Paid survey sites. We've all heard of them. Many of them like to try and draw people in with promises of awesome gifts or good side incomes. Is the National Consumer Panel one of them? There are so many different scams out there that it's impossible to know who to trust, if anyone.
Before you get involved with any consumer survey site, you need to know who they are and what they do.
With so many scams out there that promise you things they can't, or won't, deliver, you might find it easy to think that every consumer data-gathering site is a scam.
If you're considering becoming a panelist for the National Consumer Panel, we've got the information you need to decide whether it's right for you.
Who Is the National Consumer Panel?
The National Consumer Panel is an organization that collects data directly from consumers on a variety of things. While they sound like a paid survey site, they do much more than hiring people to take surveys.
In fact, they’re nothing like the sites that advertise, “Get paid to take surveys!”
Their parent companies
The National Consumer Panel works under two different companies. One of them is Nielsen. You might have heard of Nielsen ratings for TV shows. Nielsen is the company that gauges who watches what, when, for how long, and more.
They’re also part of Information Resources, Inc., or IRi, which gauges consumer habits for companies trying to keep up with changes in their markets. They use consumer data differently than Nielsen does, which makes the National Consumer Panel relevant to their work as well.
Nielsen does more than ratings for TV shows. They’re a data analytics company that helps businesses understand consumers and markets all around the world.
Neilsen uses panels to better understand consumer behavior. They create representative panels, meaning they choose people who represent a larger group as accurately as possible to participate.
That way, they don’t have to try and gather information from absolutely everyone within whatever groups of people whose behavior they want to study.
IRi is another data analytics company, however, they don’t quite do what Nielsen does. They provide data, yes, but they also provide predictive analytics and insights that look to the future to help their clients.
Furthermore, they work to help their clients use their data to better personalize their products and services. Their predictive analytics and other services help companies across a variety of industries prepare for confluences of significant events that may affect them.
Those kinds of events – perfect storms, so to speak – can break companies. They can break entire industries. Knowing what’s coming and how to prepare can determine whether you succeed or fail during such a time.
Where the National Consumer Panel fits into this
This is where the National Consumer Panel comes in. Once you complete the sign-up process, you may become a panelist (it may also take a while before they decide to pick you up).
They choose you to participate in certain surveys based on the information you give them, which tracks with what Nielsen and IRi do. They need representative samples for their surveys to ensure the most accurate data possible.
What Does The National Consumer Panel Actually Do?
In a nutshell, the National Consumer Panel collects the raw data that Nielsen and IRi use to develop the insights and solutions they deliver to their clients. They use two different methods to accomplish this.
Yes, they do have people take surveys. However, they’re not like other paid survey sites. For many survey sites, you simply sign up, provide some basic information, and they have you fill out surveys for which they need people who match your info.
The National Consumer Panel, on the other hand, invites their existing members to take part in surveys. So you sign up and go through the recruitment process, but your primary job isn’t taking surveys.
When you become a member of the National Consumer Panel, you get access to an app on which you can scan barcodes. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can get a handheld scanner that will perform the same function.
So what do you do with your shopping? You shop and scan the barcodes of the things you buy. Once a week, you send that information in and get rewards for it.
You also send in details on things without barcodes, like fresh produce, items from, say, the bakery section of your grocery store, gasoline, and even your prescriptions.
In addition to that, you give them details about your shopping. For instance, you’ll tell them what store you went to and whether you used a club card there. You’ll also tell them about what you bought online.
Another piece of information you’ll give them is the price of each item you buy.
Basically, you provide them with the consumer information they need to determine the details of consumer behavior and the market forces that drive it. You give them the reasons for your purchasing decisions.
How they use data
After collecting the raw data from their members, the National Consumer Panel analyzes it and turns it into information that Nielsen and IRi can use.
Since they carefully screen their members to ensure they’re getting a representative sample of the population, Nielsen and IRi can use their information to create solutions to problems cropping up in their clients’ markets, including markets that are heavy with specific characteristics (women, for example).
They can even do so preemptively, depending on what trends they see emerging.
Are They Legit?
In a word, yes. They’re legit. You volunteer to provide them with data when you become a panelist, and they do reward you for participating in their data-gathering.
Unlike a scam site, you don’t register and then never hear from them. They don’t promise you a decent side income and then refuse to have you participate in enough work to actually get that income.
They certainly don’t make grandiose promises about riches or high-end, expensive items the way a scam site might. They're honest about what they do and how they do it, so they're on the up and up.
They may not be what you think
In spite of that, they aren’t what we tend to think of when we hear “paid survey site.” You don't get paid money to go shopping. Instead, they reward you with points when you go shopping, and you can use those points to buy gifts. You can also use those points to participate in their $20,000 sweepstakes
However, even entering that sweepstakes doesn't guarantee you money if you win. The $20,000 drawing only happens once per quarter. You're more likely to win more gift prizes and more points to put towards your other gifts.
So they're not really a paid survey site.
Also, you need to acquire 8,000 points before you can use them for anything. However, as a member, you also become eligible for perks and discounts on a variety of things, like wireless service from AT&T.
So while they don't pay you money to be a panelist, you do get true rewards for doing so, and you get chances to win money.
How people really feel about the National Consumer Panel
Some panelists love the rewards because they help stretch tight budgets. While you start out earning only 150 points per week, the more information you in, the higher the number of points you start getting. One panelist uses their points for Amazon gift cards. Even a $25 gift card can help you stretch your budget when you need to.
Another panelist doesn't seem too thrilled with how slowly you accumulate points. Indeed, just 150 points per week, or even 245 points per week, means it takes a long time to get to 8,000. If you're saving your points for something worth tens of thousands of points, you'll be working at this for quite a while.
However, they like the perks and discounts. They were able to save roughly $40 on their AT&T wireless bill for their entire family. Given what wireless service costs, a $40 savings can be quite a bit.
They all acknowledge that there's a lot of time involved in being a panelist. That's especially true if you shop at a lot of places where you'll have to enter your prices manually. However, many of them enjoy their rewards and feel that they're using their time well, even if they don't get paid money.
National Consumer Panel – Are They Worth It?
If you've heard that the National Consumer Panel is a good paid survey site, you've heard wrong. They're not a paid survey site because they don't pay you to take surveys. You earn points for sending in your shopping data and taking surveys, which you can exchange for gifts and entries into their sweepstakes.
However, they're not a scam. They don't make promises of wealth and riches or guarantee that you can quickly accumulate points sufficient for grand gifts.
They don't promise to help you earn a good side income or anything along those lines, either. They're honest about what they do. Scam sites are dishonest and make you promises that are grandiose, yet still plausible.
They lie to you. The National Consumer Panel doesn't do that.
So if you want to sign up with them and are worried about getting scammed, don't. As long as you're aware of what they really do and what you'll really be doing and earning, you may find that you enjoy it. It takes some time each week, but while there's no side income here, participating can make it easier to stretch out your budget or splurge a little.
Have you ever used a survey site? Let us know about your experience below.