Tiffany Bixler | 

The Truth About Toluna: How I'm Testing Products for Free

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Hey there! I’m back to share more of my survey experiences (here’s what I thought about InboxDollars, Harris Poll, and Opinion Outpost). Despite its promises of samples and decent payouts, I can’t say I’m loving Toluna.

In a Nutshell: Toluna is the only survey site regularly putting samples into consumer hands for testing.

When Toluna sends me free, full-sized product samples to test, I earn up to 10,000 points per short follow-up survey. When I accrue a total 15,000 points, I qualify for the $5 gift card cash-out. eGift cards arrive within hours and physical gift cards and checks within 6 weeks.

toluna test products mockup


The Good: I cashed out at the end of one month with $20.

Also: I get to test products. Well, in theory anyway. Unlike pretty much any other survey company, Toluna offers users the chance to test quality product samples from companies like Maybelline, L’Oreal, Nivea, and O.P.I. I’ve never been chosen for the weekly opportunities, but through one of their surveys I received a sweet test product for pet food (more below).

It’s an easy-to-navigate, no-nonsense website. Maybe it’s because the French do everything with panache that the site is slick. It’s clean and it’s easy to navigate. Merci.

Surveys never stop. Even as I get closer to payout, the surveys keep arriving to both my email inbox and to the website.

I receive no email spam. Sure, Toluna sends me 3 – 4 surveys a day, but that’s better than some of the survey sites lighting up my inbox with notices and hijinks.

Best opportunity: After receiving a 5-pound bag of quality, name brand cat food, I completed a 5-minute survey. For this, I was awarded $3 (10,000 points).

eGift Card delivery (within hours) and physical gift cards and checks (within 6 weeks). I received both of my eGift cards within 10 minutes of cashing in.


toluna rewards



The Bad: Depressingly low values amount to $0.0003 per point.

This is where I tell the Toluna kids to get off of my lawn. Whereas sites like Harris Poll pay $0.10 per point, and Ipsos i-Say gives me 100 points per dollar ($0.01 per point), Toluna awards me 3,000 points per dollar, or only $0.0003 per point. Also:

The only PayPal or cash-out options start at 75,000 points ($25). It took me 2 weeks of constant effort to earn $10, and at that level, I only qualified for eGift cards for things I wasn’t jazzed about, like Redbox rentals and Cheesecake factory.

The low 35% survey acceptance rate for Toluna blows. Of the 131 (you read that right) total survey opportunities I participated in, I only qualified for 47 surveys. The 65% of surveys for which I didn’t qualify awarded me only sweepstakes entries. Bummer.

Awarded survey points take up to 6 weeks to show up in my account. While most points show up fairly quickly, some survey points won’t show up until the survey period has ended. I might be dead in 6 weeks. Or too rich to care.

They award badges. I don’t need no stinkin’ badges.

Refer-a-friend is seriously low paying. For each friend who joins, I can earn 500 points (roughly $0.15).

Mobile access is time-wastingly sluggish. I can use my mobile phone to take surveys. . . granted it’s slower than my Aunt Mahetabel who’s got a penchant for Schlitz beer. I’d bank on Auntie M getting loaded before that app.

Worst opportunity: I earn almost nothing creating user-generated Polls (see image below), Topics, Thumb It, and Battles on the site.

Toluna Polls2


But wait! There’s more in this series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5


My Toluna Strategy

My secret? Capitalize on the highest point values for the shortest surveys. Also, keep your fingers crossed that you luck out and get a free sample to test (the whole schtick of the site versus other survey sites). Here’s what I also look for:

I try for product sample opportunities through surveys. There are millions of Toluna users and only a few hundred full-sized test products available each Tuesday. This means my best chance to get samples is by responding to surveys offering full-sized samples for review (as with the cat food). Also cool: A paint company recently asked if I’d be willing to sample their latest product for free, and I’m waiting for that to arrive.

I cash out early at $5. By the time I reach the 75,000 necessary for the $25 PayPal or cash-out, I might already be on social security.

I don’t cash my points in for Sweepstakes entries or “Gifties. Whether it’s sweepstakes chances or the embarrassingly named “Gifties”—in which members buy cartoon items for other members for a chance to win the real item—I’ll net a bigger guaranteed windfall by finding a coupon blowing through a grocery store parking lot.

I don’t use my Toluna points for physical reward items. It’s better to buy a watch from or Walmart knowing I can reach out to the retailer if something breaks.


So, a penny for my thoughts? That’s not likely with Toluna paying out three thousandths of a cent per point. To boot, the rewards are lackluster unless you plan to take (literally) hundreds of surveys or have the rare opportunity to test products. So long as you have the time and the fortitude to hang in there, Toluna might just be worth the gift cards.



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