Reputable sites do not generate spam emails or unwanted phone calls (and in most cases you can avoid giving them your phone number). Some of the surveys are conducted by Universities. Others involve trying new products, and I have 'tested' icecreams, cereal, kitchen wipes, teabags etc.
Some sites pay cash. Others let you choose a gift card (Coles/Myer, Woolworths/Caltex, Amazon, iTunes, Bunnings, etc). All the details will be on the site (look for FAQ or Help).
Survey panels to which I belong include (in order of preference):
- Pure Profile: This is my favourite, and I always earn $300 per year here. Pure Profile pays you 5c-20c even if you are screened out of a survey. Each time you log in, click 'Nextbutton' to see what surveys and other offers are available. You will qualify for more surveys if you can log in and check the NextButton more than once a day. The surveys will be more relevant if you regularly check whether there are more questions to be answered about your preferences and interests (sometimes called 'profile categories').
- Australian Meal Panel: For Australians only. When asked for the 5 digit pin, enter 86127. Do a 3-minute survey about food two or three times per month, and receive $2 each time, plus $3 if you send in supermarket receipts. In other words, you could sometimes earn up to $15 per month. You will be paid in cash or via PayPal.
- Your Voice: For Australians only. I have occasionally earned $50-$70 for a single survey here, but the smaller ones also add up to a decent amount. I recently earned $20 by doing an interesting survey about travel, TV programmes and other topics.
Genealogists for Families members with some spare time may find surveys a good way to fund extra Kiva loans - or to earn money for more birth, death and marriage certificates!