Panels... To Join Or Not To Join?

   By Tricias-List  Mar 01, 2012

  Have you ever heard a friend or associate talk about that "special online panel" that they were a part of, and how the panel was a waste of time? Or, maybe you have someone who gives praise to panels? Well, let's talk about that issue.

  I, personally, have a strong affinity for online panels and surveys. I am one of those who praise them. But I wasn't always so open. I was a hardcore skeptic who said that "panels and surveys were frauds that only wanted your information and people could never actually reap benefits from joining or completing them."

I WAS SO WRONG! About 7 months ago, I had quite a traumatic event happen in my life and I needed something to take my mind off of the pressure and stress I was enduring. Enter MASSIVE internet browsing and coupon searching. At first it was, "Oh, I can save a few pennies on this package of food" then it started to grow. And then I began recieving emails from panels and companies asking me "If I had the time" to "please fill out this survey". I used to just delete the emails and deem them as spam, until I started reading, and then answering and filling out surveys, and I began joining panels.

  Once I started joining panels, I began to receive opportunities for product testing and surveys, and, to my suprise, IT REALLY PAYS OFF! I have been compensated and gifted so many products over the past months, and I love it! All for browsing the net, answering surveys, and joining panels. But that is just my experience of panels and surveys. Now, we get to the not so good part, the UGLY part.

  I would say (but don't quote me on it) that for every 10 good experiences from paneling/surveying, there are at least 2 bad experiences. Yes, out in the internet world where the word "FREE" is like pollen to bees, people from all over are clamoring for a freebie. And sometimes...the freebie isn't real, or even worse, a scam. 

  This is where the skeptics come in. Where I once was. The "I knew it was too good be true" line. I have to admit, there are some pretty sneaky people out there who set up websites and feature a "free product" to get people to sign up and then they take your personal info and use it for who knows what. That's the scary and bad part about surveys. Panels, I think, are free of scams. But BUYER BEWARE. No matter what I or your sister, brother, or best friend says about anything online ... find out yourself. If it sounds "too good be to true", or you get a sense that something is amiss, then don't do it. That's the rule of thumb. If you never requested info on a product or brand, or the email just seems fishy, dont open it and don't send out your info. If you want, research the party that emailed you before you do a survey or join a panel. It's better to be safe than sorry, you know? 

   What are you thoughts on company panels and online surveys? Do you think they are worth the time? Why or why not?

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kayliejadezmom99 by kayliejadezmom99 | MECHANICSVLLE, VA
Mar 14, 2012

I think some are great. Ive recieved checks,real ones for simple tasks. But some are scams,which is scary,ans some just require too much time. But overall my opinion is pretty good on panels etc..

Your1chef by Your1chef | Spring Hill, FL
Mar 13, 2012

I am a member of a few panels that after trial and error I found. It is like anything- go in with your eyes wide open. Ask for feedback from family/friends and see what they recommend. Start out slow and do not expect to get rich overnight. Have fun- they are surveys- not a job interview.

tara19652006 by tara19652006 | ALBUQUERQUE, NM
Mar 09, 2012

I enjoy panels to help companies with making and improving products. The test of the product is fun especialy when I see the product on the shelf in the store. I agree that some people dont take testing serious as I have tested products that failed and then see it in the store and wonder why.

Mommyof4ts by Mommyof4ts | SMITHFIELD, ME
Mar 07, 2012

Ive found a lot that I dont like and a few that I do like. I really hate the ones where you spend 20 minutes answering questions to be told you dont qualify for the survery, there have to be better ways to do that. Other panels i do like, i like being able to give my opinion of things ive used/tried and get rewarded in the end.

heavenly41 by heavenly41 | PORTLAND, OR
Mar 06, 2012

BzzAgent, Smiley360:), Opinion Outpost and e-rewards (In 2 days my husband earned enough for a $25 GameStop gift card), pinecone is a great one for mothers, also look up research studies being conducted through your city (a lot of cities have sites). Also all your favorite brands look-up on the internet and usually there is some sort of panel to join.

Tricias-List by Tricias-List | Millersville, MD
Mar 04, 2012

@jemappel - thank you for the insight ! I should have mentioned that the panels really do want HONEST opinions,and if you are a part of a "word of mouth" panel community,that you should not try to to "sell the product". Meaning,don't trump it up to get people to buy;just tell your experience/opinion. I appreciate the opportunities that the panels I belong to give me because I do love to voice my opinion (sometimes good,sometimes not so good).The end result of being a panelist (if you choose to be one) should be to help companies better understand their consumers and make their products better for us !

xenagirl by xenagirl | KANSAS CITY, MO
Mar 02, 2012

I know of a panel call smiley360 it is a try products for free and realky easy all you you is share your story of the product andthat you recived your free sample if interested please let me know so you can help me out by my referral link. It is legit causei received my free sample of children's advil after I qualified for the mission. This is a sharing site the more you share the more chance of new mission surveys to see if you qualify to receive a sample of the product. I didn't share enough for my woolite complete mission to receive a free full size product. This site is great full size products. Please let me know if interested.

ilovesummerX by ilovesummerX | Las Vegas, NV
Mar 01, 2012

I think it all depends. I've found there's a lot of bad websites out there, more than there are good ones. I am part of a couple of sites to where I write reviews and provide feedback. With one of them I do get compensated for the feedback that I provide which is awesome. That's probably the only site I've had much luck with.

wagarific918 by wagarific918 | Barnegat, NJ
Mar 01, 2012

I love panels. I like having the ability to give my honest opinion, even if it is a negative one, to companies. I also like to praise them when I love their products...The free items received are an added perk :)

crisss by crisss | New york, NY
Mar 01, 2012

I'm a member of a few survey companies. I love giving my opinion & sometimes trying new products or products that are being improved. I don't like the ones where you get points for answering the survey & then you have to apply your points to the prizes. I had unsubscribed to those because I never won anything. I prefer to get points where I can pick my own prize once I accumulate enough points. I really prefer ones that offer cash or paypay, because then I can do whatever I want with the money. There were some that I joined but all's it was, was looking at ads, not my thing. Basically unless you know of the good ones out there, you can easily get burned.

rrr75150 by rrr75150 | MESQUITE, TX
Mar 01, 2012

I just want to add I love giving my opinion on different product and food I have ran across alot of product that I have used and thinks they sucks and wanted to let the manufacturer know what they need to improve on. I think its alot of people out there really want to do survey and product testing to help and not just out to get freestuff.

localceleb by localceleb | WICKLIFFE, OH
Mar 01, 2012

I have joined quite a few and it's working out great for me! I have rec'd a few products to test and they were well worth my while. Find out what works for you.

alice919 by alice919 | BATON ROUGE, LA
Mar 01, 2012

I have joined quite a few product testing and paid survey sites and I definetely have had good results. Of course, there are those out there that are duds and are just ads all the time. But I have joined many that make me feel like I get to influence my favorite products and give feedback on them. Also, I have gotten products to test and keep and have been paid cash and gift cards. You can find some of the sites I have liked the best at my blog

spark5 by spark5 | PITTSBURGH, PA
Mar 01, 2012

@mardel (general mills) ( pinecone research swagbucks irazoo zoombucks once you check them out & see which ones you want to/can join - you can help me out by using my referral link - so let me know...! & there's lots of other survey panel sites Harris Poll

Andrear25 by Andrear25 | SPRNGFLD GDNS, NY
Mar 01, 2012

I've joined a few panels, tested a couple of products and have done lots of surveys - some of which can be quite long. Also, I have received a few small gift cards and have lots of points with a couple of panels...that I'm not sure what to do with. I do enjoy the surveys and like the feeling that my opinions/experiences can help in some way.