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We have reviewed several paid survey sites, but this is something a little different.
American Consumer Panel wants your opinion too, but you actually get to take products for a test drive. If that sounds like fun, read on for our American Consumer Panel review.
Have a Little Time, Make a Little Money
We like paid survey sites because they are an excellent way to make a little passive income. You get paid for giving your opinions to consumer research companies. You can do it while you watch television or commuting on public transit. Low effort but pretty low pay too.
What if you think your opinion is worth more? Then American Consumer Panel might be just the thing, you’re looking for. There is more effort required, but the payoff is much bigger than answering surveys online. Sound good?
With that said, let’s get started.
What is American Consumer Panel Review?
Companies have been using surveys to do consumer research for decades, and it works well. They can learn what consumers buy, what they like and what they don’t like. And the internet has made it easier than ever for companies to gather that information. They can get instant feedback.
But there is only so much information that can be gathered this way and some products require more feedback than can be obtained by asking reasonably general questions about a given product.
Sometimes companies need to actually get their products into the hands of consumers so they can try them out and provide feedback on how to improve them.
That’s where a company like American Consumer Panel come is. American Consumer Panel is an in-home testing site. ACP sends their panelists consumer products to use and test in a real-world setting.
The panelists provide feedback so any “bugs” or flaws can be corrected before the products are put into mass production and sold to the general public.
What are the Products?
There is a wide range of products that in-home testers are sent to try out and report their findings on; a mini-iPad, a digital baby monitor, a 48’ smart television, a NutriBullet, and all kinds of other fun stuff.
Not only do you get paid to test these products, in most cases you get to keep them too!
Companies that work with ACP include Apple, Dyson, KitchenAid, Sony, and Ray-Ban. So you aren’t getting small things to test like samples of laundry detergent or toothpaste. You are getting to test and keep pretty big ticket items.
Becoming a Panelist
In most cases, anyone who is at least the required age and a resident of a particular country can join a survey site. That’s not the case with ACP. You must apply through their website.
You will be directed to an application page where you will answer some basic demographic questions and learn how much you will be paid, the conditions of being a product tester, and the type of products you might be asked to test.
You must also sign a non-disclosure agreement, stating that you will not divulge product information.
As the products you are testing are still in the development stage, the details of them are private, and the companies that manufacture the products want to make sure they stay that way until they are released to the public.
There are two options to join; VIP Voice Consumer Panel and MySurvey Consumer Panel. VIP “provides market information and advisory services to help companies make better business decisions.” You provide feedback about products you buy, services you use, and stores you shop in.
MySurvey Consumer Panel is “a group of consumers from all over the United States who influence future products and services by volunteering to participate in consumer research.” You will give your opinion on things like airbags, anti-lock brakes, credit cards, and many other products.
This was a bit confusing to me. When I clicked to join MySurvey, I was directed to MySurvey which is an outside site. I don’t want to work for them, I want to work for ACP but thought I needed to choose one of these options to continue with the application process for ACP.
I did eventually figure it out. Ignore both of these options. They really have nothing to do with ACP. On the top right of ACP’s page, you will see “Apply For Product Testing.” That’s what we’re looking for.
You will then see a list of job openings with ACP which is located in New York City. When I applied, they had open positions for payroll assistant, account executive, and application developer.
I don’t live in New York City, and I want to work from home. That’s what we’re looking for.
I click on that and answer a few questions, are you able to commit to working 15-20 hour per week, are you willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement, will you take proper care of any products you are sent to test, are you willing to give sincere feedback.
Becoming a Panelist Part II
I answer all the questions and am asked to confirm my email address through a link sent to it. I do that and guess what? I was redirected to the page listing the two outside survey companies!
ACP uses these sites to determine whether or not an applicant is eligible for a home tester job with them. You will have to sign up for one of these sites, preferably both and fill out the demographic information on their sites.
You see a message that reads, “As stated in the previous section, in order to provide you with continuous work and guaranteed hours per week, we need to establish your detailed consumer profile and demographics so we can determine a variety of products that you could test.
We will establish your consumer profile with the help of two reputable consumer research firms (below).
After you register (free) with these two market research firms and answer their consumer surveys to establish your detailed consumer profile, we will know better your demographics and what types of products you could test with us.”
I already have accounts with both those survey sites so I log in and there is no further information about ACP. So I can only assume that ACP will get the demographic information they need about me from these two sites who already have it.
Hopefully the fact that I have participated in a considerable amount of surveys on both sites boosts my standing as a potential candidate to work with ACP. They can see that I am genuinely interested in giving my opinions and feedback on various products because I have already been doing it.
It takes about three weeks to find out if you have been selected. And like most jobs that don’t hire you, if you aren’t chosen, you aren’t notified.
If you are lucky enough to be selected as an in-home tester with ACP, they will notify you and request your mailing address to send out a product to test for a week or two.
In-home product testing requires a lot more than ticking boxes on a survey site while you watch television in the evening. You may be required to document your usage of the product by taking written notes of your experience, writing a review, and taking photos of the product.
You may also be required to join an internet forum so you can share your experience of the product with other testers. While 95% of the home testing job can be done from home, sometimes testers may be asked to make a visit to a client’s office, lab, store, warehouse or factory for training or meetings.
You will only be asked to do these on-site visits if the location is within a twenty-minute drive from your home. The visits are optional and paid by the hour.
You may also be asked to attend Skype meetings or conference calls with account managers, brand managers, research managers, products managers or small business owners to give product feedback.
The meetings are short and paid by the hour but may take place 2-3 times a week. That is a pretty big time commitment, so if you work a standard 9-5 job, you may not be able to work for ACP.
How Much Can You Make?
A pretty penny to be sure and a guaranteed number of working hours. This is mind-blowing to those of us who have toiled filling out a 30-minute survey only to earn just a few pennies or waited weeks between surveys.
Product testers with ACP make from $25-45 per hour and are promised at least 15-20 hours of work per week! Testers are paid at the end of the testing period, which usually lasts one to two weeks. They will be sent a check or can choose to use direct deposit (the method ACP prefers).
What’s the Verdict?
It’s only been a week since I applied to be a product tester with ACP, so I haven’t heard back from them yet. What I have received is lots of spam email. It seems like I’m not alone. There are several complaints about ACP on sites like Glassdoor.
Most of them are from people who feel like they gave up a lot of information to ACP which the company then sold. That may be true, I certainly have had an uptick in my Spam folder. Others complain that it is taking weeks or even months for ACP to pay them if they are being paid at all.
I don’t find it impossible to believe that a company like ACP would pay people well for their time. As you saw, the requirements for testing products is pretty involved including participating in meetings.
No one’s time is free and $25 an hour isn’t so outrageous for the amount of work required although the stated possible $45 an hour does seem pretty incredible (as in I don’t find it credible, not that it’s really great).
The thing that I find harder to believe is that you can expect 15-20 hours of work a week doing in-home product testing. Unless you are being sent multiple products at the same time, I just don’t think there is that much work involved even if you are participating regularly in meetings.
So what is the verdict on working as a home tester for ACP? The jury is still out. I will update this in a few weeks when I know if I have been chosen or not. I have to say; I’m not especially optimistic.
If ACP did what they claim to do, pay people $25-45 an hour for 15-20 hours of work per week, there would not be a single financial blogger in the world who didn’t know about it. It would be on every single “How to Make Money From Home” list on the internet.
But I have been a personal finance writer for five years and have written those kinds of articles before, and I had not heard of it until I wrote this review.
Under the “Press” section of ACP’s website are just two articles, one from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette from March 21, 2016, and one from US Financial News Today from March 22, 2016.
Both articles published just a day apart, and they are both exactly the same. Word for word. So either they are fake, or they are merely press releases that ACP convinced these two publications to run.
So stayed tuned everyone. But don’t get your hopes up. If you want to make money, certainly not as much as ACP is claiming you can make, but money that you will be paid, check out sites like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie.
They are both well known and reputable with lots of reviews online from satisfied users.