What is Respondent?
Respondent.io is a website that helps companies like Allstate and eBay perform market research studies. It does this by connecting such companies with verified “respondents” – that’s you – who apply to participate in the studies.
Respondents are paid for each study they complete, sometimes as much as $500. (Don’t get your hopes up – this is rare!)
The majority of the studies are performed online or via phone (i.e. remote), while some require you to meet with a researcher (i.e. in-person).
This Respondent review will help you decide if it’s worth your time signing up to the site and applying for some studies.
Table Of Contents
This review is a joint effort between Niall Doherty (founder of eBiz Facts) and several of our readers.
- Niall signed up for Respondent and personally applied to participate in 23 remote studies.
- We referred 31 readers of eBiz Facts to Respondent by sharing our referral link via our email newsletter and social media.
- We followed up with as many of those readers as possible, asked about their experience using Respondent, and gathered data.
- We crunched the numbers to determine how much time we had collectively spent applying for and participating in studies on Respondent. We also calculated our total earnings.
- We searched online for other reviews of Respondent to see if there were any key points we missed.
- We wrote a first draft of this review.
- We sent the draft to our Freedom Business Builder community and asked for feedback.
- We made our final edits and published the review.
Note: We may earn a commission if you join Respondent via a referral link in this review. Read our full disclosure here.
Is Respondent legit?
Based on our experience, and the experience of our readers, Respondent.io is a legit survey site for earning money online.
Our small test group of 14 people spent 6.7 hours applying for and participating in studies, and was paid a total of $137.75 after fees.
That averages out to $20.56/hour.
Furthermore, Respondent is used by many well-known companies for market research. Such companies include:
- VuPoint Research
Here’s what Kacie Wise, Senior User Experience Researcher at eBay Classifieds had to say about Respondent:
“With Respondent, I’m able to reach out to customers across global markets, have a conversation with them, and turn around results in a matter of days. That means we can get generative insights on a regular basis, which helps guide our work. Respondent lets us make better decisions that are informed by users, and we can do it again and again.”
Pros of Respondent
1. High-Paying Surveys
But those traditional survey sites usually pay mere pennies for each survey.
Respondent stands apart by offering premium rates to participants.
2. More interesting work than most survey sites
While it can be difficult to qualify for a study on Respondent (see below), the strict selection process means that you’re likely to end up participating in studies that are a good fit for your interests and/or expertise.
Instead of answering the same boring, run-of-the-mill questions over and over again on PaidViewpoint, for example, Respondent studies usually require you to put some serious thought into your responses.
For example, here is a screenshot from one of the paid studies we participated in:
3. Available Internationally
Also in contrast to many other survey sites, Respondent seems to have plenty of opportunities available for people living outside the United States.
For example, one eBiz Facts reader living in Australia was able to apply for 4 surveys soon after creating his account. He was invited to participate in two of them and earned more than $100.
4. Lots of positive user reviews
As you can see from the Respondent Participant Community page on Facebook, it generally gets very positive reviews from users…
Cons of Respondent
1. You’re unlikely to be selected for most surveys
This is the big issue.
While a 60-minute, $200 study sounds great, the chances that you’ll get selected for it are pretty slim.
This is true even if Respondent says that you’re “100% qualified” for the study after you’ve applied.
For example, here are 3 studies we applied for:
All of those studies were still open and accepting applicants 2 weeks later, yet we had not been invited to participate in any of them, despite being 95-100% qualified.
Crunching our own numbers and those reported by our readers (14 people total), we got the following results:
- 66 studies applied for in 5 hours
- 4 invites to participate in a paid study
In other words, it took an average of 16.5 applications to win each invite.
Our tracking revealed that it takes an average of 4.6 minutes to apply for a study, which means you’ll need to invest approximately 75 minutes per invite.
Overall, our small test group of 14 people spent 6.7 hours applying for and participating in studies, and was paid a total of $137.75 after fees.
That works out to $20.56/hour, which isn’t bad, especially when compared to other survey sites.
However, when you break down the hourly rate per person in our group, the results aren’t quite so encouraging. Because out of those 14 people, there was only one who could claim to have received a good return on the time he invested.
As reported via email:
I filled out two surveys and got called for two things so far. One was a tiny 5 min app demo ($10) and the other was with Quickbooks in San Francisco. ~45 minutes and they’ve sent the U$100 so easy money.
Perhaps because I am based in Melbourne Australia and there are only a few available surveys for this region and less people know about it here there is less competition for me?
Don’t have any other surveys in the works though. When I log in I don’t have any to apply to at the moment. Again being in Melbourne/Australia I reckon I only see those that people want me to see. I’ve completed two others that I am yet to hear back on (been 2 days).
So yeah, one of our group earned $104.50 (after fees) in just over an hour of total time invested.
The remaining 13 people in the group earned only $33.25 total in about 5.5 hours.
It’s also worth noting that there’s a strict limit on how many studies you can apply for each day:
In an effort to increase your chances of being selected (and paid) for a project, participants will now be limited to 3 screener surveys per 24 hour period. This just means that it is important to only apply to projects that best match your professional background and current interests. 24
This means you can’t just sit and apply for every Respondent survey that sounds interesting. You must be selective.
2. Buggy Interface
We encountered several annoying “bugs” while using the Respondent website.
- Some qualification surveys would get stuck halfway through. The “next” button simply wouldn’t work and the application would have to be abandoned.
- After clicking through on a survey, we were sometimes greeted with a message saying, “Unfortunately this study is not available for people in your geographic region. Thanks for your interest!” Why even show the listing for that study in the first place if it’s not available??
- Frequently the same study would show up multiple times in the listings for no obvious reason.
- One study we qualified for required us to answer a series of questions on Survey Monkey, which we did. There were no instructions to do so, but we had to message the researcher privately to ensure we were credited with completing the study. It seems Respondent doesn’t have a system in place to track this automatically.
3. Slow Customer Support
After connecting a LinkedIn account, we nonetheless received the following error when trying to apply for certain studies on Respondent:
“You must connect Linkedin to participate in business related research studies.”
We contacted Respondent’s support team about this issue, and they got back to us…
Unfortunately, we had to wait 7 full days to get that response 😕
4. Some scam surveys have been reported
This is not so much an issue with Respondent as it is with any marketplace platform: inevitably, you find bad-faith actors trying to take advantage of others.
Here is a report of an attempted Respondent scam via Reddit: 25
I signed up for a Respondent.io account to try to make a bit of extra side money. It seemed pretty easy, sign up, answer questions, get paid.
I first became suspicious when most of the “surveys” I was receiving were about online banking, and they wanted me to log in to my online banking while sharing my screen. Yea right, like I was going to fall for that. So you want me to give away a) what bank I’m with b) my account number c) the length of my password? Well, you can **** right off if you think that’s going to happen.
I decided I wasn’t going to complete any of these “surveys”. Not two weeks after this, I received a call from my actual bank (not a scam call, I can recognize those) saying that someone had attempted to open a bank account using my information (name, date of birth, etc.) all information that was required from Respondent during the sign-up process.
A member of Freedom Business Builder reported similar:
I just cancelled my survey. They wanted me to log in to my online banking, show them how it works, record the screen and send it to them. The only security the company offered was to block out my personal details on the video after they receive it.
I only had 1 hour before the survey was to start and didn’t feel comfortable.
With those stories in mind, here’s a simple rule to help avoid scams and stay safe on Respondent:
- Never share your bank account details or other sensitive private information (e.g. your social security number) in any Respondent study.
Respondent.io affiliate program
If someone signs up to Respondent with your link and completes a paid study, you will receive $20.
You can find your personal referral link by clicking “My Referrals” in the menu once logged into your account.
3 more things you should know about Respondent
- “Anyone aged 18 or older can join, we are always looking for Industry Professionals, parents, and students. We have projects that are available to US Residents as well as International. All you need to join is a PayPal account, and either Facebook or LinkedIn to connect your profile to.” 27
- You have to apply for each study and wait to get accepted. Expect to spend 4-5 minutes on average applying for a study. During this time you’ll be answering simple multiple choice questions, which the researchers use to determine your suitability for the study.
- Once you’ve successfully completed a study, you get paid a few days later via PayPal, minus a 5% fulfillment fee. For example, we completed a $15 study and received payment six days later.
Is Respondent worth it?
Yes, so long as you have the right expectations…
Respondent won’t make you rich, and you should not expect it to provide a reliable or consistent income.
But if you use it wisely you can earn some decent pocket money.
As noted, one person in our group earned $104.50 after spending little more than an hour on the site, while one commenter on Reddit reports that he earned $5,000 on Respondent in 2018 alone. 28
If you’d like to emulate their success, see below for our best tips.
Here’s what we recommend to make the most out of every minute you spend on Respondent.
- Sign up, complete your profile, and keep an eye out for any emails from Respondent. They’ll alert you to any studies you’re likely to be a good match for.
- Don’t waste your time applying for a study unless you’re confident you’ll be a 100% match. (Even then, you may not be selected.) Remember: you can only apply for 3 studies each day, so it’s best to be selective.
- Whenever you see a study you are a good match for, apply fast. Some studies may only require a handful of participants, so they can quickly become “over-subscribed.”
- Consider applying for in-person studies as well as remote. As per Reddit… 29
In the past month I have taken 5 surveys and gotten a response from 2! I have completed them and will receive $560 in the next week or so.
I have seen some people that have taken a lot of surveys and not gotten any responses. My advice would be to focus on in-person projects. If you happen to live in big city, two to four get posted each month. Target those, and you will have a better chance, since the eligibility pool is smaller.
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