Online Mock Juror and Other E-Earning Opportunities I’m Trying Out in Lockdown
I don’t know what to make of this coronavirus thing. I’ve been chatting with friends across Europe and the U.S. and everyone seems of the same mind: In part, we feel the situation has been wildly overblown by a media that would overhype an average sunrise just to goose ratings…then again, “community spread,” border closures, stock prices dropping like a drunk after last call, the continual and rising body-count reports: It feels disconcertingly freaky in a Chernobyl kind of way.
Here in Prague, we live in lockdown. Foreigners can’t enter. Residents can’t exit. Outside my apartment door lies a ghost town of 1.3 million people, since no one is allowed to go anywhere…not that there’s anywhere to go. Everything’s boarded up, save for supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, and providers of various necessities. And every time I feel the twinge of a headache, I think, “Damn! I got the corona?”
So, what am I doing with all this at-home time?
Trying to earn a bit of extra income…what else?
This moment of near-global quarantine is a great chance to do a bit of fact-gathering on the wealth of what I’ll call e-earning opportunities that populate our world today.
I don’t know that “social distancing” is long for this world; I feel like it fades from our lexicon as soon as a vaccine/cure arrives. But the fact that it defines our world right now underscores how easy it is to actually live an online life, to remain connected electronically to friends and family anywhere in the world, to order groceries and prepared meals online, to entertain ourselves without leaving home, to pursue distance learning…and to earn money sitting on the couch.
Seriously, you cannot imagine the e-earning opportunities that exist nowadays. I’m not talking about writing and photography and teaching English online and such—though those opportunities are abundant, too.
No, I’m talking about e-earning ventures that I didn’t realize existed and which require limited effort, at most.
For instance, this morning I signed up with several online survey companies, including one in Britain that needs Americans. These things sprout all over the internet. Some pay, at most, $5 or $10, or award points you can use to buy tchotchkes online or maybe small-value gift cards. I’m not so interested in that, frankly. My time is more valuable.
But there are others that are big, legitimate survey firms serving big, legitimate consumer-product companies such as Amazon, Lego, Gap, BMW, Pfizer, and many others.
The pay is equally legit—$50 to $400 per survey, with a wide band of projects in the $100 to $150 range.
I also signed up on a couple of sites to serve as a mock juror. Lawyers regularly rely on mock juries to gauge how a real jury is likely to react to a set of facts or legal arguments. This has been part of the legal landscape for years, but now law firms do it online much more quickly and efficiently, and can explicitly build the jury they want.
At this point, I cannot tell you what any of this will lead to. Who knows what the online surveys look like just yet, or how long they’ll take, or what kind of legal cases I might be pulled into and at what price.
From my research, however, I can tell you that this probably won’t be a way to make money daily or even weekly. At best, I think it’s going to be scattershot.
The mock-juror sites will clearly depend on the demographics that lawyers need to build to reflect the real jury they’ll aim to create in the courtroom. I might be a good fit for some cases; I certainly won’t fit all, though. One site already rejected me for an answer I provided in the signup process. It didn’t detail the offending response, but I am quite confident that because I noted I work in the media, red flags arose immediately. The site likely fears I’ll write about a case for some major newspaper. So, it is easier to reject me than figure out that I write about online earnings and living overseas and whatnot.
The survey sites, meanwhile, have their own set of issues. One offers a limited number of national surveys, and none of those listed at the moment match my lifestyle or situation.
Another hit me up to participate in a financial-services survey at 6:12 p.m. I was cleaning dishes. When I clicked on the email 16 minutes later, all available survey slots had already been filled. A third sent me invitations to participate in two surveys, both of which paid real money—$125 and $150 respectively—but I needed to have connections to Chicago or suffer from illnesses I do not suffer from.
On yet another site, I fit the demographic mold sought for several surveys, and I submitted my interest in participating in three. But it’s clear there’s no guarantee I’ll be chosen and, moreover, the site allows me just three submissions every 24 hours. So, if I’m not chosen, then I must wait until the next day and hope to see new surveys posted that reflect my life experiences, interests, knowledge base, etc.—and then hope I’m chosen for one or more of those.
The projects I’ve so far applied for offer payouts of $10, $50, $100, and $150. The high end are respectable rates for an hour to, maybe, 90 minutes of reading and answering questions. The low-end is for research purposes. I want to understand how this process works and how surveys differ at every price point.
I will update as the process unfolds so that you can determine if this particular type of opportunity—e-earning while couch-surfing—makes sense for you.
Meanwhile, have you begun to think about how you might make smart use of your time at home? You’ve got more options than you probably realize. I’ll do my best to share some ideas over the next few weeks. I mean, if you and I are stuck in the house anyway, might as well learn something new, explore something we’ve always wanted to know more about, and maybe make some money while we’re at it.
Written by Jeff D. Opdyke