The state of jobs in Ohio has led many full-time job seekers to become dedicated survey participants. What was once considered spam mail or a “spam-offer” 2 years ago has now become a welcomed form of a “now hiring offer whenever it appears in your email in-box.

As many underemployed Ohioans sit at home accumulating massive hours of boredom, frustration and impatience waiting for the phone to ring with an offer of employment, many have reconsidered the more viable alternative of completing online surveys for cash. There are good jobs in Ohio but the flexibility of adding an additional income stream, of working at home, and at an individual pace has offered many the refuge of time relevancy. What is time relevancy you might ask? It is the feeling that that you are accomplishing something, even a menial task during your empty schedule. The loneliness that accompanies unemployment for many can be suffocating, and the best remedy to pass the hours is to sit in front of the computer and blog in order to connect with other unemployed people, or accept one of the various offers for online employment with survey companies desperate for opinionated form fillers from across all age demographics.

This situation is the perfect marriage between idle time and desperate corporate clients that need to fine tune their marketing campaign for an upcoming product launch. American businesses spend billions of dollars every year on advertising but only a small amount of that money is spent on consumer research. It may seem like the greatest paradox; Fortune 500 companies spending only a fractional amount to learn what their consumers think of their product and services –a few million dollars here and a few million dollars there. All things considered, the market research companies hired by these Fortune 500 companies have developed analytical methods to derive behavioral conclusions just from survey responses taken from cross-sections of American population demographics.

However, participants like you and I who partake in these research efforts which may include telephone surveys or more often of late-online surveys for pay—can receive anywhere from 5$ to $50 dollars per survey. If you participate in online or participate in phone surveys with multi-conferencing to focus groups you could receive as high as $150 by average pay-out estimates. The internet as a platform for orchestrating a survey campaign that 15 years ago would have been executed via telemarketers is the most effective platform to reach exactly the demographic population that may or is currently buying a particular product or service. Of course consumer data has been collected on all of us since the dawn of the internet, and if you have been a long time subscriber to any internet based service they have already sold their million name list of subscriber data to marketing firms more than twice—your data included.

What does this have to do with the ongoing survey revolution? The market researches who have been hiredby Fortune 500 companies and companies of all sizes, are buying this data which contains information about your: income, marital status, car you drive, soda you prefer, how many children you have, your religion, race, sex and any other arcane details necessary. You the consumer are no longer hidden behind the telephone or annoying bulk mailer packet. You can be easily and quickly accessed again and again and even placed into a subscriber based survey pool and virtually obtain employment with dozens of market research companies that have now sprouted dot-com divisions of their main business practices. Since the onset of the economic crisis market research companies have been busy redesigning their survey queries to reflect the new economic reality of late; that consumers have less disposable income and are less willing to splurge on non-essential items unless their were strong incentives. Market researches that began subscription services for individuals like you and I, also began to increase the pay out commission on completed surveys.

This means the profit margin between what the Fortune 500 company paid the market research company to design and execute the survey and the commission they pay you for completing the survey became smaller. Of course, all of these market research firms make tens of millions of dollars every year, just a few million less because of the recession. Where do you fit into this equation. Well, if you are underemployed, unemployed or strapped with debt, earning extra income by joining a survey service is a pragmatic solution. You have no boss, no concrete work schedule and you can choose your assignments. The most important aspect of this extra income is that you can work from the comfort of your own home—and this is the crux of the survey revolution. The working at home business model is not just for market researches contracting with consumers globally, but also for Fortune 500 companies that need to contract for specialists , and temporary services without the financial responsibility of hiring full-time employee.

Take into consideration that a full-time employee will be enrolled into a company sponsored group health plan, company matching 401k and retirement plan, paid training and other expenditures that companies large and small would rather do away with and preserve their operating costs. Thus outsourcing corporate roles such as: accountant, pay-roll accountant, sales support, customer support, technical support, claims representative, enrollment manager, paralegal, research support and data entry clerk are also all portable roles that are expanding online in the same magnitude as the internet. Don’t be tricked into thinking that the global economic crisis of late has been the catalyst for “work at home” programs such as surveys. In actuality, the global economic crisis simply accelerated the eventual transformation of ideally portable corporate jobs to the back office to the home office.

Scaling-down rather than downsizing is what I define this new business model that has financially benefited millions of people worldwide who otherwise would have been unemployed indefinitely. Online surveys are here to stay because many large and small companies have completely transformed their traditional brick and mortar physical business location for a virtual location on the internet. The birth of online shopping stores and mega-shopping sites such as Overstock.com where you can buy virtually everything from A to Z has solidified the need to collect consumer data over the internet and identify new shopping trends via surveys.

The downside of this business model is that as surveys become more popular the commission structure payouts for survey subscribers will begin to decrease. Thus now more than ever is the time to take advantage of online surveys while they offer a viable financial solution for replacement income.

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