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A side gig you can do if you’re killing time online: Get paid for your opinions

Fingers typing on a keyboard
Filling out online surveys doesn’t pay well, but if you’re bored, they’re an easy way to make a buck without leaving home.
(Elise Amendola / Associated Press)

You’ve heard the expression “a penny for your thoughts”? Dozens of companies would like you to take the expression literally. They’ll pay for opinions. A number of them will pay considerably more than a penny.

Most of the companies willing to pay for opinions are market research firms that help big companies package their products or make their websites more user-friendly. However, a few work with lawyers, who need to know how a case will be received by jurors. Conveniently, in these days of COVID-19, many pay-for-opinion jobs are done from home on a computer or phone.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the better ways to get paid for opinions. But don’t expect this to replace your full-time job. The well-paid options are sporadic, at best. Poorly paid options are abundant — worth your time only if you’ve got nothing else to do.

That said, if you can’t face another dog-walk or binge-watch while you wait to hear about returning to work, these sites are diverting and, occasionally, lucrative.

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Mock jurors

Being a mock juror is a bit like being a real juror, only there’s less waiting around in court hallways and considerably better pay. Generally speaking, you read — or watch — a case online from the comfort of your own home. Cases typically take 20 minutes to an hour.

The lawyer’s goal is to get feedback about how you’d rule and why. If you’d rule against the attorney’s client, is that because you didn’t get enough information in one pivotal area? Did you find one witness’ testimony more believable than another’s? Your opinions help lawyers strategize before they get in front of a real jury when the client’s life or livelihood is on the line.

Mock juror sites pay either by the case or by the hour. Online Verdict, for example, estimates that the cases it sends to mock jurors typically require 20 minutes to an hour to review, and pay between $20 and $60. Jury Test pays $5 to $50 per case. EJury pays $5 to $10 per case. SignUp Direct pays $12 per hour.

To qualify for any of these opportunities, you need to be at least 18 and can’t be an attorney or a felon.

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Videos and photos

A company called Product Tube will pay you $5 to $35 for making short — two- to four-minute — videos about your shopping habits. Let’s say the site is looking for detailed information about how you buy dishwashing detergents, for instance. On your next shopping trip, it may ask you to film your walk down the detergent aisle, vocally describing the detergents you see and what makes you choose one over another.

The main catch with Product Tube is that it expects you to shop at specific stores. If the stores are not on your regular shopping loop — or are outside your geographic area — the app doesn’t pay enough to make going out of your way worthwhile. If, however, this is something you’d be doing anyway, it’s an easy way to pick up a few bucks.

Added bonus for those short on cash: Product Tube pays within 24 hours of completing an assignment.

Another option for those interested in video reviews is User Testing. This site wants you to review corporate websites online, while the site records your interaction. You spend 15 to 20 minutes looking for particular features as instructed by the site and talking aloud about whether the feature is easy to find, attractive, etc. The site pays $10 in Amazon gift cards for each review.

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Similarly, a company called Ivueit pays freelancers to take photographs and answer a short survey about the state of construction, repairs or maintenance of a commercial building. “Vues” pay between $5 and $32, depending on the number of photos required and the location.

WeGoLook, meanwhile, will pay you to take photos of automobiles and accident scenes for insurance companies. The downside is that the paperwork is far more onerous with WeGoLook than with the others. As with the other options here, the pay isn’t enough to go significantly out of your way for a “look.” But if you happen to find one in your neighborhood, it could be worthwhile.

Online surveys

There are dozens of online survey companies that will pay you to answer surveys or view advertisements or videos on your phone. Most of these pay pennies per survey. A SideHusl reviewer estimates that the pay per hour works out to about $3 to $4. Mostly, too, the pay is doled out in the form of gift cards rather than cash.

On the other hand, these surveys do not require your full attention. You can do them while watching sports, waiting for a bus or sitting in an airport. In other words, they’re not worth doing for the pay but may be worth doing for the diversion. Some of the more diverting survey sites include Swagbucks and Survey Junkie.

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Focus groups

The pay-for-opinion jobs that usually require in-person attendance are focus groups. Focus groups typically enlist a dozen or so people who are willing to dive deep into consumer experience issues. For instance, where do you expect to have cup holders in an SUV and how important are they? What car features influence your buying decision, and just how much influence might those specific issues have?

Normally, the groups meet in an office or conference room, and discussions are led by a member of the marketing team. Getting selected for a focus group is relatively rare — and more so in the coronavirus era. However, when you are enlisted for these meetings, you’re typically well compensated, with pay ranging from $75 to $150 for meetings that could last just a few hours.

If you’re interested, you can sign up with FindFocusGroups, Consumer Opinion Services, Shifrin-Hayworth and FieldWork to be matched with appropriate researchers.

Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent site that reviews hundreds of money-making opportunities in the gig economy.


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