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The Dream Money for nothing, well that is the idea at least money for sitting on your arse a not doing very much, that is the appeal of these surveys, you simply fill in a few details about your habits, nasty or otherwise and get paid a handsome reward.
Along with the tupence's you get for writing reviews etc, this is a great way of piling in the extra cash, after all there is no research to be done, you can even make the answers up if you are entirely unethical…Who's gonna know ?… I wont tell, if you don't, in fact you could probably make enough money to go on holiday, buy a new pair of shoes, or that Gucci hand bag you've been promising yourself…Tee Hee you must be flippin' joking unless you've seen one in the Oxfam shop for 50p.
The Theory. When you have been on Ciao for a while you will start to get emails from Ciao inviting you to take part in surveys, on a random range of subjects, from electrical goods, advertising, breakfast cereal etc. In fact the selection in theory is not so random as the surveys you are sent are supposed to reflect the information you provide in your member profile, where you give information to Ciao about your hobbies, interests etc. they use this information to send YOU appropriate surveys about subjects you allegedly know something about.
These emails will plop onto your email doormat, without warning and at irregular intervals, at first when I was a new member I used to grumble the "I 'ardly ever get 'em, it's not bloomin' fair", I thought everyone else was raking the dosh, in and I was missing out, but now I seem to get them pretty regularly and generally assign them to the trash can (reasons given later)
The Reality Oh dear where can I start. This is not the free lunch, money for nothing cash machine you originally thought it was and while there is some money to be made from filling in these surveys works out at about £3 an hour if you are lucky, well below the minimum wage, and you would earn more money flipping burgers at McDonalds.
You come home from work and find there's a new survey in your mailbox £3.50 for a survey on internet activities for example…"coo yeah I'll 'ave a go at that before me tea, it shouldn't take long".. you must be joking for £3.50 you'll be there all night mate, that's a real biggy in reward terms they generally range from £1 to £2.50 in my experience, and you will be expected to WORK for it. So if you entertain any notions of getting your tea before suppertime, my advice is to eat first or take it with you to sustain you on the long dark journey of the soul, often found in the guise of a Ciao survey.
All you need to do is click on the link in the email and this will take you to the survey page, where you will begin the first part of the survey, the screening.
Screening This is the part of the survey I hate more than the survey it'self. It's a mini survey and it's a CON. They ask you all kinds of screening questions to see if you are suitable to take part in the main survey, questions like age, Gender, Marital status etc, and if you have any particular products they are surveying. I had a £1.80 survey on 'Internet Usage' last week and spent five minute filling in the screening questions, thinking that it was taking so long to do, that I must be well into the proper survey by now, only to be told after taking a a good 5-10 minutes of my time that I was not of the correct user group they where looking for….GRRRRR !!!…What a flippin' con, they've had a mini survey out of me already and I'm not going to see a penny for it. This has happened to me once too often and now nearly all my Ciao surveys go straight to the recycle bin.
If you are lucky enough to be one of the exalted few that they choose to be one of the participants you will then be passed on the main survey where you will be asked a veritable avalanche of questions in order to earn your few quid, exploring every nook and cranny of your knowledge and experience of the given subject.
Filling in the Survey There are two ways of doing this the Express way (for sensible people) and the hard way (for honest people and those with a religious affliction for telling the truth)
You will be asked a series of primer questions that relate to the questions to be asked later in the survey. (hint if you give too many answers at this point you could be making a rod for your own back as they may multiply the number of questions you get later on)
If the survey is about breakfast cereal for example you may be asked
Which of these breakfast cereals do you eat on a regular basis:
Don't whatever you do select all these products, even if you do have a different breakfast cereal every day of the week because if you do you will be asked the following supplementary questions on EVERY box you have ticked…Arrrgghhh…!!! Something I only learned with bitter experience. For the earnest, hard working fellows amongst you , you may wish to be truthful at this point and check all the boxes relevant to you , in which case you have my hearty congratulations, on being a stout and honest fellow, even though you may be sitting there half the night filling in the rest of the survey ps you won't get any more money for that just the knowledge of a job well done, and a peaceful soul as you wend your tiresome way to bed having spent the evening working like a coolie, for a marketing company who doesn't give a damn about you and is paying you a laughable pittance, less than the minimum wage to pummel you for answers, so they can go and make more money out of you by marketing the product "right back atcha!"
The Express route at this stage for the rest of us mere mortals would be to withhold "some" of the truth at this point and just answer "Cornflakes", after all most of us can only afford one box of cereals a week if you are poor as a church mouse like, me and has to resort to writing reviews on Ciao for entertainment and filling in surveys because I can't afford to do anything else. Leave the multi answered, multi layered multi cereal, Bran Flakes, Corn Flakes, Porridge guzzling procrastinators to spend their whole evening answering questions on every breakfast cereal under the sun if they want to, they will be lucky to be up in time for their breakfast LOL. If you are clever like wot I am, and now forewarned and therefore forearmed you will learn to recognise when a question is just a primer for those yet to come, and learn the artful dodges required to get through a survey before the cock crows.
I will elucidate, back to our breakfast cereal, we being of sound mind and body simply answer "Cornflakes" to the primer question and as we move to the next stage, we will be asked further questions on this choice.
How many times a week do you eat this product ? How often do you buy this product ? How do you rate this product for taste ? How do you rate for value for money ? How do you like the packaging ? How does it rate to similar products ? Etc ? Etc ? Etc ?
As you can see you now being asked to go into all kinds of detail about your humble bowl of cornflakes, which would now have been exasperated to the power of 5 or 10, depending on how many cereals you chose from the initial list, and…Oh yes, you have to answer every one, and… Oh no, there's no going back to change the answer. So pity the poor sap who in his ignorance or honesty listed the entire contents of his kitchen cupboard, in his attempt to give a full and earnest answer for his £1.50.
I think the point here is that time is money, and the less time you spend filling in the questions the better the return is in monetary terms and also you are not being paid enough for this kind of inquisition.
If you attempt to fill these surveys in just before Tea as I have already warned against you will probably find your self being a good boy for the first part of the survey, answering each question in turn and to the best of your ability, and gradually less studious as time goes by and your tummy starts to rumble. You will start skimming and skipping through questions giving multiple same answers as you whiz through the blocks of multi choice questions, at breakneck speed in order to get the bloomin' thing, flippin' finished.
I think any question setter worth his salt will have learned buy now if he has ever attempted one of his own surveys to put the important questions at the beginning or in the middle, but NEVER at the end because by this time the participant has either lost interest, starving to death, or bursting for the toilet.
Most surveys follow the same kind of set up, you can apply my breakfast cereal example to almost anything, don't make too much work for your self as you won't get any more money for it.
The Pay Off Usually these are fairly prompt though it is usually a few weeks before you see anything in your account. The money will be paid direct into your Ciao account, and you can draw on your funds in the same way.
Conclusion Filling in surveys is a bit different to writing reviews, because you can only give a set response from a specific question other than writing what you want to say about a product, so it is not as creative as writing a review and can be unrewarding from that point of view and also no-one gets to read your opinions or have a laugh at your ideas, like they usually do which is a big part of the Ciao experience.
I have for the most part absented myself from these instruments of torture for the time being at least as they have proved to be more trouble than they are worth, what with being ripped off over the screening questions and all that. Even though they are generally a no brainer, and many people are in favour of them, if you do too many I think you will eventually end up as a no brainer yourself, better stick to writing reviews.