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Paid market research – too good to be true?

Paid market research projects offer a great chance for you to be rewarded for sharing your opinions on everyday goods, services and companies. From focus groups to online surveys there are many different ways that your opinions are being sought. However, sometimes they just sound too good to be true. Below we reveal five key questions that will help you work whether or not the paid market research project you are interested in is genuine.

1. How do I know if paid market research is genuine?

Most market research projects you come across will be genuine but as with any market there is the risk of fraudsters – in this case people trying to get hold of your personal details for sales purposes. By checking out the four following points you should know for sure.

  • Are they members of the market research governing bodies?
    The market research industry is governed by a number of different bodies who recommend best practise and help monitor the industry. Checking whether the company running the project is associated with bodies such as the Market Research Society, AQR and ESOMAR should be your first port of call.
  •  Sign-up forms – These are designed to collate the data that describes more about you as a consumer and individual so will include things such as your job and interests. This is what is used to profile you correctly to ensure you are matched to the best project for you. A form that does little more ask your name and email should ring alarm bells.
  • Lack of company informationIt may seem a little crazy having to research a market research company but a couple of minutes sleuthing on the web is all it takes to find out if a company really exists or not. Check out the about us and contact details sections of websites to ensure they are valid and if they have a review section and testimonials check those too.
  • Beware of big incentivesPart of the appeal of paid market research projects is just that – they offer some sort of incentive for taking part. These are simply an appropriate reward for taking the time out to share your opinions and help shape the products and services of the future. Such projects aren’t set up to be money-making schemes for the consumer so if the reward seems too good to be true then it probably is.  

2. What will they do with my personal details?

If you have gone through the above assessments, then you will be pretty confident by now that the paid market research project you are interested in is genuine. However, you will also have shared quite a bit of personal information and may be worried about what will happen to it.

A genuine market research company will have this top of mind and will respect the need for privacy by adhering to the standards and best practice guidelines of bodies such as the Market Research Society, AQR and ESOMAR. These include compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 which requires by law that certain standards and practices are met.

Paid Market Research

3. Isn’t it just going to be a giant sales pitch?

It’s easy to worry that despite all the checks above that you are simply setting yourself up for a huge sales pitch. Fear no more. A genuine market research company is bound by industry regulations not to sell you anything. This even goes so far as not offering you incentives that include the products or services you are testing or sharing opinions on since this could be seen to sway the research findings. This means a sales pitch is a definite no-no.

4. Will I have to buy anything?

By the same account you won’t have to buy anything either. If you need specific equipment or products as part of the market research that will be provided to the market research company with which you are dealing by their client.

5. How do I find out more?

Hopefully we have helped put your mind at rest that paid market research projects do exist and are an interesting thing to be involved with, and for which you will be rewarded appropriately. We’ve also hopefully taught you how to identify the genuine (us) from the fake.

Here at Angelfish we are always looking for people who are interested in giving their thoughts and opinions on products and services. If you want to let the big brands know what you really think and get paid for it then:

Sign Up Here.

paid market research

What types of paid market research can I take part in?

Taking part in paid market research is an excellent way to earn extra money from home, but it’s also a very valuable and interesting experience in itself. There are many different ways to take part and it’s easy to find one that suits you and your lifestyle. We’ve put together some useful information to help you choose which type of paid market research is best for you.

Focus groups

Most people have heard of focus groups, but may not be entirely sure what they involve. A small group of people – usually between 6 and 10 – are gathered together with a facilitator to take part in a discussion related to a product, service, belief, concept or prospective policy. Focus groups allow for first hand, spontaneous reactions from the participants and allow for honest opinions.

Why is this a good method for me?

If you enjoy meeting new people and participating in in-depth discussions, a focus group is perfect for you. Talking with your peers about things you find interesting is stimulating and fun, plus it’s a great way to break up your usual routine and do something different. Focus groups usually meet for around two hours (though it could be longer or shorter), and you might need to travel to them, so you may need to consider issues such as childcare or work commitments before taking part in a specific study.

Market research online communities

Online research communities are a new and developing area in market research. They consist of a closed network of participants who take part in conversations and exercises similar to that of traditional focus groups, but done remotely, using a social networking platform or private website. Exercises that you might be asked to take part in could include video diaries, blogging, discussions and uploading pictures.

Why is this a good method for me?

Online communities are great for people who have a lot of commitments and can’t easily break out of their routine, for example if you have children or work long hours. They do tend to last longer than other types of research – anywhere from one week to one year – which is a big commitment, but you are in control of when you log in and respond.


Ethnographic market research allows for consumers to be studied in real life environments, such as at home or when shopping, with researchers physically present. There is often a difference between what people report doing, and what they actually do, and ethnographic research helps to determine this difference. It is very valuable for market researchers to be able to talk directly to subjects about their experiences in the moment, which often gathers information that may have been forgotten if they spoke at a later date.


Why is this a good method for me?

Ethnography is a very involved method of research, so you need to be prepared to make a real commitment to it. A researcher may visit you on a regular basis, perhaps at home or in your work place, and spend a significant amount of time with you. As a participant you can make a real and valuable difference to a brand or service that is important to you.

Online focus groups

Online focus groups are the same as traditional ones, but they take place over the internet using a secure platform that you will be asked to log in to. Interviews take place via a webcam, allowing for a face-to-face exchange, whilst also allowing for researchers to share visual information such as videos and photographs. Using technology in this way also allows for a variety of responses from participants, including chat functions, live polling, photo or video uploads and live annotation of graphics.

Why is this a good method for me?

The big advantage of online focus groups is that you don’t have to travel and can participate from anywhere in the country. Prior to the study the market research company will call you to check that your computer works properly, and from that point on you’ll know when you need to be online to speak to the researcher. This is a great method for people who don’t have the flexibility to travel.

Online surveys

Online surveys are the easiest way to take part in paid market research. They are self-administered, which means you don’t have to interact with a researcher, and can be done whenever you choose. Online surveys differ from other methods in that your identity is usually concealed and your personal data kept private.

Why is this a good method for me?

Online surveys are a quick and easy way to take part in research. You can choose when you want to take part and they usually last between 5 and 20 minutes. They are a completely remote method of research, so perfect for people who aren’t confident about being interviewed or speaking in groups, as well as people who can’t commit to a longer timeframe, but would still like the opportunity to voice their opinions on the brands they use.

Here at Angelfish we’re always looking for people who are interested in giving their thoughts on products and services.

Sign Up Here.