Toluna Review – Brace Yourself, It Isn’t Pretty!
One of the largest paid-survey websites globally is Toluna.
The Toluna panel community is a Dallas-based market research company owned by the Toluna Group.
Its global headquarters is in Paris, France. It was founded by Frederic-Charles Petit in 2000. Over the years, it has been steadily acquiring other related companies including Speedfacts, dPolls and for the US market in particular, Common Knowledge, Your2Cents and Greenfield Online.
Today, it is one of the most popular paid-survey and marketing research companies with over 800 employees globally and a user base of over 4 million registered members.
The company is globally dispersed with offices in Dallas, Texas, Wilton, Connecticut, Paris France, Ealing, UK, Frankfurt, Germany, Haifa, Israel, Madrid Spain, Toronto, Ontario, Sydney, Australia, Gurgaon, India and Tokyo, Japan.
The key features of Toluna’s paneling system include:
- Provision of both cash rewards, monthly cash drawings and gift cards
- Receive 2000 points immediately after joining and completing first interest survey
- Earn more points by participating in writing opinions, sponsored polls, etc.
- A redemption balance of $20 (60,000 points)
- Membership is only available for people aged 18 and above
- The regions covered include Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania
- Have a qualification system for participating in certain surveys
- Immediate reported processing time (using PayPal or Amazon gift card)
- As of 2012, points held in excess of 1 year are automatically “expired”. Some users have even cited how their points have expired on a monthly rolling basis
For clients (the survey providers), Toluna presents an attractive outlet for dispersing their surveys in order to gather quality, demographic-specific (whether it’s broken down into age, race, income, region, etc.) responses for their needs.
The cost per survey will depend on the number of questions asked, the number of people that need to be sampled and the particular demographic to be targeted.
For the participants (the survey takers), Toluna membership into the website is absolutely free.
Participating in any one of the website’s surveys is also free (subject to meeting qualifications for certain surveys).
No payment information or other personal details need to be provided unless you consent. It is left to users to decide whether or not to take up a survey and for how long they expect to contribute.
The range of surveys is vast and diverse. The typical survey on the website takes between 15-30 minutes to complete and usually does not have any extensions or follow-throughs.
Pros – The Pro Of Toluna
Toluna is one of the world’s largest paid-survey companies with a community of over 4 million members. It has many active members that participate in its paid surveys, sponsored polls, writing opinions and other methods on a daily basis.
Both registration and partaking in the website’s surveys are free (here’s a link to join, if you wish). Members are instead provided cash payment and other benefits for filling up surveys and other methods as an incentive for their invested time.
Cash payments are provided after the completion of every single survey, sponsored polls, writing opinions, etc. However, payment per survey can vary from as little as a few dimes to greater than $1 per survey or even more.
Members are pooled into monthly cash sweepstakes – somewhere in the vicinity of $4,500.
In place of small cash vouchers, the website provides gifts like MP3 songs.
Invitations for surveys (qualified and unqualified) are notified to members through email and through the website.
Qualifying or “screening out” participants helps Toluna’s clients (other companies) get better, more precise answers to their surveys.
Laurent Sabouret (a Panel Director at Toluna) states how the qualification process helps the company’s clients to get better respondent results.
Prior to filling up a survey, members are requested to answer between 5-10 questions in order to better help Toluna and its clients know if the respondent is in the right demographic.
He also mentions that to effectively credit points to members, 3 things must occur: “We must wait for the survey to reach the number of responses ordered; the client must confirm certain information to us; and the quality control process (verifying the answers) must be completed. This validation process can take between 1 and several weeks.”
The website’s tutorials are informative and helpful. Lots of information is provided related to survey taking, qualified surveys, etc.
Cons – The Cons Of Toluna
Quite a number of the company’s surveys are qualified – meaning that unless you meet certain sampling criteria, you won’t be able to take part.
A similar gripe is that for some participants who partake in a qualified survey, only by the end of the survey are they notified that they are “not qualified” (that is, they get screened out).
This makes them lose out on the individual survey’s cash amount as well as waste time on an unpaid survey. This has resulted in some people alleging the website to be a scam.
After a certain amount of time (around 1 year), all of your unused points get “expired” – thereby preventing you from cashing out.
(If you want a paid survey site with better customer relations check out Swagbucks, one of the best survey sites we have been able to find)
Many users have complained how that after amassing a certain total, they have found their balances to be wiped off for failing to use up their points.
A similar issue deals with how, after seeking cash vouchers for their points, some members have stated how the company’s lengthy delays have resulted in the points getting expiring in the meantime.
The minimum payout ($20 or 60,000 points) is considered by many to be too high.
Considering the fact that each survey provides roughly 2000-3000 points, that means you would have to complete around 30 surveys just to reach the minimum amount.
Additionally, as each survey takes around 25 minutes to complete, that translates to spending 750 minutes (or 12.5 hours) to reach.
Some people have complained about the long processing times and delays in receiving their rewards for points turned in. In some cases, it can take as long as 8 weeks before payments are processed and converted into vouchers.
Still others have protested that they have never received their rewards at all.
Some people have found their accounts to be blocked after “violating Toluna’s terms and conditions.” Most of them have mentioned how Toluna never cited any specific violations, and, after sending the company an email, were never heard back from again.
One former member, Ian Wilson, mentions how after amassing over 1 million points since June 2012, within one year, his account got blocked by Toluna. After trying to reach them to find out the exact reasons, he has yet to receive any sort of reply.
Many members have noted how they have been unable to login into the website despite knowing full well their username and password details.
Upon contacting the website, the usual case is that Toluna replies with the same username/password as before. Some have even mentioned how they have not been able to login at all despite entering their correct account details repeatedly.
After registration, some members have complained how their inboxes have been flooded with spam from Toluna (for participation in various surveys, contests for company promotional offers).
Toluna’s member boards are filled with posts and statements complaining about missing points, lack of voucher receipt for work done and other major problems.
Toluna’s customer support department/team has been described as slow-moving and insincere about members’ problems/issues.
Toluna, in its own policies, makes “no guarantee about how much you will earn.” This may indicate as ultimately, the right to issue payment or not is at the discretion of the company – leaving users at the mercy of Toluna.
Take a look at the following video to get an idea of the Toluna website interface:
Though Toluna is one of the largest paid-survey companies out there, the overall opinions expressed across the net on various sites presents a dark picture of the business.
The main hurdle seems to be around the excessive delays the company takes in processing and sending payments to members.
Receiving a payment (small sums in that) can take as long as 2 months (or even more) to clear from the company.
Another major issue deals with how members partake in a survey and only mid-way through or even after completion, are told that they have been “screened out” of the survey and are therefore not entitled to the full payment.
Customer service (or lack thereof) also seems to be a glaring issue for many users. Whether it’s late replies or vague answers, many members have expressed their frustrations on Toluna’s mismanagement and lack of customer-centric focus.
Many have alleged that Toluna preys on members who take part in surveys and after accumulating points, no longer have the effort or determination to redeem their points.
Apart from stalling payments, there have been many customer reports of how Toluna has not paid them at all for their efforts – leading many to cry foul and vent their frustrations out on message boards and review sites like www.getpaidsurveys.com and www.surveypolice.com.
One issue with getpaidsurveys however is that the negative comments of many users do not reflect the rating given, and therefore Toluna ends up with a rosy 4.3 out of 5 stars based on 44 reviews.
Surveypolice on the other hand, is far more realistic – giving the company an overall rating of 1.5 out of 5 based on 183 user reviews.
The final judgment is that the website, though large in size and scale, seems to be suspicious as an understatement, and a clever gimmick as an overstatement.
That said, if you wish to join anyway, you can register a free Toluna account here. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Many users have unanimously described the website as “a waste of time” or “a scam.” In place of Toluna, we recommend you going over to Swagbucks or MySurvey, two of the most reliable and customer friendly paid survey sites on the web.