[Reviews]Pinecone Research > Reviews > Bite sized surveys

Pinecone Research > Reviews > Bite sized surveys
Author's product rating:
Layout & Design Average
Navigation Satisfactory
How fast is this website? Satisfactory
Quality of the Content Average
Choice of Earnings Satisfactory
Advantages: Online survey work offering a better than average reward
Disadvantages: Locating the recruitment banner - no other way of joining the panel
Recommend to potential buyers: yes

Full review
~~ UPDATED MARCH 2008 ~~
Pinecone Research is yet another site offering paid online survey work. However, joining their survey panel is easier said than done. There is no sign up link via their website, as they recruit purely through online banner recruitment on specific target websites. Happily, if you do spot their recruitment banner, then don't hesitate over clicking and joining up as they offer a better than average return on paid online survey work.~~~ WHO ARE THEY ~~~Pinecone Research are part of AC Nielson, a huge US conglomerate based in New York, who are leaders in the market research field. As a Pinecone Research panelist you get to undertake online survey work, as well as get involved in occasional product testing. They offer work on mostly evaluating new products. In other words, you will be invited to give your opinion on new product ideas for items that are not generally available to the public. Occasionally, you may be invited to do some beta testing on the new product as well. Membership is strictly limited to one member per UK household.
~~~ VAGUE HINTS AND TIPS ON FINDING THE BANNER ~~~So you like the sound of joining the Pinecone panel but you now know there is no sign up link via their website, so where do you go from here? I'm afraid that finding the Pinecone Research recruitment banner is like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack, and I cannot offer you any hard and fast evidence as to where you will find their banner, just a couple of vague hints. My sign up link was through a banner advert on www.ipoints.co.uk. However, in the past I have also spotted the banner on a couple of different "free stuff" or "paid to click" websites. They have also been spotted on competition websites, and websites offering money saving advice. Sometimes they are looking to recruit specific target groups like dog owners, or first time mothers, so they will run their banners on pet owner or mother and baby websites.Sightings of it are quickly passed around the worldwide web, and they need to be fast as the banners go up and come down just as quickly. If you key Pinecone Research in a Google search engine, you will come up with numerous defunct forum links and threads reporting sightings of this Holy Grail. I spotted one forum last year offering a £5 reward to anyone finding and reporting the Pinecone Research join up banner. I would imagine that Pinecone have now taken steps to close this thread down as they are really hot on security.It's really just down to a stroke of luck and being ever vigilant in trying to spot their logo (pictures at the end of the review may make it easier to spot whilst surfing).
~~~ THE WEBSITE ~~~Whilst you are waiting to spot their elusive banner, you can go and have a look at their website (www.pineconeresearch.co.uk) it's quite well laid out in mostly gold, green, black and white. It doesn't offer a lot of clues on how to join their panel - it just tells you that:-"We are not currently recruiting new members via our website or taking unsolicited referrals. However, we will be posting recruitment opportunities through banner ads on various websites from time to time throughout the year. Please tell your family/friends to keep their eyes open for these."
And if you then want to know where you could possibly find the recruitment link they tell you:-"Unfortunately, there is no one site that I can disclose to you. The banner ad placement is not fixed over the life of the campaign. The web sites that our banner ads may appear on are constantly changing during the course of the campaign."
The home page is laid out as:-~ About Pinecone Research = Their aims and policies~ Treehouse Newsletter = Quarterly newsletter on what's new at Pinecone~ Go to current study = Log in and access your details or survey study~ FAQ/Support = Comprehensive and exhaustive - every question under the sun (and more)~ Privacy Policy = Promises of no spam etc;~ Member Login = Log into your account to either update your profile or access a specific survey/study.As you are paid for each and every individual survey you undertake, Pinecone doesn't have much of a personal account area for you to access. You can log on and update your personal information. There is also a record of surveys taken and payments made to you.
~~~ AND IF YOU DO SPOT THE BANNER ~~~If you do strike gold and end up finding the Pinecone Research Banner, click on the link IMMEDIATELY. These banners never hang around for long - sometimes they're up for just a matter of hours before disappearing into the ether. It's a really simple online form to complete. They ask for your name, address, email, occupation, age, gender, education level and the number of people in your household. In response, you will receive an email giving you instructions on how to access your first survey. Once you've completed that first survey, within a few days you'll receive a welcome letter in the post containing your payment, a letter and an accompanying leaflet telling you all about Pinecone Research. Both the email and letter will give you your Household ID eight digit number and password (as well as details on how to access your first survey). The Household ID number and password are crucial as you cannot access the study area of their website without it. Although they cannot be changed to anything more memorable, every survey invite will quote them, so don't worry if you lose the initial letter.
~~~ BITE SIZED REWARDS ~~~You get paid for each and every individual survey you undertake, so no annoying minimum points system before you get your loot. Every survey I have undertaken has paid a flat rate £4.00, no more and no less. I happen to think that £4.00 is a better than average return for approximately 10 minutes work. Rewards for Pinecone Research surveys are now paid out in either Accor Luncheon vouchers, or the new introduction of a PayPal option. If you don't have a PayPal account, then you either need to open one (see www.paypal.co.uk) or continue to accept luncheon vouchers. If you decide to use the new option of payment by PayPal you will need to log into your Pinecone account and update your payment option accordingly. You will then receive an email confirming your updated choice to be paid via PayPal instead of luncheon voucher for future survey work.
If opt for the luncheon voucher option, then the £4.00 payment comes in a handy little booklet detailing the outlets that take luncheon vouchers. The £4.00 is usually made up of a combination of £1 and £0.50p vouchers, which is ideal as you'll get no change from the outlet accepting them. The vouchers are valid for several months so you can save them up, or just treat yourself to a couple of CafĂ© Lattes at Starbucks. Unfortunately, Pinecone do not replace the luncheon vouchers if you lose them.Now you may think that luncheon vouchers sound a bit old fashioned and out of the ark. And it's true, they are not as widely used as they were in the 60's and 70's (or 80's for those of you who remember Cynthia Payne's brothel where they accepted Luncheon Voucher in exchange for certain services…). However, there are still over 33,000 high street outlets that accept them. You can use them to buy any products (not just food and drink) in all the major UK supermarket chains, as well as Boots. They can also be used in fast food outlets like Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks to name but a few. For a full detailed listing of outlets accepting them go to www.luncheonvouchers.co.uk. One word of warning though, you need to have patience in most outlets accepting them, as without fail, the majority of staff operating the till in said establishments have to call their supervisors for help in processing them.
And if you still don't fancy the sound of using luncheon vouchers, there's always a ready market of buyers on eBay, so you can always sell them on!~~~ SURVEY FORMAT ~~~Pinecone Research now send all survey invites by email. They used to post a letter to your home address giving you the same instructions as the email on how to access the survey. They also used to pop the luncheon vouchers in the post as well, so you could, effectively, get paid before you took the survey. However, they have now changed their system, and the luncheon vouchers will now only be mailed out to you upon completion of their survey.
The emails always come from scott@pineconeresearch.co.uk and they announce that you have been selected to take part in project number XYZ. They ask you to log onto the website and access the survey. It's worth noting that if you receive a survey invite from Pinecone Research, you've definitely qualified and you'll get paid. There are never any nasty and disappointing pre-screeners that reject you after 3 questions or less. Pinecone make their selection that you're part of their target group BEFORE they invite you to do their surveys. The email won't tell you what the survey is about, but they will give you the closing date of the survey (which is often a rather generous 5 to 7 days), so there is no need to rush to respond in case the target group fills up.The surveys are purported to take no more than 15 to 20 minutes. However, in my experience, you can get them done in a lot less (more like 8 to 10 minutes). Usually, you will be shown several images of the product you are surveying and asked for your opinion on the packaging, what you think of the product concept, and how likely you are to buy it. The questions are not at all difficult and it's mostly ticking multiple choice boxes. The surveys are extremely professional and well laid out. They are easy to complete and I have not yet experienced any technical problems. All the links have worked and done what they were supposed to do.
Occasionally you will be emailed and asked to complete a short household update questionnaire for which there is no payment.~~~ MY EXPERIENCE ~~~Despite their welcome pack leaflet promising approximately 1 to 2 surveys every month, I haven't fared as well as I hoped with Pinecone Research. In three years, I've received 30 surveys, and earned £120.00. Yet when you consider that £120.00 was earned for just over four hours work in total, that's really not a bad rate of return. I think I'm probably in a less popular demographic group, because my mother and aunt (both in their 60's) are both doing considerably better than me, each receiving the promised 1 to 2 surveys every month. To date I have received product questionnaires on cleaning products, deoderant, chewing gum, confectionary items, beer, shampoo, medical remedies and dog food. I have also been asked to undertake a couple of follow up product trials on some of the items I have been asked to survey.~~~ CUSTOMER SERVICE AND PRIVACY POLICY ~~~Customer services are run by Karen Scott and she is very quick to get back to you in the event of a problem. Pinecone Research assure you that your details will not be shared with third parties. One point worth making with Pinecone Research is that they are very hot on security. Before each and every survey/product test you undertake, you have to sign a disclosure agreeing not to discuss the product with anyone else. Periodically, they send out warning emails telling you that Big Brother Pinecone is watching you, and you should not be discussing any of the products you have evaluated on their behalf with anyone. Discussing any of the products online, be it in chat rooms, blogs or bulletin boards, may result in you getting thrown off the panel. To summarise in their words "We promise to keep your personal information secure and confidential. We ask that you promise to keep our information secure and confidential."~~~ CONCLUSION ~~~This is a survey site well worth joining if you can find that elusive recruitment link. Although the work is sporadic, they do offer a much better than average payment for minimum graft on your part. So, watch out for those banners with the green and white Pinecone logo - they've got to be out there somewhere…..
~~~ FURTHER INFORMATION ~~~Pinecone ResearchACNielsen HouseLondon RoadHeadingtonOxfordOX3 9RXE-mail: scott@pineconeresearch.co.uk Website: www.pineconeresearch.co.ukFreephone: 0800-028-6280