How Online Surveys Work

By: Dave Roos

Free Online Surveys

Many free online survey sites reward participants with points for sharing their opinions.
© Photographer: Jason Stitt | Agency: Dreamstime

While you won't receive cash for completing free online surveys, you may receive discounts or free products and service. To get participants, some free online survey sites "pay" participants with discounts and freebies.

Some of the most popular online survey sites that don't pay participants directly in cash are e-Rewards and MyPoints.


Why participate in free Internet surveys if you don't get paid? Maybe you simply like to share your opinion. Or maybe you like the idea of helping companies improve their products. By participating in free online surveys, you get to play the role of tastemaker, influencing the look, feel and functionality of new and existing products.

From the perspective of the company creating the survey, one significant market research advantage of free Internet surveys is that you know that your respondents aren't solely in it for the money. People who choose to take free surveys online are more likely to be customers who actually care about the product or service in question.­

When respondents are paid to complete surveys, there's pressure to complete as many surveys as possible in the shortest amount of time. That encourages people to cheat on surveys or simply not take time to generate thoughtful answers. With free online surveys, you have the option of not only asking short, quantitative questions (yes or no, rate this from 1 to 5, et cetera), but also open-ended qualitative questions that often provide the most actionable results [source:].

A good way for companies to quickly survey customers for free is to add short poll questions to their Web site. Here are some suggestions for improving market research through online polls:

  • Use the same poll question multiple times over the course of a year to identify opinion or buying trends
  • Come up with questions that are fun to answer, but also address issues of buying behavior, design options, trends and shifting tastes
  • Try to write poll questions that address different audience and customer demographics [source: Yahoo! Small Business].

On the next page, find out about survey Web sites that pay you to take surveys.