In recent times, this rumor about Panda Research being a scam has been making its rounds on the Internet.
Naturally, netizens (in particular survey takers) are curious to find out if there is any truth to this rumor. It’s only normal to expect this reaction. After all, all sorts of complaints have been flying fast and furious.
As a responsible Internet user, I am motivated enough to commission this review in order to get to the bottom of Panda Research.
Consistent with my other review work, this blog is going to be based primarily on my investigation and complimented by the feedback I collate from the Web,
A & A Marketing, Inc is the parent company of Panda Research, which counts MindsPay.com and InboxPays.com as siblings. But for some reason, this Buffalo Grove, Illinois company chooses not to pay the same kind of attention to these other two online survey panels.
PandaResearch.com was incorporated in 2005.
Better Business Bureau’s Rating
As usual, I started my research by checking out the website of the Better Business Bureau. To my surprise, I was not able to locate a company profile page. Naturally, there is no rating of the site.
I soon came to the realization that I would have to start off with the parent company, rather than the specific survey site.
Under the label of A & A Marketing, BBB stated that this company does not have any sort of accreditation arrangement with the rating agency.
On a range from A+ to F, BBB decides to designate a A- score to this company.
I then turned my attention to the website of Panda Research, and my first reading of the site was quite hilarious.
I always get curious about how businesses do things differently and what sort of intellectual property they hold.
So, sort of instinctively, I tend to flip to the copyright stuff. But before I got there, the copyright text lays right at the bottom of the web page stuck out like a sore thumb. It reads 2005 — 2009.
Get real guys, now is 2014!
I am not suggesting that the clumsiness is an indication of a potential scam at work. But the thing is that legitimate company usually makes serious effort to ensure the accuracy and relevancy of any information presented.
On another note, fully legit companies tend to have competent web developers making sure that all updates are applied all the times. At least, I can safely say that the professionalism on display certainly leaves much to be desired.
There is also a claim on the website that declares the company has made a payout of close to $2 million to survey participants. It is hard for me to read too much into this as there is nothing else on the web page that supports this claim.
To be frank, I am highly skeptical on this since complaints are left, right and center on the web about the frequent rejections of the company to pay for completed survey work.
I did try to substantiate this complaint from past and present members, but there is not a lot more information out there other than the grouses left behind.
So, is Panda Research a scam?
There is this thing I want to make clear at this point (I have my personal opinion about this site, but more on that later): Panda Research in all fairness is not another typical paid survey panel, the sort in the likes of I-Say or Global Test Market for example. It’s more like Vindale Research.
From what it is doing, I would classify the website as an “offer site” or otherwise known as a “GPT” (short for get paid to) site. A fuller explanation will be presented later.
The business model is drastically different from that of a full-fledged survey panel. Instead, PR pays participants as and when they take up certain offers (free trial offers, satellite TV, and lots more).
Whatever the reason, the company is misleading the market and declaring itself to be something it is not.
So What is Happening Here?
I’d like to stress here that it is not a matter of getting paid or not, as I can vouch that Panda Research actually has no issue whatsoever to pay the participants. But you can bet your last cent that the regular and significant stream of income is not going to come from survey work.
I said the above with some qualification, as it is based on my experience with the site. But at the same time, my statement deserves to be taken seriously, owing to the fact that I have been a longtime member on Panda Research.
Let us be no misunderstanding between us now.
I am not personally against this company or that I am highly suspicious of the business model practiced by Panda Research.
On the contrary, I am a grateful member who regularly takes up work and receive fair and prompt payment, as recognition of my time and effort spent.
The entire reason behind this particular section is to impress upon you that we are all free to make calls on whether to sign up with a particular site or another.
The basis of my review work is to inform you on the operation of the website, and what makes it stand out from other survey panels, which I must admit that I have covered quite a fair bit here at Survey Sarah.
New member registration is completely free of cost, and for survey work, Panda Research does not ever compel members to part with their money in order to participate in surveys.
If you are a hard-core survey taker and nothing else bothers you, there is no stopping you to go ahead and signing up with this website. They will never ask for your credit card details and they will not pester you with product trials (indeed, there are more things you need to pay attention with product trials).
Just focus on the survey side of the business, and dedicate your time to filling up questionnaires.
But if this is the only thing you are ready to do at PR, then be fully aware that the survey work on offer from this company may be less than satisfactory. I know for a fact that many other online survey panels have more regular work, and some of them pay quite generously as well.
For a top end survey, the pay out can be an impressive $75 per piece of work.
In that respect, Panda Research can be just as outrageous paymaster as it chooses to be.
There is no denying that such compensation is fantastic, but the frequency of such work can only be described as far and few.
I should know as I have been here from 2008. I am always on the lookout for such lucrative work, and I have to say I don’t find many here.
But before you get disheartened, there are more regular amount of mid range work. The compensation is not exactly fantastic but it compares somewhat favorably against the average market rate.
Tip for Earning More Money
For better money, a more worthwhile option could be found in the product trials.
But there is no free lunch here.
As the company dangles more profitable ventures, it also expects willing participants to put up a small fee, sort of precondition to the trials.
Sometimes this small fee is waived in exchange of your credit card details (this gives the company a chance to bill you should there be an incident that forms some sort of breach to the original agreement, like you forgot to return the product).
Personally, such conditions don’t really bother me, primarily because the money is too good to turn down.
Another thing that helps is that I have always been careful with all my dealings, so it is easy to make sure that everything goes as planned.
Being the diligent type, I’d keep things on order so that nothing will go wrong. For example, there is always this risk that a monthly debit could be slapped on your credit card assuming you have not canceled the trial upon the expiry period. But being who I am, such incident would have practically no chance to happen.
As you complete offers and surveys, the money in your account will keep on rolling.
As you get to the point of $50 balance, the system will make visible a button labeled “Get Paid“. You will have to get to the Account Status tab to access it.
If you decide it is time to get paid, there will be a follow up process from the company for account verification purposes. This way, it makes sure that nobody is out there to defraud them.
Assuming everything goes well from that point on, your request will loop back into the system and you can expect your cash out to be transferred to your PayPal account.
Take note that credit to PayPal happens only on the 1st or 15th of every month.
Do pay attention that if the company initiates a phone verification process. The site would then suspend all further processing until the mandatory 30 days wait period expires, which is to say that your payment request will only be further processed from the 31st day after the phone verification process kicks in.
I am a big fan of PayPal, so I am grateful that Panda Research chooses to credit my cash out there rather than through the usual check. I like the user-friendly nature of PayPal, and if you do hit problem at their site, there is an extensive list of self-help features to guide you along.
Of course, if this fails, you can always get in touch with their very competent support team.
If you still have that lingering fear about security on PayPal, fear no more!
I am a long user of PayPal and can safely say that the money has always been safe at PayPal and the way they record every transaction is top notch, I would say on par with any well-established financial institutions.
Then the fact that this is a free service (well, almost in all cases) does not hurt and they would be happy to hand you a debit card free of cost to you if you ask. And you can request transfer between your PayPal and your bank anytime, and for sure it is free.
Reviews of Panda Research Company by Others
It seems that this company extract different feelings from different members.
- On the positive side, most believe that this is one site that offers some really generous work.
- But some register their disapproval on the company’s insistence to include products offers, which they feel have squeezed out real paid surveys. This view is certainly representative of those hard-core survey takers. Some folks like me have never objected to this idea as this is surely a more profitable source of income, and we like it!
- In one incident, I came across a member complained about not able to get to the “Get Paid” button even though he has something in excess of $200 in his account. But there are more complaints about the amounts to be credited were incorrect. Contacting the support team would not help as they often got the standard “we will get back to you” response but never did.
- I really think $50 as the payout threshold is ridiculous, nobody else in the industry set this number so high. And there is this huge disappointment on their reluctance to approve all your funds all at once, even though it is clear that the fund is the result of work undertaken at PR. It has to be a portion of that fund at one time.
- I think the real killer issue for the company is allegations that people don’t get paid by Panda Research even though they have chalked up the prerequisite $50. And such complaints are getting more in recent times. I think unless the company urgently looks into the matter, it could hurt them real bad.
My Last Words
For some reason, the marketing message seems to want to convince the public that it is a true blue survey panel, when a bigger portion of the business is not on survey work.
I have made this point clear enough: if you hope to derive some decent income by tackling “real” online surveys alone, this is not the place.
What you rather do is to check out surveys commissioned by real marketing research companies, where you can expect more regular work and likely more generous payout.
But if the money part is your main motivation and you love the idea of “mix it up” in order to maximize your income potential, then Panda Research could make an interesting option.
So you have been warned, the company has nothing to do with scam, but it is certainly no real survey panel either!