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Survey Junkie

Disclaimer:  This post has been sponsored by Survey Junkie, but all opinions are my own.

survey junkie, review

REVIEW OF SURVEY JUNKIE

 

My last post here was a review of several different survey sites and other ways to make some money through side hustles. Recently, I have come across another survey site, Survey Junkie. So far I am very impressed with this site.  The interface on their website is one of the easiest to navigate that I have come across.  The site has large font and a very easy to read and intuitive layout. Your points are on one side, and the surveys on the other.  The point system at Survey Junkie is pretty simple.  For each dollar, you need one hundred points.  Points can be cashed in when your balance reaches $10, or 1000 points.  The points can be redeemed for cash (paypal), or for gift cards. Redeeming your points is free, you are not docked points for cashing out.  The surveys refresh pretty often, it seems there are always new surveys to take, and plenty of them. Just like other sites, you will not qualify for every survey.  But Survey Junkie does award you a few points for your time. One thing I noticed right away was the ‘help’ button is very easy to see, and prominently displayed.

I looked them up on Trustpilot, which has reviews of many companies.  They get a 4 out of 5 stars, with over 4,100 total reviews.

I have not had the opportunity to cash out yet, but I am very optimistic about this particular site.  Once I get enough points to cash out, I will update this review.

HERE is the link to Survey Junkie is you are interested in their site.

 

Disclaimer:  This post has been sponsored by Survey Junkie, but all opinions are my own.

How I Made Over $800 Dollars By Clicking a Few Buttons

So in 2017, I set out to see how much I could make in side hustles I did some research, and found several apps and websites that pay you to give your opinion, take surveys, or test websites.  I tried to keep track of my results, so I would know whether a site was worth it or not.  I didn’t put as much time into it as I should have, or I’m sure I could have made much more.  All of the website reviewing sites are first come first serve, so you have to be quick!  Sometimes you may not qualify due to demographics as well.  Most are pretty simple tasks, such as comparing to different sites for the same customer and just telling which one you like better.

side hustle, app, money, save

WEBSITE REVIEW SITES:

Userzoom. This has been a great side hustle.  So far with them I have made $140.  You get paid to test websites either on your android device or on desktop.  Each successful test is worth $10.  Payments are made to paypal, and they have been very quick to pay.  Some tests only take a few minutes!  This is by far my favorite web-testing site.

The second one is Validately.  They provide website testing for those needing such services.  They also occasionally hire folks to do the testing.  You can test on your desktop, or you can also test on android devices.  Of course, the more ways you decide to test, the better.  I earned $85 with this site.  My first test alone netted me $50.  They pay pretty quick, right into your paypal.  When you are notified of a test, you need to jump on the opportunity pretty quick, as they are first come, first served.

WhatUsersDo is another pretty good site.  I have completed four tests, at $5 per test.  Testing can be on PC, smartphones, or tablets.  Not many opportunities, but the pay is predictable.  They process payments on the 25th of each month (excluding UK weekends and public holidays) for any tests carried out, and accepted by them for the preceding month, and pay with paypal.

Userlytics This is another website testing service.  So far I have only completed one test for $10.  Payment was prompt, and I just wish they had more opportunities.

Testing Time This has been a bit of a disappointment.  There have hardly been any opportunities, and I have only made a total of $3.07.

Enroll I have made a whopping $2.60 with this site.  It usually revolves around single questions worth about $0.10 per question, with the occasional $0.25 bonus.  If there were more questions, it would certainly add up, but that has not been the case.

SURVEY TAKING APPS:

VIP Voice You will either love or hate this site.  You earn points on surveys, and then you can ‘bid’ on items, including cash payouts.  Through quite a bit of effort I was able to turn my points into $70.  I probably went through more trouble than I should have to try my luck at the auctions, but I was determined to get something out of my hard earned points!  $25 of the total was through an online diary of snacks and meals that lasted a week.  It was tedious filling it out, but they paid the $25 soon after the diary was complete.

Harris Poll Online.  This has been a pretty consistent survey taking site.  You can take surveys online, or download their app.  I made $50 on this one, paid out as a Walmart gift card.  Links to several surveys per day are sent to your email.  You may not qualify for all of them, but I was pleased with this particular site.

I-SAY This is a pretty good survey site.  I qualified for maybe 30% of the surveys, but they give plenty of opportunities. I was able to earn a $50 Amazon gift card on this site.

Survey Savvy This site does not have a ton of opportunities, but they are usually short (between 5 and 20 minutes), and pay between $0.50 and $5.00.  I earned about $35 with this one.  They also pay for referrals, so if you do decide to give it a try, I would appreciate using my referral link here.

Paidviewpoint I have made $15.09 with this site.  They ask usually 10 short questions that are worth a total of $0.10.  The surveys are fairly consistent, so the cash can add up.  They also work on referrals, and my link is here.

SITES AND APPS WITH MORE THAN ONE WAY TO EARN:

Inbox Dollars This site has many ways to earn.  Right off the bat there is a $5 sign up bonus.  You can earn money from taking surveys.  Sometimes you may spend 10 minutes or more filling out a survey then get ‘I’m sorry you do not qualify for this survey.’  You do, however, get ‘spins’ for surveys you did not qualify for.  These spins may land you on $, sweeps, or nothing. (mostly sweeps it seems).  Sweeps can be used to try for gift card drawings.  For instance, you may spend 25 sweeps to try to get a $25 Target gift card.  I’ve never won at a ‘sweep’ yet.  You can make money by signing up for ‘offers’ that may be magazines, credit cards, etc.  So the $2 you may make for signing up, may be wiped out by whatever it is you are signing up for.  Paid emails are another way to earn.  You may get $.01 for reading a paid email, which I get about twice a day.  These emails then lead to more offers or surveys.   You can also make money by downloading apps and trying them out.  I have not done this, because you are opening yourself to a flood of spam.  You may have to download, and play a level before you get credit.  Search is another way to earn.  You get credit for up to 4 searches a day, 4 times a week.  You can watch videos, which may be short ads for apps.  Basically you are watching commercials.   You get cash and sweeps.  You get  a few extra sweeps for 10, 25 and 50 videos watched.   Not a bad way to earn if you are on the treadmill or otherwise killing time.   The minimum payout for this app is $30, and I was able to get $47.64.

Swagbucks  This seems to be one of the original apps for earning extra cash. This app has tons of ways to earn money.  Not just through the app, but on the website as well.  You earn ‘swagbucks (SB)’ for all kinds of things.  You can earn through searches, surveys, watching videos, and shopping.  You may get notifications that Swagcodes are available, that you can input.  Swag codes are usually worth 3 SB, but I have received up to 40 before.  If you do not qualify for a survey, you get SB.   Watching videos can be a little tedious.  For instance, you may get 3 SB for watching 50 minutes of videos, then the video crashes at 40 minutes.  There is no partial credit, you just wasted 40 minutes.  But if it works, just click on the video then let it run while you carry on with other tasks.    You can get your SB redeemed in a ton of different ways, from gift cards to donations.  Payouts can be made starting at $5, and sometimes there are ‘sales’.  For example you may get a $25 gift card for 2200 SB instead of the usual 2500.   There is a separate app called Swagbucks TV that you can watch trailers on and earn SB, but so far SBTV has been a little buggy for me.  I made $40 with Swagbucks, paid out as Amazon e-gift cards.   This is my referral link.

Checkpoints I have done a more in-depth review of this app as well as a few of the other apps here.  Overall I’m pleased with this app, and have made a total of $30, $25 as an Amazon gift card, and $5 into my Paypal account.

Pointclub.  This one was disappointing.  It started out good, including a signup bonus of $5.  But I gave up after a while due to difficulty in getting paid, and the inconsistency in the way the daily streak adds up.  You can read my entire review here.  I did manage $25 into my Paypal before I gave up.

MyPoints.  This one is very promising, with tons of ways to earn.  In some ways, it is a lot like Swagbucks.  You can earn points through surveys, shopping, and a ‘daily 5’ that includes checking out websites, coupons, and taking surveys.  I’ve only done this one for about 6 months, but I did manage to get a $10 Amazon card.  The coupons are good, some with a few dollars off of every day items.  You get points for printing them out, and points later when they are redeemed.

EARN THAT MONEY!

There are a few apps that you actually have to work for.  Horrible I know.  Slice the Pie is one of these.  You can review clothes, cell phone accessories, and music.  Each review only takes a minute or two and pays between $0.08 and $0.21.  Not huge, but if you put some time into it, you can make a few dollars.  I did NOT put much time into it, and managed $7.14.  With more effort, I’m sure I could have banked more.  I would appreciate using my referral link.

Microsoft.  Yes, can you believe Bill has a few dollars to spare?  By clicking on some headlines, doing searches, and playing trivia, you can earn points.  I’ve put a dent in the Gates’ life savings to the tune of $5.  Not bad for a few seconds effort.

Slidejoy. This is probably the easiest app to use.  It replaces your lock screen with an ad.  Each swipe is worth a carat, and every 1000 carats is worth about a dollar.  You would be surprised how many times a day you swipe your screen to unlock it.  The carats can be redeemed at Paypal, or for gift cards at several retailers.  You can also donate your carats Minimum payout on this on is $2.  The carats have to sit in you account for a month, but it shows a total vs. those payable.  I’ve made about $5 so far with this app.  This is my referral code.

SHOP AND SAVE

The last segment here are apps that give you cash back for shopping.  The National Consumer Panel or NCP  has earned me $50 so far.  You scan every item you purchase.  Yes, time consuming, but I don’t mind.  You earn points that can be used to different items, or gift cards. At first they send you a scanner.  If you do a good job, and prove you are serious, they will give you a link to the app that can be used on your phone. I have also been chosen to try out a few ‘secret’ items.  They send you an item, you try it out, and tell what you thought of it.  Pretty cool.

Ibotta.  This one has been around a while.  Find something that has a rebate on the app, scan it, get money.  Pretty simple.  I made $75 with Ibotta this past year. Thanks in advance for checking out my referral link.

Walmart Savings Catcher.  This is part of the Walmart app.  Scan your Walmart receipt, and it will compare prices to nearby stores.  Any difference in items will be ‘caught’ and added to your account.  They used to pay out in gift cards, or egift cards, but now it just goes directly into Walmart pay.  Not a big deal since EVERYONE shops at Walmart, right? I managed to get back $36.64 with the Savings Catcher.

Receipt Hog scans your receipts, which earns you coins.  The receipts that count are for grocery items, health items, beauty products and more.  You get spins for clothing stores, home improvement stores, electronic stores, sporting goods stores and more.  Spins can earn you extra coins.  You also get spins my moving up levels, which is based on how many total weeks you are feeding your hog.  By connecting with your Amazon account, you can earn bonus coins.  Prizes can be redeemed through Paypal, or Amazon.  1000 coins = $5, so it takes a while to earn. I did manage a $25 Amazon e-gift card with this one.

Ebates.  This is a great site if you do any amount of online shopping.  Put in the name of the store, and it will show you if there is any cash back.  Payments are sent out as a ‘Big Fat Check’.  I got $22.39 back with Ebates.  My referral link is here.

I hope this have been helpful, and that you can save a few bucks. Nothing here will make you rich, but having several hundred extra dollars isn’t too bad!  Some sites may be more ‘efficient’ than others at earning, so you will have to mess around with them and find out what gets you your maximum cash back.  Good Luck!

 

 

Review of Pointclub App

pointclub, app, review

Pointclub is just one of many money-making, survey taking apps out there.  You take surveys, and are awarded points which can be used towards Paypal e-gift cards.

There are tons of apps/sites out there in which you start to take a survey, answer several questions, and then all of the sudden, you are not qualified for the survey.  The good thing about Pointclub is that even if you do not qualify, you are awarded 12 points. You aren’t going to pile up serious points this way, but at least you are awarded something for trying.  You can get the 12 points for not qualifying up to five times in one day.

Another unique thing about Pointclub, is that every day you log in, you get credit for a ‘streak’.  The longer your streak, the higher your rewards will be on surveys.  This is a great concept; if it worked.  I noticed once after a 60 day streak, that the next day, my streak went down to 35; i thought maybe it was just a fluke.  But since then, I had a streak of 105 that went down to 58, and as recently as last week, I had a streak of 65 go down to 15.

Cashing out of Pointclub is very simple.  You can request payment for a Paypal e-gift card when your points get up to 25,000 ($25).  I requested a payout over a month ago, and I did not have a great experience.  After two weeks, I emailed them and they said there had been delays in processing. The very next day it showed -25,000 points from my account.  Over the next two weeks I periodically checked my Paypal account.  Nothing.  I again emailed them. The next day I got a $25 credit in my Paypal account.

Stay, or move on?

I’m still not sure if Pointclub is worth my time or not.  Like any survey site, you will not qualify for a LOT of surveys.  I”m probably about 10% on my success rate, but at least you get some points for not qualifying.  I don’t know if my payout experience was typical, or if you have to beg for your money every time.  I may give this one a shot until my next payout and see how it goes.  At least they have been quick to answer my e-mail questions about the payouts.  If I run into the same issues the next time I am eligible for a payout, and if my ‘streak’ keeps disappearing, there are many other survey sites out there worth trying.

UPDATE: 10/13/17

Well, in the last week alone, my ‘streak’ has went down to 15, and then this morning, it is down to 5!!  After these two most recent issues, I think I am giving up on Point Club, and moving on to other apps.  There are still several I am trying, and will update on those soon.

 

Review of Survey Site Opinion Outpost

In hopes of earning a few extra dollars, I have joined a few survey sites.  I’ve read some reviews, and thought Opinion Outpost was worth trying.  I had been taking surveys for several months with no problems.  The surveys were relatively short, most less than 10 minutes, 30 minutes at the absolute most with pretty good points awarded.  I actually enjoyed the surveys.  All was smooth sailing.

review opinion outpost survey

About a month ago, I tried to login to my account, and it said I had been locked out due to data concerns.  I emailed them, and they got back to me saying there may have been a data issue, and could I send them my information to verify my account.

No problem.  I sent them my information.  I did not get a reply for almost a month.  This is the message I received:

‘We thank you for your patience with us and apologize for the inconvenience caused. After a thorough review of your account, our Accounts Department has determined that the activity on your account has violated our terms and conditions. Unfortunately, accounts that violate our terms and conditions can no longer be restored. Our Accounts Department has made the final decision to permanently deactivate your account along with your point balance.
We truly apologize for the inconvenience. We value our members as well as our clients who make important decisions based on input from the responses our members provide.’

Conclusion

I got no explanation of HOW I violated any terms and conditions.  What made me the most upset, was they took away my point balance.  I can’t remember how many points I had, but I think I was up to about $25.  I put in a lot of time and answered a lot of questions just to lose them.

I’m still waiting on an explanation of why they closed my account, but I”m not holding my breath. I would have given this site 4/5 stars, but now I’d say 0/5, and use at your own risk!

Servpro vs. Servicemaster; My Experience

servpro, servicemaster

Recently we had over 11 inches of rain in a 48-hour period.  There was widespread flooding, and many homes were damaged.  For the first time in 16 years, our home was one of those. Water backed up into our basement.  (Side note: They make an expanding drain plug that costs about $4.50 that you can stop your floor drain with in case it looks like water might back up.) Luckily, compared to many other people, our damage was very limited.  The water never ‘stood’, it just fanned out in a thin layer.  A third of our basement is carpeted, and the outer 3-4 feet of the carpet became wet.  I planned on putting some fans out, but the power went out for about 6 hours.  When the power came back on, I was able to put out several fans, and a dehumidifier.  All of this happened Friday night/Saturday morning.

SERVPRO

I knew that my insurance was not going to cover whatever it was that I would need done.  I do not have flood insurance, so all of this would be directly out of my pocket.  Sunday morning I called Servpro because, well that’s the first name that pops up in a search.  I asked around on Facebook and talked to my insurance carrier, and the consensus was that they were good, but pricey.  Monday evening a guy stopped by to look at our basement.  Even though Servpro had ‘local’ franchises, they guy that came by was from Lexington, Kentucky, which was 300 miles away. By this time, we had been soaking up water with towels, had fans going, and a dehumidifier, and had moved anything that was getting wet.  I reiterate, we did not have standing water, just a wet perimeter.  The water was not even ‘over’ the carpet.  The guy looks around for about 30 minutes and says ‘it should be about $4600, worst case scenario’.  He said he would send me a detailed estimate the next morning.  My wife and I were in shock, as we tried to make it clear this would be all us-not insurance.  He was talking about taking the baseboards off, putting in air movers and dehus (the cool short term for dehumidifier I guess),  and removing some drywall.  He said the carpet should be salvageable and would not need to be removed. My wife and I decided that in the morning we would get a second opinion.

SERVICEMASTER

So as we waited for our detailed estimate, we called another contractor, Servicemaster.  At this point everyone was slammed, as there was much flooding in about a four county area.  Servicemaster called back that day (Tuesday by now), and said they would try to get over to look at it on Wednesday.  So I waited all day Tuesday for the estimate from Servpro that was coming that morning.  The estimate finally came Wednesday afternoon.  Now we were up to $5100!  They had decided that the carpet needed to be removed.  They were also charging for ‘furniture manipulation’ of $110 to move around the sectional we had that was in a dry area.  We had already moved everything else.  They wanted to put 15 air movers in a 860 square foot area  for 3 days, at $25.36 each (that’s 15 x 3 x$25.86)!!  They also had 3 dehumidifiers for 3 days at  $114.72 each (3 x 3 x$114.72)!! They were going to remove all of the baseboards, charge for carpet AND pad removal separately AND charge for water removal from the carpet they were ripping out!  Again the total was over $5100.  By this time, our floor was 99% dry anyway, and I checked the drywall and there was no water soaking into it.  But I was about to tear out the carpet myself to save a few dollars.  My wife convinced me to just wait on the second estimate from Servicemaster.

Later that evening, two brothers from Servicemaster came by.  Their office was about 3 miles away.  They looked around, took moisture readings in the air, carpet and walls, and showed me each reading.  They said that I didn’t need to remove anything because quite frankly, it wasn’t wet.  If it isn’t wet, it wont grow mold.  They explained the acceptable ranges for moisture content and nothing needed to be torn out.  They suggested that we continue with our fans and dehumidifier, and they would comeback next week and shampoo the entire carpet for $110.  Yes, I’m not missing any zeros!  On Tuesday of the following week, they came and totally cleaned the DRY carpet.  They took some moisture readings to make sure.  After they were done, they praised us for being patient with them because they had been so busy.  I know there were many people with FEET of standing water in their basement, and what we had to endure was very minor.  They said how much they appreciated our kindness, and said ‘how does $60 sound?’. I was shocked!  They even did our stairs, which we had not asked for.  These guys were very professional, and I really was impressed by how they walked us through every detail when they were taking readings.

Maybe we just got a Servpro representative who needed to meet a quota, but I cannot imagine whey they would charge if someone has flood insurance.  That would be borderline insurance fraud in my opinion.  But from this experience, I would definitely recommend Servicemaster the next time someone is in need of any kind of restoration.

Testing Site Review-UserZoom

USERZOOM

 

Userzoom is a company that pays people to test websites. You can also hire userzoom to get feedback on your websites. My experience with the company is that of a ‘tester’. Using a webcam or the camera on your phone, you give feedback and complete tasks to test the usability of a particular website. The tests can either be on PC, tablet or on a smartphone. Most of the tests are short, requiring only 15-20 minutes of your time.

userzoom review

Once you fill out the application, you will be sent a sample test. You will need a working webcam, or smartphone with a front-facing camera. There are separate sample tests for the PC and the smartphone.
There are some studies that are ‘standard’, and they pay less, $5 per study on average. These do not require video recording. Most of the studies take between 10 and 20 minutes to complete.

Getting paid for testing has been really easy. They deposit directly into your Paypal account. Payments are made within 21 days of testing, and your tests are usually reviewed and approved within 2-3 days. So far since I joined, I have taken 6 tests, and have been paid $10 each time. I have not qualified for all tests, but there have been some good opportunities. Tests are based on user demographics.

Userzoom has been one of the better user testing sites that I have tried so far. It was very easy to register. Getting paid $10 each time for 10-20 minutes of my time has been well worth it, and they are very prompt with the payments.

Precast Prestressed Concrete Bridges

PPC Precast Prestressed conrete bridge

In the particular county where I work, precast, prestressed concrete (PPC) bridges make up about 75% of the bridges on the local system.  These bridges are simple to construct, cost effective, and very durable.  I believe they are a great option for traversing small streams or grade separations.  One of the biggest enemies to any concrete bridge is salt.  In this part of the country, we do not use much road salt, so the degradation of the concrete is a very small issue.  The bridges are inspected every two years, and the deterioration of the beams is always checked.  If salt were to decay the concrete causing the exposure and degradation of the prestressing cables, then there would be major issues.  In areas where much road salt is used, precast, prestressed concrete beam construction may not be the best option.

 

PPC Deck Beam Bridge

For the most part, the construction of the PPC deck beam bridges is very simple.  Its pretty much a block of concrete over piling, with precast, prestressed beams on top.  There aren’t many pieces to the puzzle.  Soil borings are taken to determine the depth of the bedrock that the piling should rest upon.  Hydraulic surveys are done, taking into account the design year of the high water elevation. There are a few factors, including average daily traffic, that determine if the flood year to be considered is the 15 year high water, 20 year high water, etc.  One hundred year high water elevations are also determined.  Keeping these records is vital, as these elevations can be useful in determining the base flood elevation in the future if a floodplain is near the bridge. These type of bridges can also be used for railroad crossings. One of the major design concerns is for seismic activity.  Depending on which region the bridge will be in determines the design parameters.  In many cases, there is no need to purchase additional right of way, unless the road will be raised to an extent that would require the slopes be rebuilt to safer design criteria, or if the road needs to be realigned.

Once the plans have been approved, and the job has been bid, the construction is pretty straightforward.  Any old structure is removed, and piling is driven.  In cases where bedrock is shallow, piling may have to be drilled into the rock, or a spread footing wall may be built. The abutments are really just big blocks of concrete.  No matter if the bridge is 25 feet long or 80 (about the limit of single-span bridges of this type), the abutment designs are very similar.  They are reinforced with steel reinforcement bars.  In the cases of multi-span bridges, concrete piers are built.  Riprap can then be placed in necessary places before the beams are put on.  In areas of high velocity flows, it is important that the riprap be big enough not to wash away.  I have seen 150 pound riprap wash as far as 50 feet downstream.  After the abutments have cured for a week, the beams are placed on.  The first beam is always a nail biter.  If the bridge was not laid out properly, this is where it will show.  The beams are put on bearing pads, which are really just pieces of neoprene. Most of our bridges are 24′ wide, which may be either 6 four foot wide beams, or 8 three foot wide beams.  The beams are connected laterally so they act as one unit.  They are also ‘pinned’ into the abutments with large reinforcement bars the are set down into holes drilled into the abutments.  At this point any bridge rail may be installed, as well as pouring the last of the concrete which will act as a back wall.  The beams have ‘keys’ which will then need to be filled with grout.  One thing that we have always done, is place ‘flowable fill’ behind the abutments.  This keeps the dirt from settling, and creating a future speed bump.  Flowable fill is really nothing more than sand with some cement in it.  It goes in like quicksand, and gets hard like concrete.  But instead of having a strength of 3000 psi plus, its strength is more like 300 psi.  It can easily be dug out if necessary. The road can then be reconstructed with rock, asphalt, or oil and chip, depending on the existing surface.  Besides some tidying up and other item such as seeding if necessary, that is about it.  Where time constraints have been an issue, we have torn out a bridge and built a new one in two weeks-start to finish-before.  The only difference was a fast-setting concrete was used.

ppc deck beam precast prestressed railroad bridge

For many bridge replacements, in particular on local agency systems, I believe prestressed precast concrete deck beam bridges are a logical and economical choice.  When all factors are considered, in areas that are not susceptible to deterioration due to road salt, PPC bridges are a good fit due to their cost, quick construction time, and durability.

User Testing Review: Validately

Recently, in order to make a few extra dollars, I have begun looking into different apps/websites that allow the user to earn money by reviewing or testing a website or product. There are many of these sites, but today I am just going to focus on one; Validately. This website allows you to submit your website to be analyzed. You choose the parameters, and they match you up with real people to provide real feedback.

That’s where you step in.  Once you register as a tester with Validately, they may contact you wanting you to review a website.  Tests are available to take on smartphones, tablets, and PCs.  You will need to invest in a webcam, as the testing is live.  The moderators will ask you questions, and your responses are recorded.  They may ask you your opinion, or ask you to click on a certain area. You might be asked to try to go through a sample transaction, so they can get feedback on how usable the site is. Payment from Validately is through Paypal. Payment amounts vary, and some tests may be short, say 15 minutes, and some may be longer, an hour or more.

user testing validately

THE TEST

So far I have only done one test, but it was remarkably easy.  You will get an email when a test is available, or like this one, they even gave me options as to when I could do it. They tell you up front how much your test will pay, and they pay through Paypal. If you can’t do it, they just try someone else.  Since I am just doing this on the side, I unfortunately have had to turn a few tests down. Communications with Validately are great, and they send  several emails to remind me of the appointment.  I was asked several questions, some about the product itself, and some about the functionality of the website. It took almost an hour, exactly as they said.

For this review I received a payout of $50.00.  Not bad for an hours work!   The test was administered in the late afternoon, and my account had been credited before noon the next day. I was pleasantly surprised by the quick payment. I found this test fun, and they made me feel like my input was really valuable. Just think how many websites you check out every day. Now imagine someone is paying you to do it!

I am looking forward to more tests from Validately. Their communications are great, the testing is fun, and payment is prompt.  In the future I will check out other user testing websites, and I will review those as well.

Thanks for reading!

Matt

 

Blogging After Hiatus

I have not been blogging recently due to personal loss.  Blogging just has not seemed all that important to me.  I find myself not really knowing where to jump back in.  So what happens next after a blogging hiatus?  Do I pretend that nothing is wrong? Do my readers really care about what is going on, or do they just want to come to the site like always?  How personal do I want to be, or do I continue with my blog as is?  There are many questions I find that I am asking myself.

During this hiatus, I used this as an opportunity to clean up my blog a little bit.  I had too many popups from too many plugins.  I changed the theme.  This blog has not taken off the way I wanted, and time off to reflect has not necessarily been a bad thing.  I know I need to post more and better ‘content’.  I have checked out tons of blogs to get ideas.  The other issue I think about is are there too many blogs now? Is there a saturation of blogs? So many people seem to keep having success though, so maybe that isn’t an issue.  I’m trying to stay active on Twitter and Pinterest to keep interest up on social media.  Some days it seems ideas fill my head so fast that I can’t write them down fast enough, and on other days I picture my mind as a barren desert.

I guess my point is, I’m going to keep plugging away at blogging for a while.  I’m going to keep researching ways to make my blog better.  Like the tortoise and the hare, blogging is a long run, not a sprint. Maybe every blog needs a little hiatus from time to time.  I hope to have a new blog post up soon.  I’m still not sure what topic it will be, but stay tuned!

 

 

To Blog or Not to Blog

Just a note to my followers that I have had a rough month.  I haven’t given up on blogging, but honestly, I’ve thought about it.  I am not having the success I thought I would by now, and its not because I haven’t tried.  Then the Holidays have come along, and now there are some things going on personally that have just made blogging seem not very important at the time being.

Blog

I hope to get back in the swing of things soon, but I don’t know when that might be.   And I’m still just not completely sure what it is I want to continue to blog about.  I tried engineering topics, but that did not seem to garner a lot of interest.  How to save money?  Well there are THOUSANDS of blogs doing that.  I just can’t seem to fit in.  Or stand out maybe is a better term.  Why is my blog better than anyone else’s? Or more importantly, why is it worse?? Do I not do enough SEO?  And if I hear the word CONTENT one more time, I’ll explode.  I’ve read plenty of blogs and seen plenty of content.  Do you know what content really is? It’s a bunch of words that don’t mean anything that people use to fill space to try to get a good SEO rating.  Just my opinion there.  Everyone says you need quality content.  But hardly anyone explains just WHAT that content is!

I thought I was pretty highly advanced in the technology sector unitil I started my blog.  I thought, I’ll type what I know about, inject some stupid humor, and people will come flocking.  I had no idea that you had to artificially create interest in your blog (isn’t that what SEO is? Tricking search engines into thinking you are important??)  I check out websites because I like what they say or have to offer.  I could really care less about a free newsletter that gets me spam email for the rest of my life.  I would rather actually learn something, or get a real review on a product.  Like lets say Product X.  I would love to know if Product X actually works.  I don’t care if you got paid to try it out.  Does it work???  Not ‘I’ll tell you if it works if you join my 37 step plan on why it might work if you just subscribe to my newsletter, which ironically will contain NO news whatsoever.’   Or endless linking to outside sites that have nothing to do with whatever it is that you were there for in the first place.

Yes, I would LOVE to make some money on my blog.  I’ve set up a few ads.  I’m an affiliate.  Yay.  But apparently, I haven’t tricked Google and Bing into thinking I’m important.  And if I read one more ‘See how I made $300 after just  weeks of blogging!!’, I’ll puke.  I’ve saved pins, tweeted, facebooked, stumbled, you name it.

And I’ll keep trying.  Maybe I’ll start a new blog ‘TheIrritibleEngineer’, where I make like Frank Costanza and just air my grievances.  I’m 43 but I feel like shaking my cane at the world and giving it my best ‘EHHHH!’  I’m going to try and possibly redesign things.  Maybe have my kids help.  I never thought I’d be at that point where I was thinking ‘I’m too old for this.’  But there are things about blogging and web design that I just don’t understand.

At any rate, I hope everyone is patient with me as I sort things out.