Almost everyone would love to earn a little bit of extra money, particularly if they could do it from home in their free time. This near-universal interest, however, makes the topic an endless opportunity for scammers and spammers. Many of these scams will end up costing money instead of delivering the income they claim. These claims need to be researched carefully and with healthy skepticism to protect your time and hard-earned money.
Project Payday has been around for a long time, and has had many reviews and reports posted online over the years. Interestingly, projectpayday.com now redirects to projectpaydayresearch.com. Project Payday Research claims to pay users for completing surveys online, which is a completely different business model than that of Project Payday. However, it is possible that when a user signs up for Project Payday Research, they end up in the same questionable enterprise as the original Project Payday.
The original Project Payday operated at two levels. On one level, users had to:
- Sign up for online Cost-Per-Action offers
- Find other people who want to complete those offers
- The first user completes the offer, reselling it to the other person, then collects a commission on the back end
The user basically acted as a salesperson, but they also took on all the risk; by signing up for the offers, they completed online order forms (along with contact and credit card information), and had to remember to cancel any additional or recurring charges. They were then responsible for collecting the money from the end buyer and completing the transaction.
As a salesperson for the Cost Per Action (CPA) offers, some users report making $30-$50 per offer, but those offers are infrequent, and most are for a much smaller amount. Furthermore, since these offers can only be completed once, regular users saw their income steadily decrease over time. One reviewer also reports that they started getting more than 400 spam emails a day while using Project Payday.
On the second level, some users figured out that the referral incentives were significant enough that they didn’t need to complete the offers themselves; they could simply recruit other people to complete the offers instead. In this second case, Project Payday worked like this:
- Find a friend to sign up for Project Payday and collect the referral bonus
- The friend signs up for the offers
- The friend completes the offers
- You get a commission on the friend’s commission
So, in its best case, Project Payday has the user act as an underpaid salesperson. In the worst case, it’s an MLM scheme. And the fact that it was an MLM scheme is why it has so many positive, biased reviews.
A Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) scheme is also called pyramid selling, network marketing, affiliate marketing, or referral marketing. These systems generally allow participants to sell products directly and earn their own commission, or to recruit others to act as salespeople and get a percentage of their commissions. Due to the nature of the system, those people who joined early (and are therefore at the top of the pyramid) get a percentage of the work of everyone below them.
The early adopters can and do make money, but statistically, over 99% of all the participants in the system do not earn a profit and many lose money after paying various fees. Because a few participants make money and praise the system, it is easy to recruit more and more people to join, even though they do not reap those same rewards.
MLM businesses are not illegal in the US, although they closely resemble illegal pyramid schemes. Unlike pyramid schemes, MLMs are distinguished in two important ways:
- MLMs always include the sale of actual products and services, while pyramid schemes do not.
- Climbing an MLM structure to the top of the “pyramid” and earning good money is overwhelmingly statistically improbable, but not (unlike a pyramid scheme) statistically impossible.
The original incarnation of Project Payday appears to have been such a system. However, what relationship does this have to Project Payday Research? Will users sign up for Project Payday Research thinking that they will be getting rewards for completing online surveys, only to find themselves in another MLM scheme? Surveyclub.com is another paid survey site that shares contact information with Project Payday and Project Payday Research.
It is difficult to determine whether these sites are still in operation and whether they are a scam or not, due to the newness of Project Payday Research and its relationship to Project Payday. Most reviews, feedback, and comments online are for the original Project Payday, and not Project Payday Research.
If Project Payday Research is affiliated with and works the same way as Surveyclub.com, then it isn’t so much a survey site as a survey referral site; participants are directed to various online surveys with various rewards. In that instance, the founders of Project Payday Research and Survey Club will collect the referral bonus for users who sign up for survey sites using their referral links while they don’t add any value to the transaction. Many people ultimately find that taking online surveys is extremely time-consuming for the rewards offered.
Survey Club is suspicious itself because of the number of sites with positive reviews that appear to be somehow affiliated with Survey Club and encouraging people to join. The presence of referral bonuses and affiliate links makes it difficult to find unbiased and trustworthy reviews.
In short, while it is possible to earn a little bit of extra cash or rewards (Amazon gift cards are common) through taking surveys online, it is probably wiser to go through a legitimate, well-respected company than to use projectpaydayresearch.com or surveyclub.com. These sites have too many red flags and questionable history to be a good use of your time.
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