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When I first joined Ciao in 2002, it was not to write reviews, in fact I didn't even realise that you could take part in that side of the site. No, I joined Ciao after receiving an email telling me how I could make my fortune by being paid to complete surveys that they sent me. At the time I joined, even if you didn't complete the surveys you could get paid a nominal amount just for being told you did not qualify, I can't tell you when this changed, as for a long time I didn't really bother with them, but I can tell you all about my opinion on how they work now.
---How to get invited---
Now this is going to sound a bit obvious, but if you want to receive invites to the Ciao surveys the first thing you're going to have to do is…..actually join Ciao. This is a simple enough process, all you need to do is look at the top this page and click on the "Join Ciao" link and fill in the details requested, remembering to leave the box asking if you want to earn money from surveys checked as yes.
If the "Join Ciao" link is not there then you're already a member, so you'll have already done this bit, and the question is did you remember to tick the little box saying that you wanted to earn money from Ciao surveys? But if you didn't don't panic, simply go to your profile page, click on the surveys tab, and you'll be given a chance to subscribe to surveys.
---How to maximise your surveys---
Right so you've subscribed to the surveys, but how are Ciao going to know that the surveys they send you are going to be relevant?
The answer is you fill in your profile which you will find under the survey tab. Now there are presently ten different sections in the profile to complete that each contain between three and twenty-five questions for you to answer. The important thing here is that you are as honest as possible in your answers, because Ciao is only "supposed" to send you surveys that fit your interest profile.
Now it would be easy to just fill this profile section in the once and never bother with it again, but that wouldn't actually be a good idea. After all you may buy a new car, or games console, so it's a good idea to check if your profile is up to date every so often. (I check mine every couple of months). Even if you do forget to regularly update, Ciao are very kindly putting regular pop-ups just to remind those of us that are forgetful.
Once you've signed up for surveys and completed your profile it's time to sit and wait for the invites to start appearing in your inbox. And sometimes it seems that wait can last a very long time….in my experience Ciao surveys are like buses, you wait for one for ages and then two or three appear at once. So be patient, eventually one will turn up, but that's where my problems begin….
---Completing the Surveys---
So that survey offering you two pounds for fifteen minutes of your time has appeared in your inbox, and you're ready to click on that link…hold on. Is your default browser Internet Explorer? No, well neither is mine and sometimes when I click on these links I'm told that my browser is not compatible. So I tend to end up copying the shortcut, opening the dreaded IE up, and pasting it into the address bar (this just saves me the annoyance of being told that Firefox isn't compatible).
Once you've finally got the survey opened it's time to answer some screener questions, which to be honest they should already know the answers to if they were truly based on your profile. This is normally where I get kicked off the survey, as I'll be told that I either don't fit the required profile, or that enough people of my profile have already responded.
Another point to make here, is that many of the surveys are either time or participant limited. And if you do receive an invite, then it's best to respond as soon as possible.
After getting through these screeners, you'd think that you'd be safe in the knowledge that you were going to be paid for your efforts, wouldn't you? Well actually no, you wouldn't, the furthest that I've managed to get into a survey is 90% before being told I don't meet the profile. I'm sorry but this is NOT acceptable, why should they benefit from all my answers up until that point?
To be totally honest, out of the last ten invites I've received, I've only managed to complete two surveys !!!!
Now you've actually managed to complete a survey (lucky you), now you have a wait of anything up to two months for the money to appear in your account. So it's a good idea to keep a record of all the surveys you've completed and how much they are worth.
Recent payments that have appeared in my account include a car survey worth 1GBP, and one on consumer electronics worth 1.40GBP. I've certainly never received anything like the 10GBP that Ciao says you can earn from one survey.
So lets re-cap the good and bad points about Ciao surveys :
* Get paid for minimum effort
* Surveys should be tailored to your interests.
*Surveys are few and far between…it can often be months without a survey then two or three turn up at once.
*Often don't fit required profile
*Even if I get through the screeners I sometimes get kicked off the survey after five to ten minutes.
While I think that the survey system is totally up the wall, due to the fact that I often spend ten minutes answering questions to be told I don't fit the profile, I'm still recommending that you sign up for them. This is for the simple reason that if you do actually manage to complete one then you do get money for ticking a few boxes. It's just it's so frustrating that I often appear to be helping to provide all these statistics for the survey providers, only to find that they decide almost at the last moment that they don't want to pay me.