I’m pretty familiar with most of the popular survey sites out there. While I’m familiar with the sites themselves, I don’t always know who owns, or is backing, those companies. I’m pretty sure the legit sites have pretty good backing. If that were the case, Pinecone Research would be one of the elite survey sites on the internet. According to several sources, Pinecone Research is owned by The Nielsen Company, one of the largest media and information monitoring companies in the world.
Does that pedigree translate to a good experience for users? I spent a good deal of time using the site, so here’s the low-down on Pinecone Research.
Introducing Pinecone Research
I really like the name Pinecone Research. It’s cute, and memorable. I mean, you can only have so many names with the word “survey” before things get repetitive.
The company was founded in 1998, before the survey site industry became what it is today. So they’ve got both tenure and pedigree.
It makes sense that a company like Nielsen would also run a survey site. The company thrives on data, and a survey site a great way to acquire it.
How do You Earn on Pinecone Research?
After registering on the site, invites to take surveys will be sent to your email address. Once you receive an invite, you can take a survey. Each completed survey will award you with points. You can then trade these points for cash or various products available through the site.
Surveys are assigned to you based on your profile. If you’re a computer geek, the site will assign surveys on computers and various gadgets. If you’re a beauty expert, you can expect to receive surveys that cover topics such as cosmetics and self-care.
Sometimes, you’ll even be sent actual products to test! Since I’m a web developer, I haven’t really received any products that are relevant to my profile (probably too expensive), but I know a beauty blogger who gets lots of advance cosmetics to try out.
Take note, since surveys are geared towards a specific demographic, there will be times when there won’t be any surveys that are suited to your profile. It’s pretty standard for most survey sites.
What Will my Earning Potential be Like on Pinecone Research
The amount of points you’ll make per survey varies. While the site doesn’t really explain why a certain survey pays a particular amount, I think it’s based on the length of the survey, and the company that commissioned Pinecone Research to conduct it.
100 points are equivalent to one cent. Each survey you complete (when you do get one) will be equivalent to around $3 to $5.
The amount you’ll be making will depend on a variety of factors, mainly the number of surveys you’ve qualified to take, and the number of surveys you actually get to complete.
You can redeem your points as cash (which is sent via PayPal) or gift cards. Gift cards can be used in the site’s own shop. I usually prefer being able to use my gift cards elsewhere, but at least there’s PayPal, right?
How to Join Pinecone Research
Now here’s the first point against the site: it’s invite-only. There are two ways to get these invites:
1. If you know an existing member/panelist and they send you an invite, or
2. If you get lucky and find a banner ad with a referral link.
A word of warning: I’ve come across fake ads that take you to phishing sites. No, phishing sites aren’t places where you get to go fishing. Phishing sites “fish” for your information by imitating an existing site and asking you to put your login details. If you do click an ad for Pinecone Research (or any site, really) make sure it’s the real site.
Also, you need to be 18 and above to join. Despite have to know a member or get lucky finding a referral ad, membership is free. I almost never join sites that require you to pay to become a member. Why should I? The site is already making money from the companies sponsoring these ads. Scam survey sites are there to get your money, and once they have it they disappear, almost by magic. Er, sorry for that short rant.
Pinecone Research: What’s Good?
The site has a lot going for it. Here’s a list of the stuff I liked about Pinecone Research. These are only my opinions. I hope other members of the community can contribute their own list.
1. You don’t get disqualified from taking surveys mid-way
This is by far the greatest thing about doing surveys on Pinecone Research. When the site assigns you a survey, you are not going to suddenly get disqualified in the middle of taking it. This is a total godsend. I wanna erect monuments in honor of the developers in Pinecone Research who figured out how to assign surveys without cutting you off mid-way.
For those not familiar with survey sites, let me explain. An alarming number of them (not gonna name names right now) have this bad habit of cutting you out of a survey while you’re taking it. You could be down to your last question in a long survey when the site suddenly goes “Psych!” then boots you out. The reason for this is that you weren’t qualified to take the survey. Which begs the question: why did the site assign the survey to you in the first place? You just wasted your time!
But that’s another rant for another day. For now, let’s appreciate the fact that you can actually complete surveys on Pinecone Research.
2. Payout per survey is higher than usual
It’s tough to find survey sites that pay $3 to $5 outright for surveys. But Pinecone Research is one of those rare sites that does. Maybe they should change their name to Unicorn Research.
3. The surveys are fun
This is probably just luck, but most of the surveys I took were pretty fun. I’ll credit that to the site’s algorithm; it seems to know how to hook you up with surveys that really fit your interests and demographic.
Pinecone Research: What’s Not Good?
In the interest of a balanced review, here are these things I didn’t like about the site.
Why are they trying to keep people out? Do they assume that friends-of-friends make for a better user base? Wouldn’t a survey site make more money with more members? I don’t get it. Having to jump through hoops just to get an invite made me less excited about the site.
2. Behold, the disappearing PayPal button!
This is one of the weirdest things about the site… there were times when the PayPal button would just flat-out disappear! My guess is this was their way of forcing me to use my points to buy form their shop. Bad move, guys. You don’t take away my options.
3. Only available to US and Canada residents
As if making the site invite-only, here’s another factor blocking out potential members. It’s 2018, and a large online business needs to get with the times and go international.
The Verdict: Legit or Scam?
Pinecone Research is legit… but just barely. I think removing the PayPal button is a borderline scammy thing to do. But you still get your points, and you still get to exchange it for goods.
The site may technically be legit, but I think there are better options out there.
Pinecone Research Screenshots
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This review is based on my own experiences using Pinecone Research. Now it’s your turn to share? Have you tried the site? Have you encountered the disappearing PayPal button as well?
Let’s hear your stories!
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