Scam or Legit? Reviews and Complaints

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  • Post published:February 22, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

UserInterviews has become an increasingly popular way for people to make money online by sharing their opinions in research studies. But is it a scam? In this in-depth investigation, we’ll uncover the truth about UserInterviews.

Let’s get started.

An Overview of UserInterviews

Founded in 2015, UserInterviews is an online platform that connects researchers with people willing to participate in studies. Researchers use UserInterviews to get feedback to improve their products and services before launch.

Common types of studies include:

  • One-on-one interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Product tests
  • Surveys

Participants can make anywhere from $10 to over $100 per hour, depending on the study. The average pay is around $60 per hour.

This sounds great, but is UserInterviews legit or just another scammy survey site? Let’s take a deeper look. Scam review

Evidence UserInterviews is Legit

There are several key signs indicating that UserInterviews is a legitimate platform, not a scam:

1. Over 85,000 People Have Participated and Been Paid

Since 2016, over 85,000 people have completed studies and been paid by UserInterviews. In total, the platform has paid out over $25 million in incentives.

Such a long track record of actual participants getting paid suggests that UserInterviews is not just pocketing people’s data.

2. Backed By Reputable Investors

UserInterviews has raised over $43 million in funding from investors like Google Ventures, Conductiv, Bow Capital, and more.

These are well-known venture capital firms that conduct thorough due diligence. The fact that they invested millions into UserInterviews is a strong sign of legitimacy.

3. Transparent Leadership and Company Info

Unlike many survey sites, UserInterviews openly discloses info about its background, leadership team, and customers.

You can see exactly who founded the company, who the key executives are, where it’s headquartered, how much funding it raised, and from whom.

This level of transparency contrasts with scammy, fly-by-night operations.

4. Clear Participant Guidelines

UserInterviews provides a lot of helpful information for participants, covering topics like:

  • How to qualify for studies
  • What to expect
  • How payments work
  • Who to contact for issues

The site also explains how UserInterviews combats fraud to keep the participant pool high quality. This focus on setting proper expectations is characteristic of a legitimate business.

5. Strict Participant Quality Standards

UserInterviews utilizes automated checks during signup to screen for suspicious behavior. Ongoing signals also flag questionable accounts for further investigation.

While the exact methods aren’t revealed, UserInterviews does make continuous improvements to catch bad actors and reduce fraud.

This benefits both researchers and honest participants who put in real effort.

Clearly UserInterviews is invested in keeping quality high on the platform, not just racking up numbers.

6. Trustpilot Score of 3.5 Out of 5

On the popular review site Trustpilot, UserInterviews currently holds a 3.5 out of 5 average rating from over 200 reviews. Here’s a snapshot:

  • 58% rate 5 stars
  • 7% rate 4 stars
  • 2% rate 3 stars
  • 5% rate 2 stars
  • 28% rate 1 star

Considering that people who have a bad experience are more likely to leave reviews, a 58% 5-star rating suggests most people do have positive interactions with UserInterviews.

Yes, the 1-star reviews warrant some discussion (which we’ll cover), but overall Trustpilot shows more satisfied users than not.

7. Our First-Hand Experience Getting Paid

As part of researching this article, the Side Hustle Nation team signed up for UserInterviews and tested it out ourselves.

We applied to 100 studies, successfully qualified for 8 of them, and earned $360 in Amazon gift cards for less than 5 hours of participation.

We received payment as expected 3 days after finishing each study, confirming from first-hand experience that UserInterviews does pay.

The multiple reputable funding rounds, transparent company information, anti-fraud measures, payment standards, and our own experience getting paid provides strong evidence that UserInterviews is a legitimate platform.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some valid complaints about the platform…

UserInterviews Complaints

No company is perfect. While indicators point to UserInterviews being legit, website review sites do reveal some common complaints about using the platform, including:

  • Low qualification rate
  • Relevance of study invites
  • Too many emails
  • Taxes on payments
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Let’s explore each complaint in more detail.

Low Study Qualification Rate

Out of the 100 studies we applied to during testing, we only qualified for 8 of them. That means our qualification rate was just 8%.

Many reviews also mention spending time on screening surveys only to eventually get denied from the actual study. This understandably causes frustration for some users.

However, a low qualification rate seems more indicative of a platform with high standards than one just trying to collect data.

Companies want specific types of people for their market research. So getting declined frequently comes with the territory on a legitimate survey platform trying to match researchers with their target demographic.

Still, UserInterviews could do a better job educating new users on what to expect for qualification rates to set proper expectations.

Irrelevant Study Invites

Participant Sam H. left a review complaining that studies UserInterviews suggested for him didn’t match his actual interests or qualifications:

“User Interviews sends you an email when they think you’ll fit a specific study based on your profile information and previous applications. These aren’t always relevant.”

Our testing showed this to be true as well. The direct study invites didn’t align with the types of studies we applied to.

It seems UserInterviews’ algorithm for recommending relevant studies misses the mark quite often. They could improve the participant experience by fixing this with some enhanced machine learning.

But faulty algorithms alone don’t indicate a deliberate scam.

Too Many Emails

In our experience, the UserInterviews email volume was reasonable during the first few days testing the platform. But then it ramped up quickly, to a whopping 24 emails in a single day at one point!

User Leysha H. vented a similar frustration in her UserInterviews review:

“I have been signed up with the company for a full month now, and have been matched to research studies many times…The worst, though, is knowing that a lot of data about me, some sensitive, has been collected, and likely will be sold/shared.”

This flood of emails does seem unnecessary, given that your account dashboard shows everything you need to know about recent studies.

However, allowing participants to opt out of certain email types could easily resolve this issue.

The bigger concern around data being sold is speculative. UserInterviews does provide a privacy policy clearly stating how they handle data. We found no evidence of data selling based on publicly available info and user reviews.

Still, giving participants more control over communications could prevent negative sentiment around over-emailing.

Taxes on Payments

One or two reviews mentioned being surprised that payments from participation incentives are taxable if annual earnings exceed $600.

This taxable income policy is reflective of legitimate market research companies and follows IRS guidelines. While UserInterviews could reiterate this point more often to eliminate confusion, needing to pay taxes on earnings over $600 hardly constitutes a scam.

In summary, while UserInterviews does have some areas for improvement around qualification rates, email frequency, algorithm accuracy and taxation policies, none of these issues inherently point to it being an outright scam.

Now let’s dig into some scam accusations found on review sites… review

Digging Into the Scam Accusations

As highlighted earlier, UserInterviews scores a respectable 3.5 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot. However 28% of reviewers still assign the lowest 1-star rating.

Within those 1-star reviews, very harsh feedback stands out, including multiple scam accusations:

Scam Accusation #1: “Obvious scam!”

“It’s a scam. And misleading…They lure you with what appear to be easy incentives, then during your lengthy “application” they harvest boat loads of all your data, demos and other info. This gives them what they need from you at no cost to them. Then you get told you “might” be eligible to participate.”

This is one of the more strongly worded scam calls. Let’s break it down:

Does UserInterviews harvest your personal data?

Yes, you do have to provide info like your job, income, demographics, etc. during signup and screening surveys. This is completely standard for legitimate market research platforms that need to match participants with appropriate studies.

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Companies also utilize personal data to reduce fraudulent applicants. Without any screening, scam artists could easily lie to qualify for studies and still get paid. Asking for background info allows vetting.

Do you only “might” qualify after giving your data?

Also accurate. Providing personal details never guarantees you’ll qualify or get paid. There’s always a chance studies fill up too fast or you simply don’t match well enough.

Is it misleading or a scammy bait and switch?

Not from what we experienced. The qualification likelihood is unknown upfront since it depends on many factors.

But UserInterviews does explain overall what to expect for the process before you sign up. If you understand only a small fraction who apply actually participate, there’s no deception involved.

Our verdict: This review fails to prove any purposefully misleading claims or scam-like data harvesting by UserInterviews.

Asking for personal details is needed for market research, qualification chances are clearly uncertain, and the reviewer participated out of their own consent.

While getting declined after giving your data understandably causes some bitterness, an unfulfilling experience alone does not make UserInterviews an outright scam.

Scam Accusation #2: “RUDE processes”

Participant Charles shared a very negative view:

“You fill out maybe 100 screeners over 6 mos after you are “matched”. 1 out of maybe 40 comes thru…Titles are so generic or undescriptive sometimes you do not know what they want initially. So waste more time…Very rude & sloppy procedures.”

Breaking this down:

Are qualifications overly burdensome?

Spending 6 months to complete 1 study out of 100 screeners would require extreme patience. However, our testing showed an 8% qualification rate after just 2 weeks without wasting ridiculous amounts of time.

While 40 surveys feels fair to eventually qualify for 1 study, 100 seems exaggerated. We’d expect that ratio on a platform with mass market consumer surveys perhaps, but not a specialized researcher community like User Interviews.

And at 1 minute per screener on average, 100 screeners would still only amount to under 2 hours spent applying. So this math doesn’t quite add up to a compelled scam argument.

Are study titles unclear?

We did notice some vaguely named studies during testing. However, previewing study descriptions always gave more details on participant criteria needed. UserInterviews could improve relevancy by encouraging study creators to use less vague titles though.

Do issues indicate a scam?

The completely overstated time inputs combined with unrealistic qualification ratios makes this review lose legitimacy. Valid critiques get overshadowed by what appears to be blatantly inflated expectations.

In the end, while UserInterviews has some areas for process improvement, nothing described here proves deliberate deception or scam-like behavior.

Scam Accusation #3: “Overtly racist”

The harshest allegation we came across accused UserInterviews of outright racism:

“They are overtly racist. I found it ironic that they would shun users so openly…However large our house, accounts, and investments are, they ask you to do a test interview (in order to ‘see if your camera works’). Once that was done, the session I was awarded was seemingly null and void…These guys are indeed on their way out.”

What proof indicates racism?

No specifics are given about being treated differently by UserInterviews based on race or what racist behavior looked like.

Also, considering approved participants depend wholly on what researchers for each individual study are looking for, getting declined from one specific session does not inherently show discrimination on UserInterviews’ part.

Does getting cut after a test interview prove racism?

By itself, no. The participant refers to a seemingly awarded session being nullified after a test interview.

But they don’t share any context about what study this was for or why the reversal occurred. Without more details, there is no clear link indicating race played a factor.

Our verdict: With no specifics about differential treatment because of race, this review provides no compelling evidence to reasonably call UserInterviews overtly racist, shunning users based on ethnicity.

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While we cannot rule out this participant feeling slighted, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This review fails to substantiate the racism argument logically.

No scam can be confirmed without further details.

More UserInterviews Discussion

To recap, we dug into several poor reviews on Trustpilot questioning UserInterviews’ legitimacy and ethics. Upon close examination, none clearly proved deliberate deception or fraudulent behavior.

However, a few other discussion areas around UserInterviews are worth mentioning…

Target Participant Types

It is true that the highest paid studies on UserInterviews require niche backgrounds in areas like medicine, IT, data science, engineering etc. So candidates without specialized skills may feel excluded from the big moneymaking opportunities.

Our testing found ample general consumer-facing studies in the $25-75 range however – hardly big bucks but better earnings than many survey sites.

So people outside high skilled roles can still benefit, as long as expectations stay realistic. For the majority though without hard-to-find professional expertise, UserInterviews seems better for supplemental side earnings than livable income.

Can You Make a Full-Time Living with UserInterviews?

This niche factor also makes it dubious for most people to think they could support themselves full-time with User Interviews earnings alone.

Between study availability, qualification likelihood, and income caps based on general skill applicability, making a true living solely from UserInterviews seems unrealistic for the average person.

While a nice side hustle for extra cash here and there, treat claims around getting rich quick with UserInterviews with skepticism.

For context, even making $1,000 a month would require completing over 15 hours of studies. That volume could quickly burn out anyone operating solo.

Partnering with family and friends to increase total household earnings could help scale earnings slightly. But even then, the limited pool of high-paying studies would presumably tap out at some point.

Be cautious around any claims of easy, recurring, forever-sustainable five figure monthly income from UserInterviews.

Room for Improvement

No company or service is flawless. Valid critiques of UserInterviews include:

  • Low qualification rates
  • Irrelevant study matches
  • Email overkill
  • Tax surprise

Cleaning up these areas would no doubt improve public perception. Still, none of these existing shortcomings inherently point toward UserInterviews being a complete scam.

And compared to fly-by-night survey operations, UserInterviews’ rather high degree of transparency around funding, leadership, privacy policy, fraud prevention, and more provide confidence in its legitimacy.

Room for improvement ≠ undeniable scam.

Final Verdict: is Legit, Not a Scam

After extensive analysis of background information, user reviews, direct testing, public data sources and more, we find no convincing evidence of UserInterviews being a complete scam.

Certainly, some disappointed applicants felt bait-and-switched after investing time only to get denied from studies frequently. This understandably causes bad reactions.

However, qualification likelihood seems clearly uncertain upfront. And requiring personal data fits standard legitimate market research practices for matching purposes.

The far majority of blatantly accusatory scam reviews lacked logical reasoning or specific proof.

Meanwhile, financing from reputable investors, income verification policies, a long history of paying members, and our own positive first-hand experience shows UserInterviews ultimately owns up to its promises.

Much like other open marketplaces, there will always be some people who slip through quality checks or have unsatisfying experiences. This inevitable applicant and participation friction does not automatically make UserInterviews a scam itself though.

Our final verdict: While the probability of qualifying for and earning desired incentives may prove underwhelming for some, the preponderance of evidence concludes that UserInterviews is a legitimate service overall, not a scam.

As with any side hustle opportunity, temper expectations properly, apply discretion around sharing personal information, and weigh perceived pros and cons aligned with your own risk tolerance.

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