Taking surveys online to make money is a hot topic that virtually never dies. It is one of the first things you hear about when you start the search for a way to make money online.
While it is a legitimate way to make money, not all survey sites are created equal. There are a lot of scams out there, and there are also a lot of misconceptions. Pinecone Research is considered one of the best around, but does it live up to the hype?
A Long History
Pinecone Research itself has been around for 19 years. If you think about it, that is really near the beginning of the internet age. There would not have been many online survey sites before that time.
The really telling piece of history, however, is that the group is owned by The Nielsen Company. You read that right.
The same people who put out the Nielsen ratings from that little black box on family televisions for the past century owns Pinecone Research.
This means their roots go much further back, and deep roots generally mean stability. The longer a company has been around, the less likely it is to be a scam.
The Best of the Best
This survey site has long been considered the best of the best in survey taking circles. They are different from other sites in many ways.
Sign Up Process
There was a time when you had to wait for Pinecone Research to post their banner announcing that they were accepting sign-ups.
They did not have a sign-up link available at all times. If you found the coveted banner, you would click it and sign up through that link.
There was some chatter that this was no longer the case, but according to the FAQ’s on their website, it is.
Presently, we do not recruit new members through our website or take unsolicited referrals. However, we will be posting recruitment opportunities through banner ads on various unsolicited websites from time to time throughout the year. If you see one of these ads, please feel free to sign up with us.
I have come across a link to a sign-up page that allows you to enter your information.
You can find it here.
Since they are not actively recruiting, however, you will simply get a message to that effect.
You can keep trying the link though. You may catch them accepting new members before you notice a banner ad.
They also accept new members by invitation. They will let current members know when they are open and give them a link to use when inviting friends and family to join.
I am going to be transparent here. When I worked for Pinecone years ago, you were emailed the surveys. I cannot find anything that says this has changed, and since they are not accepting new members right now, I cannot test it.
Their website has changed substantially so there may be surveys posted there that you cannot see until you are a member and have login credentials.
However they get the surveys to you, they are sent to you specifically, either by email or on your account on the website.
There is no open survey board from which you can choose surveys.
This cuts down drastically on time spent taking surveys for which you do not qualify.
Most surveys take 10 to 15 minutes, but sometimes uncompensated, short questionnaires will be sent as well. While these are not paid, they do help your standing with the company substantially. Answer them!
From time to time they offer opportunities to test products. The opportunities vary by company. Some are paid, some offer free product, and some offer both.
You never know, but the one sure thing is that the best offers go to loyal survey takers.
Answer the surveys and questionnaires, stay in contact, and do a stellar job. You never know what might pop up.
One of the reasons that Pinecone is considered the best is that the surveys generally pay $3.00 each. It seems they have now switched to a points system, but most surveys still pay the equivalent of $3.00.
Another reason is that there is no minimum cash out. As soon as you have three dollars you can request either check or PayPal payment.
As a security measure they send a $3.00 check for the first survey, and after that, you can choose how you want your payout.
Recently they have added the ability to cash out points toward merchandise instead of cash, and there is a prepaid Visa option now as well.
Another big difference between Pinecone Research and other sites is their take on when you should take surveys.
With most survey sites, you sign up, then you log on and select posted survey whenever you have a spare minute. Pinecone works much differently.
If you are sent a survey, they expect you to answer it. If you cannot do it right away, that is fine, but they expect that it be done in a timely manner, usually within a day or so.
If you consistently do not answer surveys that are sent to you, you will be kicked off the panel.
If you are not going to be able to answer surveys for a while, let them know, and they will put you on pause. You let them know when you can begin taking surveys again.
They also state in their FAQs that they will notify you if you are in danger of being dismissed.
Dismissal is also possible for signing up more than one person per household or for breaking the confidentiality agreement. You cannot talk about the surveys.
Is Pinecone Research a Scam?
Pinecone research is most assuredly not a scam. It is a legit survey company, and for many, it is considered one of the best for the following reasons:
- No payout request threshold. You earn it, you get it, without having to wait until your balance builds to a certain point.
- Very little risk of starting and spending time on a survey that you do not qualify to finish. For the most part, if you get the survey, you will be able to finish and collect payment.
- Steady pay rate. Most every survey pays at least $3. No more spending a half hour on a survey for less than a $1.
- It is exclusive. They do not accept everyone that applies, and they are not always open to applicants. While this makes getting onboard harder, once you are there it is more likely you will have plenty of money making opportunities.
What do You Need to Know About Pinecone Research?
With all the web chatter about how awesome it is, it can be easy to get the idea that you can work for Pinecone research and make millions. You can’t. No one is ever going to get rich or even make a living taking surveys for one survey company, and Pinecone is no exception.
When I was working with them, I got an average of 3 or 4 surveys per week. At most this was $9 to $12 per week, or less than $50 per month.
Some reviews say that panelists shouldn’t really expect more than a couple of surveys a month currently.
It can be great extra cash, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Some people could make more than this. Like with all survey companies, it varies greatly based on demographics and the needs of the clients putting out the surveys.
How Can I Actually Make Money Taking Surveys
While there are no guarantees due to the many variables, these tips can help you maximize your earning from taking surveys online.
- Open an email account exclusively for signing up with survey companies. You’ll thank me. Not only will you keep spam out of your inbox, but it will be easier to keep track of your survey sites and communication with them.
- Keep a spreadsheet to track surveys you take (by site and survey number), how long they take, how much they pay, and whether or not your account on that site has been credited for that survey.
- Pay attention to which sites tend to pay you the most for the time spent there. This will vary for everyone, so paying close attention can help you prioritize your day if you are trying to make money exclusively by taking surveys.
- Research each site before you sign up. Read reviews and check them out on the Better Business Bureau website.
- Keep an eye out for that Pinecone research banner or an invite from a current user. They really are a great company to work with if you enjoy surveys.
Have you been using Pinecone Research for a while?
We would love to know your experience.