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With the American Consumer Opinion Panel (or ACOP), anyone can join in!
Despite its name, ACOP is available to people all around the world, providing interesting surveys for real rewards.
But is it right for you?
Let’s have a look at what ACOP offers its members and how you can get the most out of this survey panel.
What is ACOP?
The American Consumer Opinion Panel is a part of Decision Analyst, Inc.
This firm specializes in global marketing research and analytical consulting.
ACOP was initially made in 1986, seeking consumer opinion by telephone or mail surveys.
In 1996 they moved online, creating a panel of users who participated in sharing their opinions.
They have come a long way in that time, and now have more than 7 million members in around 150 countries.
At the time of writing, they claimed 20 million surveys had been taken, with total payouts reaching over $30 million.
That really is a huge number!
Are It Legit or a Scam?
Some people like to throw the word “scam” around when a site doesn’t meet their unrealistic expectations, so let’s break down the areas where this market research site shows it actually is trustworthy:
- Reputable affiliations. ACOP has a number of affiliations with regulatory bodies. For example, they are a member of the Council of American Survey Research Organizations. ACOP even has the link to the Better Business Bureau displayed right on their site! Through these affiliations, you can be more confident that the site is legitimate.
- Great BBB rating. The Better Business Bureau rates businesses on a number of factors, although mostly around consumer complaints. ACOP has an A- rating at the time of writing, which means they are very trustworthy.
- Consumer feedback. There are many satisfied members and there are many internet reviews to prove it. While they do have some negative reviews, it is important to look at those in context, which I will do shortly.
- Open and honest. ACOP publishes the names of their sweepstakes winners, the number of members they have, some very realistic information about what to expect can be found in the FAQ – there is so much information available if you need to reassure yourself that this is a legit opportunity.
In all these areas, American Consumer Opinion Panel shows that it is a trustworthy company and not a scam. As long as you have realistic expectations about what is on offer, you can be confident that they will deliver what they promise.
Who Can Join?
Even though it has the word “American” in the title, it refers to the location of the company rather than the nationality of panelists who are welcome to join. ACOP is one of the most open panels, welcoming people from around the world. The age limit is 14+, however, and there is a restriction of one membership per household.
- Worldwide membership.
- Rewards calculated in points.
- Cash payouts.
- Charity donations are
- Focus groups.
- Product testing.
- Surveys mailed directly to panel members.
- Up to 8 weeks wait time for points to be approved.
How Does It Work?
I found that signing up for ACOP is very easy – a few personal details, a confirmed email address and I was in!
I made sure that my email address was the same one linked to my PayPal.
Otherwise I would not be able to receive payments that way (although you can always add an extra email account to PayPal).
Once I was signed up, it took a little while to receive my first survey.
Surveys are not available on the site – they are emailed directly to you as links to follow.
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The surveys are aimed at entertainment-related research, covering such things as personal TV watching habits, give feedback on new TV commercials or to review DVDs that are sent to your home.
For USA residents aged 13+. No hidden fees and completely free!
Most surveys have some screener questions – though they might pay less (10 – 50 points, or only reward you in sweepstakes entries) make sure that you complete these short sets of questions as they can help qualify you for further surveys.
I was not accepted to take all of the surveys sent to me, but they had a reasonably high rate of success when compared to other survey sites.
ACOP pays in points – 1 point is equivalent to 1 penny.
In other words, you need 100 points before you have $1 of rewards.
Most surveys take between 5 – 20 minutes, and will earn you 5 – 1000+ points.
The survey will tell you the expected time and the payout, so you can decide whether it is worth your time.
There are other opportunities to earn. ACOP also offers product testing, which means free products being sent to you in exchange for your opinions. There are also online focus groups for different areas.
For example, some people have been asked to track all of their purchases of a particular product, and upload those to the researchers.
There are claims of payouts around $2 – $180 for focus groups, and some people have been rewarded with points in addition to keeping the product they are testing.
These opportunities are not frequent, however.
You can also earn points by signing people up.
Enticing friends and family by word of mouth or similar will get you entries into a monthly $5,000 draw.
If you have a website, you can become an affiliate and display a banner on your site.
Every person who clicks through and signs up through you earns you 500 points.
Aside from points, there are also sweepstakes of up to $10,000 on offer.
You gain entries by completing screener questions and by signing up other people.
With so many members, your chances of winning are low – but seeing as it doesn’t cost you anything, it’s an exciting extra feature!
When you have a minimum of 1,000 points (or the equivalent of $10), you can exchange your points for cash.
American Consumer Opinion Panel does not offer gift cards or other rewards – however, if you have cash I guess you can buy those things yourself!
You can receive payments through check, American Express gift card or PayPal.
There is also the option to donate your earnings to charity.
Be aware that there is a 6 to 8-week processing time, and there are reports of it taking even longer.
Before you sign up to anything online, you really should do your research.
I certainly spend a lot of time looking at reviews before signing up.
While there were a lot of people who were excited about their earnings, there were also some negative reviews.
Some people did have legitimate concerns; however, I think it is important to take into account that most people only post a review if they are either extremely pleased or very annoyed.
With a panel of 7 million people, there are bound to be some who are not happy, or a few instances where the website does not work as planned.
The most common complaint is that payments take a long time, and that issue comes up often enough that it shouldn’t be disregarded.
If you are in a rush to get your money, this might not be the site for you.
However, it does have some exciting opportunities that you won’t find on other sites, as well as a great reputation.
I personally think it’s worth the wait!
Pros and Cons
First, let’s look at the negative aspects:
- Not enough survey invitations
- Delayed payments
- High traffic to the site might result in survey shutdown.
And then the positives:
- Surveys are interesting and quick
- Product testing and online focus groups
- Low payout threshold ($10)
- Cash rewards.
Should You Sign Up?
The American Consumer Opinion Panel is a great way to spend some extra time and get real cash as a reward.
They offer short, interesting surveys with high payouts when compared to many other popular survey sites.
As with all market research, you will not become rich – however, as a way to spend some extra time it is safe and effective.
You also could be invited to test products and be part of focus groups.
To combat the low frequency of survey invitations, and to lessen the impact of waiting for warnings it is a good idea to sign up to a number of recommended panels so that you are offered the maximum opportunity to earn.
However, there is no reason that ACOP shouldn’t be one of those panels.
It is free and easy to join – why not register now and see how much you can earn?
UPDATE: ACOP are currently in the process of restructuring and do not accept new members.
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