How Helping a Company Can Benefit You

By Katie Adauto on 11 March 2010 3 comments
Photo: nickfree

Last month, I wrote about earning some extra money by taking free online surveys. The comments received regarding the article ranged from, "I love surveys, too" to "I never qualify for any." Like anything in life, you have to find what works for you. Today I am going to share with you another way you may be able to make a little extra money, receive some free products to try, and share your opinions.

Companies are always looking for customer feedback. In their efforts to reach as many new customers as possible, many companies have created panels that anyone can join. The variety of panels that are available is amazing and there seems to be something for everyone. I am going to highlight a few of the panels that I belong to and my experience with them.

New Balance Wear Test Program (shoes)

New Balance is looking for people who are willing to test out shoes that they are thinking of bringing to market. They will send you a pair of shoes, ask you to wear them for a period of time, and then comment on them via surveys.

The Pro: You get to try out shoes before anyone else!

The Con: You have to return the shoes once the trial period is over (they cover shipping).

My Experience: I have tried out two pairs of shoes for them over the past year. It took about six months after I signed up before I was sent my first pair. I enjoyed trying them and getting responses from people who noticed I had new shoes on.

J.C. Penney Community (retail)

J.C. Penney is looking for opinions on many topics. They have an online forum set up to gather this information. They send out emails when a new poll or survey is available. They are looking for opinions on commercials, new products, etc.

The Pro: The surveys and polls are quick, and there are not that many to take each month.

The Con: They are just now starting to compensate members in some way.

My Experience: I received my first $10 free coupon from them for participating in the community and was sent a complete set of towels to test for them for free, which I did not have to return.

CVS Advisor Panel (retail)

CVS wants to hear from you! You must have a CVS ExtraCare card to apply. They will send you surveys from time to time on various topics.

The Pro: The surveys usually only take about five minutes of your time.

The Con: They do not send out a lot of surveys.

My Experience: I have completed a few surveys, and they sent me a $5 free coupon via e-mail for my time.

House Party

House Pary allows you to host parties sponsored by a brand to check out their latest products. They have an application process for each new party they are offering. The applications take about five minutes to complete.

The Pro: They send you a huge box of items to share with your friends and family.

The Con: There are so many people applying! When you are chosen they send you an e-mail. They send emails out to more people then they can accept so if you do not respond to the email quickly you might miss out.

My Experience: I have applied for around 20 parties and have been accepted to host six. I absolutely love all the free items I receive to share with my friends. My favorite was a Chef Michael's dog food party. I invited friends that had dogs, and we had a party in my backyard. All the dogs got along wonderfully and we had a contest to see which dog could eat their food fastest. All the attendees left with free dog food, dishes and coupons sent in the House Party kit.


BzzAgent is another word-of-mouth marketing network. You create an account online and they will email you when they have a campaign they think you would be a good fit for. You fill out a survey before and after receiving the products. Depending on the product you are promoting, you could receive coupons or actual products to share.

The Pro: It is normally very easy to be accepted and receive products.

The Con: They ask that you track each conversation you have with a person about the product and enter each conversation into the computer.

My Experience: I have been a member for about four years. I have received many great products to share with my friends and family but have noticed in the past six months that the offers have slowed down quite a bit.


Most magazines have their own panels where they will ask for your opinion. Usually the panels are on a past issue that you might have read and sometimes they are geared toward certain products. Most magazines do not compensate you, but will enter you into contests. One exception for me was All You Magazine. They sent me a box as a thank you gift about one month ago. It had a lot of random items in it, but it was fun to receive and feel appreciated for my feedback.

I have only touched on a few companies. There are many more out there and I have accumulated a list of some of my favorites. Some companies offer rewards for products purchased, such as Disney Movie Rewards, Huggies and Pampers.

I hope that this information will help you in your search for ways to earn a little extra money and share your opinions.

This is a guest post by Katie Adauto, a stay-at-home mom of 2 great teenagers and is avid about finding the best deals! Read more by Kate Adauto:

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Guest's picture

The House Party idea sounds like the best one to me. Free swag? Who wouldn't want it? But can you charge your guests or do they have to come in for free?

Guest's picture

Is there a link for the J.C. Penny application? I went to the main site but found nothing.

Thanks for all the info.

Guest's picture

Very interesting:)))