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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This one isn't about Soup at all!

We've talked before about DollarSurveys. It's the easiest way to make fast money (in small amounts) that either of us has found thus far. No sign up, no membership, no frills. You complete a survey, you get a buck. Directly to your PayPal account, with no need to furnish 47 kinds of ID or go through about 15 middle men to access your money. Sounds great, right?

Well, it is and it isn't. I've made 6 bucks from them. Now, you may be asking yourself: Six bucks? After two solid months of doing the blog? PITTANCE! First off, six bucks isn't nothing. That's actually a fair amount of money in the internet-free-money game. Secondly, I haven't been taking my survey every day (because I'm lazy). However, I can't deny that if it is as easy as I've been claiming, I certainly should have made more than the price of an SDB.

The issue is that in order to make the dollar, you have to 'qualify' for the survey. What this means is that the people who are offering these surveys are only interested in certain demographics...and if you're not in that demographic, you fail out of the survey. No big deal, right? You can just try again. Except that those survey bastards sometimes put the demographic questions at the end of the survey. So you just spend like 15 minutes answering questions about pie or contacts or motor oil for nothing. Sucker.

Well, fear not! After completing my 7th successful survey today, I feel like I'm not qualified to give you some lessons on how to succeed. We'll do a sort of walkthrough about the survey I just took, with some great tips by me.

Surprise! It's about soup!

Firstly, it pays to be general. The first screen you will see at Dollar Surveys will have a bunch of statements with checkboxes. Things like "I have 10-13 year old kids," and "I purchase food," and "I will lie like a sailor at the slightest provocation." The answers to them are pretty self-evident. I check anything that seems like a potential survey topic, and leave blank anything that seems like a trap. Now, if you are a moral person, you may have some qualms about disrupting the scientific methodology by checking boxes that are perhaps less than perfectly accurate representations of the truth. That's fine by me. You can rest your conscience and check only the ones that are strictly true.

I believe in more of a fundamental concept of truth...I may not actually purchase toys for 10-13 year old children--but I damn sure have an opinion about them. Also...this screen is the first of the trials between you and your money. Sure, the penitent man will pass, but the dishonest opportunist gets the internet bucks, kids. Remember that bit where guy gets his head cut off and it rolls for like a hundred feet? Don't let that be you.

You will then be sent off-site to whatever survey distributor you get selected for. If you use NoScript, make sure you immediately temp-allow the whole page. Many many surveys have been ruined by NoScript. If the survey sight can't load it's own content, it sends you right back to the DollarSurveys failpage, and you get no money. Should have kneeled, brah.

Make turn off NoScript.

The first couple of questions are usually going to be your gate-keeper questions. These are the ones you see the most often:
Do you work for a marketing firm/ad agency/etc?
What is your yearly income?
What is your race?
Where do you live?
How much schoolin' did you get?
The answer to the first one is always no. It's the same as the rule for McMonopoly...the one about how you can't win if you or your family work for the company. Survey's do it because if you are affiliated with a rival product, you may 'tank' the survey intentionally. Would people really do that? Seriously? Man, soup industrial espionage....who knew? Anyway, chances are you don't work for any of those companies anyway. I mean, those jobs pay in money (the real kind)...if you're clearing sweet money checks like that, you're probably not going to be on here learning how to hussle 4 cents a day.

The rest of the questions don't have a correct answer. It varies depending on what the company is looking for on any given day. Really, the only advice I can give you is to pay attention to the "product family" referenced in question 1. If they're making sure you don't work in Soups/Broths/Stocks, it's a good bet that the survey is going to be about some manner of tasty canned fluids. If your demographic doesn't make the cut, you know to switch it up a bit the next time Soup comes around again on the wheel.

That not good enough? Ok, I'll do you one better. Here's a golden demographic rule: Nobody likes the poor. They usually ask you about income and employment, and you truthy types may feel obligated to respond 'unemployed' and 'less than $15,000'. Perhaps you're thinking that this is an innocous question asked because they just want to know more about you. Perhaps you think that everybody's opinion matters, and that your opinion on soup is worth just as much as someone who eats it off a golden spoon.

You're wrong. Nobody likes you.

The reason why is simple...They're asking your opinion on soup in the effort to design a better selling soup. Now, the catch-22 is that they're paying you to give your opinion...this attracts a certain kind of penniless, jobless, loser who lives with his family for like 50 bucks a month even though they watch SYTYCD at roughly 500 decibels every weeknight for about 16 hours.

Well, I was thinking mostly about how they sound alike...but the resemblance is pretty uncanny, no?

Anyway, that person (who is totally not me) isn't susceptible to awesome marketing ploys. That person just buys whatever-damn-soup-is-cheap (if they buy soup at all). It doesn't matter how 'warm' they feel toward it. It doesn't matter how healthy they think it is. It doesn't matter how personally relevant I--er...the person we're talking about--find the it cheap? Yes/No? How can a Soup be relevant? What does 'relevant' even mean in that context? Hip? Informed? Meaningful?

I find Chicken Noodle the most trendy, but Corn Chowder has way more sex appeal.

Tangent over. Lesson? People hate the poor. So don't be poor. Answer that you're employed full time and that you make somewhere in the middle of the scale per year. Again, you can tell the truth...but while you're freezing to death with your integrity, I'll be living the good life with babes and mimosas and six dollars.

You have chosen...poorly. Soup hates the poor.

Still with us? Good! You've given in to the quick and easy path, and should now be golden. Should you answer the previous questions truthfully (wrongly), you'll get kicked back to the DS failpage and have the chance to start again. There doesn't seem to be a limit on trying again though, so feel free to keep trying until you swallow your sense of right and wrong and/or give up in frustration.

Now the fun part begins. You get to answer somewhere between 20 and 1,000 really ridiculous questions about whatever the survey is about. And I mean truly wacky stuff here. Not simple things like "Uh, what soup do you like best?"; which, while prosaic, seems to be useful information. No, instead you get questions like "Would you recommend this soup to a friend?" and "Which soup exhibits a sense of wonder and childlike simplicity?"...oh, and this gem: "Which soup do you associate with the phrase "M'm! M'm! Good! At Work!". No, really. Don't believe me?

Well, the first thing that sprung to mind was 'Healthy Choice! Cream of! Wild Mush!roo'm!

It sounds kind of asinine, but in reality I have a blast every time I get into one like this. In this particular instance, I got to answer questions about ad spots I may have seen on the TV. I took the liberty of screencapping them, with the captions replaced to protect (and make legally distinct) the innocent:

This is one of those things that I found because of the blog-for-money thing...but am sticking with because it's kind of fun for me. Is it going to make you some kind of netillionaire? Well, no. But six dollars is six dollars.

P.S. - We at LE have nothing but love and respect for both the DoubleDown and Bees. Just wanted that clear.