Earning extra cash is always a good thing, especially if you can do it in the comfort of your own home.
This is why I like online survey sites like Pinecone Research so much; it gives you both money and flexibility.
Still, the questions remain, “Is Pinecone Research legit? What do other users say about them?”
In this Pinecone Research review, I will discuss the site’s legitimacy, how you can earn money on the platform, and some alternative survey sites to consider.
What Is Pinecone Research?
Pinecone Research is an online survey site owned by Nielsen Holdings, a New York-based market research company that is one of the industry’s leading performers.
If the name sounds familiar, that’s because you might have heard the term “Nielsen ratings” before. It is a popular metric used to gauge engagement ratings in newspapers, TV, and radio.
Like its parent company, Pinecone Research is also one of the most trusted survey companies in the US, with over a decade-long operation.
Is Pinecone Research Legit?
Based on what I dug up and my personal experience with the site, I can say outright that it is a legitimate market research company.
Not only has it paid other users and me, but I haven’t heard of any legitimate security risks related to its name.
The website also uses two-factor authentication and SSL encryption, which means it has web security measures in place.
However, some of the latest reviews from Trust Pilot and Facebook comments seem to have mixed feelings about its recent performance, which I will also discuss later.
Moreover, being one of the pioneers of the online survey platform, it has been targeted by cyberhackers who tried to use its famous name to scam people.
An example of this is the “mystery shopping assignment” it has warned its members about.
Essentially, scammers will target people who signed up using fake sites and ask them to cash fake check payments.
The scammers will then ask the victims to use the proceeds for product testing.
Pinecone Research also claims not to have any Facebook presence, so any pages posing as them on Facebook might be fraudulent.
What Do People Think About Pinecone Research?
For years, users have had almost nothing bad to say against Pinecone Research. Most reviews I read online pointed out how easy its payout and qualification steps were.
Let’s examine such review below:
“This is a great site… once I finished the profile, they’ve only sent me surveys that I’m qualified for already. There’s no wasting your time doing 80% of the survey just to get kicked out with no reward. They are fast to pay out to my PayPal and never play around about it. I cash in, and I get paid; no waiting two to three weeks to get it. The only downside is because they only send you surveys that you qualify for, it’s kind of slow getting them.”
Like other survey sites or companies, Pinecone Research is far from perfect. The most recent negative reviews talked about how challenging redeeming cash payments have become.
Below is one such review:
“They used to be a very good research company, paying out easily through PayPal. £3. Now it’s very awkward to receive what you are owed. Pressure to build up points and receive substandard gifts and bling instead of money. The research itself is fine, although very thin on the ground, but admin has been awful since 2019/2020.”
How Does Pinecone Research Work?
If you want to join Pinecone Research as a member, simply follow these steps:
(Sign-up image is not available due to the site’s exclusive nature.)
Step 1: Wait or look for a sign-up opportunity.
Pinecone Research’s sign-up process may be one of the most, if not the most, challenging registration processes I have written about due to its exclusivity.
According to the FAQs page, the research sign-up banners only appear “periodically throughout the year.”
Some reports claim it targets young adults, particularly college students, for its surveys.
It also seems picky about its members’ nationality since it only typically accepts those from the US, Canada, Germany, or the UK.
Also, some of the older announcements are transparent about only hiring people from specific age groups. It is more covert about its hiring practices now.
A sure-fire way to sign up with Pinecone Research is to get directly invited sign-up banner ads, which you can typically find on GetPaidTo (GPT) sites online, or when you chance upon a membership opening.
Once you do find a sign-in invitation, make sure you bookmark its link so that you can check if it has membership openings.
Step 2: Sign up.
I was fortunate enough to get signed up for its surveys, so I can walk you through what you can expect with Pinecone Research’s sign-up process.
Upon finding an invitation or working sign-up link, you will be directed to a registration page. Note that you should check its legitimacy by looking at the site’s security features.
The page should have boxes where you input the usual information, such as name, age, nationality, gender, education level, and email address.
Don’t celebrate yet; their team will still check your profile to see if you are what they are looking for. You should expect to receive an email with your approval after a few days.
Step 3: Wait for a survey notification.
Unlike other survey sites where you can freely pick which survey to answer or which product to test, Pinecone Research only sends you email notifications for available surveys or product samples.
As such, you should regularly check your email for any opportunity since it is likely to get taken by other users quickly.
Download the mobile app to get notified of further developments.
Although you can’t directly answer surveys on the app, it may still serve as an information board you can browse through when you want to check something.
How To Earn Money with Pinecone Research
Like other survey sites I have reviewed, Pinecone Research uses points you can redeem in exchange for cash through bank transfers or gift cards.
Back then, users were able to easily convert their points to cash using PayPal.
However, it has since dropped this option in exchange for bank transfers, much to some users’ dismay.
Being an online survey site, Pinecone Research gets most of its revenue by hosting surveys for other companies.
Each survey can get you points equivalent to $3, depending on the length or complexity. Based on my experience, the surveys take around 10 to 20 minutes to complete.
Some users claim to have earned up to $5 for every 10-minute survey back then, but this seems unlikely now.
Generally, you can expect to answer one to four questions per month with Pinecone Research, so I suggest signing up with other survey sites while you wait.
Another way you can earn points from Pinecone Research is with the product testing program.
How much you get depends on the test’s length and the product you will be testing. Typically, you can expect to earn more than $10 for this.
Product tests usually come with a pre-screening form you will have to “pass” before they can send you products.
If you ask me, I like this better since it already tells me if I qualify or not instead of informing me that I don’t mid-session (like some of its recent surveys).
I haven’t tried any products for the site yet, but some users claim to have been sent food products to taste.
One user even claimed that the associate company sent extra cash for them to buy other ingredients that may go with the food product they are taste-testing.
Typically, product tests come with post-testing interviews or surveys, so make sure to check your email for follow-ups.
Alternative Product Testing Companies To Check Out
Due to recent complaints about Pinecone Research, combined with how difficult it is to register, you should check out some of my highly recommended alternative testing companies.
Like Pinecone Research, PrizeRebel is a legitimate US-based online survey site that allows you to take surveys in exchange for money.
However, unlike the topic of this review, PrizeRebel is more lenient with its membership and has more positive reviews from its users.
Although it doesn’t have paid surveys available for those outside the UK, US, Australia, or Canada, it has other options that allow them to earn points.
These include various tasks such as referrals, daily points, and offer walls.
Established in 2007, it claims to have paid about $22 million to roughly 11 million users.
It also has more payment options than Pinecone Research. You can convert your points through PayPal, Visa, or various gift cards from major retail or tech companies.
If you like the mobility and ease of use of mobile apps, then QuickThoughts may be the survey site for you.
QuickThoughts is another legit US-based online survey platform that typically caters to local businesses.
With its location-based surveys, you can expect to earn up to $10 per hour, depending on the complexity of the topic.
Like PrizeRebel, its surveys are usually only limited to US, UK, Australian, and Canadian residents.
However, people outside these countries can still earn money by accomplishing tasks to earn cash, albeit for a lower amount.
If you are looking for a hassle-free, less exclusive, yet equally legitimate side-gig finder, look no further than Stan’s Gigs.
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So, is Pinecone Research legit?
After trying the site myself and digging around the internet, I can confidently say that it is indeed a legitimate website.
It pays relatively well, and the point system is easily cashed out thanks to the minimum value needed.
However, as some older users have noted, its services have recently declined in quality. Plus, the registration process is among the most exclusive out there.
Fortunately, I can give you more and better side-hustle opportunities with hassle-free registration.
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I am a father to a beautiful baby girl, a husband and a serial gigster 🙂 I live in Toronto, Canada. My claim to fame: I made thousands of dollars from focus groups and surveys over the last 15 years. Studied Marketing in Ryerson Univerity and worked in Marketing and Marketing Research for the last 14 years+ My mission is to educate others how to be successful with side hustles. You can contact my be email or on Facebook.