In just about any field, shady firms exist amongst the legitimate ones, threatening to infect the entire industry with their bad reputation. It’s the same within the market research community - there are a number of market research companies and survey panels who are out to scam innocent survey takers of their time and effort. You’ll probably want to stay away from those.
How to Avoid The Bad Apples
Before you register with a survey panel, you should always do a quick check on how long the panel has been in business, and whether they are part of any market research association. Membership in an association may not necessarily mean the panel is credible, but it does show a certain standard of quality. Next, you can delve deeper and source for feedback from members of the panel, members’ social proofs, or even go to the extent of sending in a support message to experience firsthand how the panel treats its members.
If that’s too much of a hassle for you, take advantage of platforms such as PanelPlace and eliminate the tedious process altogether. Panels have already been reviewed and filtered beforehand, so you only see the legitimate ones that really reward respondents.