Panels... To Join or Not to Join?

Tricia Wehner is a blogger who shares her thoughts with us at SheSpeaks

Have you ever heard a friend or associate talk about that "special online panel" that they were a part of, and how the panel was a waste of time? Or, maybe you have someone who gives praise to panels? Well, let's talk about that issue.

I, personally, have a strong affinity for online panels and surveys. I am one of those who praise them. But I wasn't always so open. I was a hardcore skeptic who said that "panels and surveys were frauds that only wanted your information and people could never actually reap benefits from joining or completing them."

I WAS SO WRONG! About 7 months ago, I had quite a traumatic event happen in my life and I needed something to take my mind off of the pressure and stress I was enduring. Enter MASSIVE internet browsing and coupon searching. At first it was, "Oh, I can save a few pennies on this package of food" then it started to grow. And then I began recieving emails from panels and companies asking me "If I had the time" to "please fill out this survey". I used to just delete the emails and deem them as spam, until I started reading, and then answering and filling out surveys, and I began joining panels.

Once I started joining panels, I began to receive opportunities for product testing and surveys, and, to my suprise, IT REALLY PAYS OFF! I have been compensated and gifted so many products over the past months, and I love it! All for browsing the net, answering surveys, and joining panels. But that is just my experience of panels and surveys. Now, we get to the not so good part, the UGLY part.

I would say (but don't quote me on it) that for every 10 good experiences from paneling/surveying, there are at least 2 bad experiences. Yes, out in the internet world where the word "FREE" is like pollen to bees, people from all over are clamoring for a freebie. And sometimes...the freebie isn't real, or even worse, a scam.

This is where the skeptics come in. Where I once was. The "I knew it was too good be true" line. I have to admit, there are some pretty sneaky people out there who set up websites and feature a "free product" to get people to sign up and then they take your personal info and use it for who knows what. That's the scary and bad part about surveys. Panels, I think, are free of scams. But BUYER BEWARE. No matter what I or your sister, brother, or best friend says about anything online ... find out yourself. If it sounds "too good be to true", or you get a sense that something is amiss, then don't do it. That's the rule of thumb. If you never requested info on a product or brand, or the email just seems fishy, dont open it and don't send out your info. If you want, research the party that emailed you before you do a survey or join a panel. It's better to be safe than sorry, you know?

What are you thoughts on company panels and online surveys? Do you think they are worth the time? Why or why not?

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