Almost. The market value of my opinion these days is about 25 cents. Here’s the rest of the story…
About two years ago, I accepted an invitation from an online survey company linked to some of my preferred travel businesses. I would receive e-mail offers to participate in surveys which I would be compensated for if I was accepted for the survey after screening questions and completed the entire survey. I selected the frequency of survey offers, anywhere from daily to weekly. (I chose three times a week.) Each time, I would be offered at least one survey and sometimes two or three.
Compensation was in e-currency which could then be exchanged for points and miles with selected travel businesses such as hotels and airlines. For example, for 25 e-dollars I can get 500 miles with Southwest Airlines and for 30 e-dollars I can get 1,000 La Quinta hotel points.
Each survey sponsor set the compensation level but usually the longer the survey the more compensation is offered. Even if I’m screened out of the survey, I receive a token 25 e-cents.
At first, I was seeing a lot of ka-ching! from these surveys. I presume I fit a desired demographic – a DINK (Dual Income, No Kids). Plus, I always said I was Hispanic, a growing market in the U.S. I alternated my race between “Asian” and “White” (because I’m both) but it didn’t seem to make any difference in whether I was accepted.
I was regularly earning three to as much as eight e-dollars on surveys running the gamut from breakfast cereals to tires to proposed frozen Hispanic foods. It didn’t take too long for my account balance to become about 150 e-dollars. I’ve cashed in 55 e-dollars for Southwest and La Quinta points.
But a few months ago, things began to change. The offers were coming but I was never accepted. What the heck was going on? From almost every business wanting my opinion, it now appears no one cares about my opinion.
Interestingly, I expected to be even more desirable. Our annual income has increased by almost $11,000 because Susie has begun collecting Social Security. So now we can easily afford to buy frozen Hispanic breakfast burritos in containers made from recycled tires. 😉
The big clue is that my rejections began to increase in mid-October. That’s when I began answering the “age” screening question as “61.” I can only surmise that despite an additional $11,000 in annual income, businesses aren’t much interested in the opinions of a 61 year old. Maybe they think I won’t be buying much now that I’m a “senior.” (Although that has been true for a number of years now.)
I’m going to have to accept that I’m being relegated to a niche market. The only surveys I’m probably going to be accepted for now are ones focused on my “special needs” as a senior. Like adult diapers, erectile dysfunction aids and the like. But I’m so discouraged by all the rejections that I don’t even bother to be screened for a survey anymore. I’m gong to cash in the balance of my account and quit the survey business.
My reply to those who once fawned over me but who now shun me is the reply purported to have been delivered by a politician who, informed he had lost the election, remarked: “The people have spoken…the bastards!”
And that’s my opinion!