Survey sites like Pinecone Research allow businesses to gather insightful customer feedback. As a participant, the process is straightforward: subscribers answer surveys in exchange for rewards in the form of cold cash, e-gift cards, or products. Our full Pinecone Research review will highlight all you need to know.
The completed surveys offer valuable feedback that enables businesses to improve their product or service offerings.
In a nutshell, survey sites pay you to share your opinion, but participants must approach with caution: there are drawbacks to consider and the payoffs aren’t often what you expect.
This Pinecone Research review gives you the honest lowdown with tips on how to make money off the platform.
Table of Contents
What is Pinecone Research?
Pinecone Research is a survey website and product testing platform that operates under Nielsen Company, the same parent company of AC Nielsen Bases.
Nielsen, a global marketing research firm founded in 1923 and operates in more than 100 countries, is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a leading non-profit organization that helps people find and recommend businesses, with a perfect rating of A+.
Pinecone Research’s primary focus is to collect surveys for its client base, a process done through strictly targeted demographics and a simple reward system.
Why is Pinecone Research Different
As opposed to other survey sites, Pinecone Research’s main difference is its exclusivity. While most survey sites are open to all subscribers, Pinecone Research gathers participants only through banner ads.
The strict recruitment process ensures that all members are a part of their client’s target market.
With a difficult entry point, Pinecone Research is definitely not for everyone. This means that you cannot participate in Pinecone Research if you haven’t been targeted by any of their sign up advertisements through unsolicited websites.
If you’re looking to make money online without having to wait to be targeted, then you may be better off with some of the other best survey sites like Survey Junkie, Inbox Dollars, Swagbucks, and Prize Rebel.
Know, however, that Pinecone Research is one of the best paying survey sites around, and if you’re lucky enough to come across one of their advertisement while you’re browsing online, you have absolutely nothing to lose by signing up.
How Pinecone Research Works: Rates, Rules, and Rewards
Panelists may earn points by completing a variety of online surveys sent to their email. Each survey takes at least 15 to 30 minutes to complete.
For each survey, the company pays its members a minimum of 300 points, which equates to USD $3. The panelist’s very first survey is instantly rewarded 300 points with an instant payout through cheque – a security measure to establish your profile and account.
After your very first cheque, you will then be able to choose how you’d want to claim your future rewards. You’ll be able to see the surveys you’ve completed on the survey history dashboard.
Pinecone Research has a ‘one member per household’ rule, which means there could only be one designated spokesperson per household. Because panelists are pulled for studies according to specific demographic requirements, surveys are tailored for the participant and only for the participant.
However, other members of the participant’s household may be able to participate in some of the surveys from time to time.
Pinecone Research requires that panelists answer surveys sent to them in a timely manner, but they may opt to suspend their surveys for a short time if their computer goes down, if they’re out of town, or on a vacation. Panelists aiming to take a hiatus of more than two weeks must contact the company for approval.
Types of Surveys
Pinecone Research surveys are widely varied and take on different topics. This may include movies and TV shows, music, health & beauty, sports and recreation, electronics, kids and baby, and home topics.
As mentioned, surveys may take around 15 to 20 minutes to complete.
Product Testing Opportunities
In some cases, Pinecone Research will ask you if you’re interested in trying out a new product. If you answer yes, the company may send you the product for your testing only, which means you are not allowed to give the product sample to anyone outside of your immediate family.
Manufacturers try to protect their products from the eyes of competitors, so products may only be evaluated at the participant’s own household and cannot be discussed with neighbors, friends, or relatives outside the house.
Receiving products doesn’t always mean you get to keep them. In some cases, the manufacturer will request for the products to be sent back to them to see how they hold up after typical use.
Panelists may be able to claim their rewards through the following options:
A minimum of $3 is required before making a Paypal cashout, with payments processed within 3-5 businesses without any extra fees.
Panelists may request a check payment after completing one survey or when they have accumulated $3. They may choose a payment denomination of $3, $5, or $15. It may take three to five business days for checks to process after which it is mailed.
Check payments have longer wait times compared to PayPal.
Catalog and Gift Cards
Prepaid Virtual Visas
Do note that some Visas are only available to residents of the US or residents of other US territories.
Panelists may also opt to be rewarded with Amazon e-Cards with their collected points. E-cards are to be sent directly to their email account.
Getting Kicked Out
Your participation in Pinecone Research is entirely voluntary, and you may opt-out of your panel membership at any time.
However, panelists may get kicked out of the survey pool for several reasons.
Apart from survey non-compliance, you may be removed from the panel for violating confidentiality, violating the membership agreement, or having multiple people register on your account.
Another way you may get kicked out is when Pinecone Research holds a panel composition maintenance: when the company refreshes its panel composition to stay current with changes in its general population and to offer clients more variety in consumer opinions.
How to Sign Up for Pinecone Research
As mentioned, the only way for subscribers to sign up is to click on web advertisements (assuming you become targeted) or through member referrals.
To join, you must be 18-years old or above and a resident of the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, or Canada. Pinecone Research has separate panels for each country.
As opposed to other survey sites, Pinecone Research has very strict quotas and look for very specific candidates (eg Hispanic women aged 30-45). Even if you’re a part of these criteria, you may still be rejected if they already have enough members to fill the demographic.
Though it may be hard to get in and its sign up forms are incredibly elusive, Pinecone Research’s knack of being meticulous with its membership is key to its many advantages. More of that below.
Pros of Pinecone Research
Answer only prequalified surveys.
Here’s one of the reasons why Pinecone Research’s exclusivity is to its advantage: since the company knows exactly who they need, participants won’t be wasting precious time answering surveys they aren’t even qualified for in the first place.
This is one of the qualities Pinecone Research reviews mostly rave about.
Other survey sites will have you answer surveys with a series of prequalifying questions to check your eligibility.
Twenty minutes in and you may receive a notification saying that you aren’t qualified to take the survey; this is time wasted without reaping any rewards.
Though the company sends you fewer surveys as opposed to other survey sites, it only sends you surveys that you are eligible to take.
Test unreleased products.
Pinecone Research allows you to test drive a product before it hits the market. This is an attractive feature for product geeks or anyone who’s motivated by new and shiny things.
Know, however, that there is no way to voluntarily sign up for product testing; the company only sends you items if it sees fit.
Pinecone Research is one of the highest paying survey sites. The company pays a minimum of $3 per survey, while some of the most popular survey sites pay relatively less (eg Survey Junkie – $1 to $3, Swagbucks – $0.40 to $2).
Participants may expect a pay rise the longer they stay in the site, with a cap at $5.
Safe against errors or browser crashes.
With other survey sites, a browsing crashing means losing the survey you’ve already started which can be very frustrating. The website saves all your answers in case of an emergency.
Various reward options.
While other survey sites only have rewards in the form of cash and limited gift cards, Pinecone Research has a more robust rewards system that also features gift cards of multiple varieties (e.g. Amazon, Starbucks, restaurants, Walmart, Home Depot).
No minimum cashouts.
Other survey sites will require you to rack up a certain number of points before claiming rewards, but Pinecone Research allows you to redeem even after just answering one survey.
This gives you the flexibility to claim rewards any time you want – in cash or in kind.
Cons of Pinecone Research
An invite-only membership.
This is, by far, the worst drawback Pinecone Research has over other survey sites. There is no way to register on the company website as you need an invitation form to get in. The only way to sign up is to click on banner ads, and they only appear if you are targeted.
You may be kicked out at any time.
Pinecone Research reserves the right to let go of their panelists should they need to. Your membership is dependent on the platform’s needs.
As compared to Survey Junkie’s modern and organized interface, Pinecone Research’s website looks and feels very outdated.
If you do not reside in the United States, Germany, UK, or Canada, there is no way for you to apply for membership. You also need to be at least 18 years old to join.
This to be a commonly encountered critique in most Pinecone Research reviews. Though they pay really well, the company only sends you one to two surveys a month, which is really not that much if your goal is to make a lot of money.
Desktop or laptop only.
Compared to other survey sites, Pinecone Research is only available through desktops and laptops. Without a mobile app, you will not be able to make money while on the move.
Pinecone Research only allows one member per household to become a panelist. As already mentioned, once you’re already a panelist, other members of your household are instantly banned from joining the pool.
See Related: InboxDollars Review
Is Pinecone Research Legit or a Scam?
The quick answer: a resounding yes, if legitimacy is determined by whether or not they pay or if they fool people into shady scams. In our study of online reviews, Pinecone Research makes honest payouts to its panelists and within the duration it promises.
Upon closer inspection of its BBB ratings, we discovered that its F rating was attributed to its poor customer service; only 13 complaints were closed out of the 55 that were posted in the last three years.
While BBB is a good benchmark of a company’s legitimacy, it does not guarantee the business’ reliability or performance.
Thus, we crosschecked other sources and found more favorable Pinecone Research reviews – in general, users enjoyed Pinecone Research’s speed of payment, interesting surveys, and high payouts.
There are also no reports of Pinecone Research scamming people, but there are some things users need to be wary of. As a legitimate company, the company frequently falls prey to fraud with a lot of fraudulent companies trying to trick people by using a similar name.
Always remember that you don’t need to pay anything to become a member of Pinecone Research. Any company that claims to be Pinecone Research and requires an initial membership fee is fraudulent and should not be trusted.