How are we fixing the Survey Industry?

I’ve taken surveys for extra cash since high school and joined my first survey website. I started my own survey website, Nomadic Surveys, last year after 15 years of taking surveys and nearly ten years of writing them to fix the problems that have continued to plague the survey industry. These problems all boil down to one simple question: why does taking surveys feel like a scam? Here are a few reasons surveys feel like scams:

  1. Putting Quota Logic & Terminations at the End of a Survey: A common practice among researchers is to ask for sensitive demographic information, such as sexual orientation, at the end of a survey when a user is most likely to provide this information for an incentive. The problem with this practice is that users are terminated/sent to over-quota using these data points, and it’s hard not to feel like you got scammed after spending 20 minutes taking a survey. This industry practice needs to stop, and Nomadic is fighting to have it labeled as unethical by industry associations such as ESOMAR & the Insights Association.
  2. Unfair Survey Incentives/Low Minimum Earnings: You can only expect to make $2 – $3 per hour on most major survey websites, about 13% of the $15 an hour living wage required in most US states. This feels like something designed to take advantage of the most desperate users since taking surveys with this low an incentive is often a terrible time investment. These low incentives persist because of the industry standard pricing model that prices surveys on a cost-per-interview basis and mixes the incentive with the access fee charged by a panel company. We are fighting to break out access fee costs and incentives to reduce simple bias for our clients and to make surveys better for our members. This mirrors the industry standard for healthcare market research and is why patients receive $100 per hour incentives.
  3. Banning Panel Parasites from marketplaces & API integrations. There are many unethical buyers in the online survey industry who do not own survey panels or write surveys that simply route users through an endless loop of pre-screening questions to try to match them to a random survey. I enjoy banning these parasites from using our services and actively encourage other panel companies to do the same.
  4. Surveys Terming Users with Disabilities. So I have ADHD, and let me tell you what, taking a long survey and paying attention to every question is a nightmare sometimes. Surveys commonly employ a lot of seemingly discriminatory tests that impact users with learning disabilities. To my knowledge, we are the only company committed to providing users with disabilities with necessary reasonable accommodations on surveys.

I know we have a lot of work to do to improve our software and deliver for our members. What I can promise you is that Nomadic Surveys is the only consumer panel company dedicated to making our members lives a bit better with market research. Raising incentives will require a fundamental transformation in the market research industry, and you can help us on our mission by exclusively becoming a Nomad when you take surveys.

Click here to join Nomadic Surveys.

My mission in 2024 is to make taking surveys not suck and Nomadic Surveys the best place to find legit paid surveys.


Michael McGuigan, CEO

Nomadic Insights

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