Advantages Good rewards, fast payment, enjoyable surveys
Disadvantages It's not so easy to join
Updated July 2007 re: payment options~~~ First, the good news ~~~
Pinecone Research claim to be at the forefront of online research: “today’s sophisticated and leading-edge approach to gathering consumer opinion.” The company’s aim has been to recruit a wide cross-section of panellists, who are representative of consumers nationwide. The opinions of these panellists are vitally important to manufacturers in the research and development of new and existing products, and will influence “everything from product performance to style, varieties, features, pricing...you name it.”I refuse to take part in market research for an entry into a prize draw, expecting a better reward for my time, and Pinecone score highly in this respect. In return for their opinions, panellists are paid a flat rate, £4 in Luncheon Vouchers for, most usually, filling in simple, multi-choice surveys. In addition, panellists may be asked to assist in product testing, for which they are paid another £4 after completing a product evaluation
~~~ Update 2007 ~~~You now have the option to have your payment credited to a PayPal account instead of having luncheon vouchers sent through the post. Withdrawals are free, subject to PayPal's minimum threshold of £50, otherwise you will be charged a fee of 25p per withdrawal to any UK bank account.
~~~ Then, the bad news ~~~Whereas you might find yourself bombarded with emails, pop-ups or referrals urging you to join this or that consumer research panel, you’ll need to do a bit of research yourself if you want to join Pinecone. This is because you can’t join up by going to their website directly. Pinecone recruit new panellists as they need them, by placing banners on other websites and the trick is to spot one of these and click through in order to register. Depending on the type of consumers needed, you could find the banner almost anywhere, but be warned – they usually come and go from any given website quite quickly.
I have been told that it’s possible to find the banner with a bit of judicious searching on your preferred search engine, as the location of the banners can be found posted on message boards at various websites. If you can find a banner, you might still find that you won’t be eligible to join, unless you belong to the category Pinecone are searching for, which could be age related, for instance, or depending whether you have a baby under 12 months old, or be a pet owner. Should you fit the desired profile, you only need to complete a fairly standard registration form, giving brief personal and household details. If your application is successful, you’ll receive an email and details of your User ID and password, enabling you to activate your account. You may also be invited to answer some household questions; about pets, for instance, or what appliances you use. These details are used to match panellists to upcoming surveys.~~~ The surveys ~~~
Once your account has been activated, you’ll start to receive invitations to take part in surveys, and – more good news - you will definitely be able to take part in them!
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