In the middle of all of this is a new breed of research corporation that relies on you – the survey taker – to determine this information.  For your time?  Many survey companies will pay you to take surveys for money or for other cash alternatives like gift cards or physical prizes and rewards. It depends upon the company as to whether they'll offer money or other offers and special deals.

Global Test Market is a decent standard of what you're getting yourself involved in.  Their practices are not any more or less shady or reputable than almost any online venue – survey or otherwise.  Just like Facebook, when you identify yourself accurately with Global Test Market, you can expect them to use that information in any way possible to make a penny.  The great news is they inform you and ask for consent first.


“I participated in an in-home product trial study. A coffee machine company sent me one of the coffee makers along with about 200 coffee pods. I received $7 for completing 3 short surveys. Plus, after the study, the company said I could keep the coffee maker. So, I got like 4 mos of coffee for everyone in my household, a free coffee maker and $7!” - David W.
Most reviewed paid survey sites effectively promise not to share personally identifiable information or not to share it without your consent. It's an industry standard by which legitimate marketing research firms are bound. But many membership sites reviewed don't make either promise or do so only in a limited or wishy-washy way. Unauthorized go-betweens don't have to honor marketing research privacy standards.
Global Test Market is a decent standard of what you're getting yourself involved in.  Their practices are not any more or less shady or reputable than almost any online venue – survey or otherwise.  Just like Facebook, when you identify yourself accurately with Global Test Market, you can expect them to use that information in any way possible to make a penny.  The great news is they inform you and ask for consent first.
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This is where it can all go downhill quickly.  In the pressure to make as many pennies out of a nickel, a lot of research corporations will not just sell your answers but the data associated with it.  Details that you provide when taking paid surveys such as your name, address, age range can all be attached together quickly to fulfill a lot of larger companies' requests for information (RFI).
After joining a survey site, you provide some personal and demographic information, which legitimate survey sites will keep private. That information will be used in choosing participants to take surveys on certain goods and services. If you get selected to take part in a survey, you will be notified through mail to take a short survey to see if your profile suits that survey. When you are deemed qualified, you will be requested to take a longer survey. 

Never pay up front. Some companies will ask you to pay a small fee up-front for access to survey lists, which is absolutely unnecessary. Check Terms and Conditions, FAQs, or any other area on a survey company’s page containing information on how the company operates. (If such information is hard or impossible to locate, consider it a red flag and cross that site off your list.)
Most reviewed paid survey sites effectively promise not to share personally identifiable information or not to share it without your consent. It's an industry standard by which legitimate marketing research firms are bound. But many membership sites reviewed don't make either promise or do so only in a limited or wishy-washy way. Unauthorized go-betweens don't have to honor marketing research privacy standards.
Harris Poll has made a strong presence in the market research industry. They are a member of the National Council of Public Polls (NCPP), the Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO), the Council for Marketing and Opinion Research (CMOR), and the European Society for Opinion & Marketing Research (ESOMAR). The firm abides by the  standards of these organizations, thus proving their reputability.
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