel member is able to choose from a wide variety of merchandise “priced” along a point tier system. You are responsible for signing into your account on their webpage and requesting your earned merchandise. They are not going to hunt you down to let you know you have adequate points for any single item. After 5 years, their website indicates that I’ve received merchandise that they’ve valued at approximately $200.00 – an slightly inadequate return for the frequency of surveys offered and the “point cost” of the available merchandise.
Thus, Zoom Panel is not a scam. However, they aren’t exactly leading the way in fairly reimbursing their participants or at least offering a cash alternative.
It’s your choice.