I’m Zsolt, the founder of a UX research platform called PingPong. I’m building one of those sites that lets you earn money online from the comfort of your home, just by doing video calls and talking to someone.
There are quite a few misconceptions about earning money online with user testing. Let me tell you about the details and how this stuff works.
First: It’s not a scam, it’s a legal and valid business
Many people think this is scam and they just want to steal your data and sell it to someone. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not a scam.
Most of the big companies are spending a LOT on building products that needs to be backed by research. I’m talking about companies like Google, Amazon, as well as smaller companies (and everything in between). They employ designers and researchers to make sure what they build is usable and makes sense to people. So they end up having to do a lot of research.
Second: You won’t make a living just by participating in a user test
There are a few reasons for this:
- Designers and researchers do not want to talk to people who try to make a living from testing all day. They want to talk to new people and get a variety of different opinions on what they’re creating.
- There are limitations on every platform that will prevent you from receiving too many invitations.
- Many times, research is focusing on a specific occupation or professional experience. You might not even be invited for that research if you don’t fit the bill.
- Even if you manage to schedule many sessions, participating in these sessions daily for months will burn you out, it won’t end up being any fun.
- And finally but this is likely the most important factor: casual participants are the best testers. People who take on the opportunity once in a while for fun, curiosity and to provide valuable feedback tend to be far more engaged and natural in the testing process, allowing researchers to get more authentic research results.
So how much I can earn?
It depends on multiple factors like research type, duration, your location and even your professional background. The realistic is that you can make an extra $50 to $100 in a few months. This is great pocket money, but it won’t make a living.
Taking surveys won’t pay you much, maybe a dollar or two.
Unmoderated user testing (unmoderated means that it’s just you doing what you’ve been told on a todo list) can pay somewhere between $3 to $15 per 15-30 minutes.
User interviews (or moderated user test) where you can earn the most. These are effectively 1 on 1 discussions and can pay between $20 to $250 or sometimes even more.
Why that big difference in the incentive amount?
- Because people living in Eastern Europe will be paid less than people living in the US.
- 30 minutes interview will pay less than a 75 mins call.
- Sometimes researchers are looking for very hard to find audiences that need to be compensated more: doctors, lawyers and senior decision makers are offered more money.
What are the requirements and what do researchers expect from me?
You'll need a computer with camera + microphone and an internet connection. These are the minimums.
Besides this, researchers like when testers can communicate their thoughts and tell what they like and dislike. So you have to be able to go into the details in the topic they are trying to uncover. These topics can be anything. For example "Do you find the product you are testing usable?", "How do you book tickets?" or simply "How does your usual workday look like".
Researchers have the experience to ask open ended questions that you can explain further so don't worry about this too much. In the end, most of the time these sessions feel like a friendly discussion about a topic that is also important to you!
So should I sign up to be a tester?
Participating in these sessions are fun and heavily influential: your feedback on these sessions can massively influence how products are being built. If you are interested in this and wouldn’t mind participating in research once in a while, then you should definitely sign up as a tester on PingPong.