I am a member of something called e-Rewards. I'm actually not quite sure what it is and how it works, but it's all tied in with frequent flyer programs - you eat in a restaurant that belongs to the program and you accrue miles. While I am a frequent beneficiary of frequent flyer programs, I actually don't need to pay that much attention to them. My husband and one of his friends are frequent flyer savants, and make it part - sometimes it seems like all - of their life's work to figure out what to sign up for that yields up frequent flyer miles without ever having to actually buy a plane ticket.
In any case, a by-product of membership is being asked to participate in marketing surveys. There has been a whole flurry of requests in the last few weeks, but I haven't bitten on any of them.
That's because the marketing incentives just don't appeal to me.
Here's one that tells me that, if I spend 20 minutes filling in the survey, I'll receive $7.50 in e-Rewards Currency. This "currency" can be cashed in, at the lower levels of $5 - $10, for stuff like a free subscription to Stuff magazine. Just when I'm trying to figure out how to unstuff my life...No thanks.
If you rack up $50 in currency you can cash in for 1,000 miles, which is at least something, but that means taking lots of these surveys.
But, let's face it, $7.50 for 15 minutes work really isn't that much of an incentive - especially in this day and age, when every online survey providers info about you that goes directly to the data miners and micro-marketers so that they can use it to specifically target you.
Another one of the e-Rewards surveys offered $3.00 for a 15 minute survey. And one offered $2.00 for 10 minutes. If I wasn't willing to "work" for $30.00 an hour, I'm sure as hell not willing to work for $12.00.
How about 500 miles - now you might be talking. I wouldn't bother to sit down and compute how much it was costing me to accumulate these miles vs. buying miles from the airline. I'd just go and complete the survey.
But that's not on the table.
There's also a kicker, which gives me even greater pause. e-Rewards offers something called "partial credit", in which you get $.50:
...if your survey answers do not meet the criteria to fully qualify for the study OR if the predetermined number of participants has been reached.
They don't specify just what those criteria are, but if it's something along the lines of you really don't use much of whatever product or service the survey is on behalf of, please have pre-qualifying question right up front that will let me know I'm only worth $.50.
Worse, why even let someone start the survey "if the predetermined number of participants has been reached." Sure, this could happen intra-survey if a whole bunch of people responded at once, but if that happens, surely you can either let folks know before they waste the full 20 minutes on the survey - or give them the damned $7.50. (If I don't want to work for $22.50 an hour, I'm sure not willing to work for $1.50 an hour, which is just about what I made working in a combat boot factory polishing shoes a zillion years ago. That was before I got promoted to the office and got a raise to $1.70 and hour.)
"We value your time," is what the e-Rewards folks say at the start of their surveys.
Well, no you don't.