I was just given a $50 gift card from Express, for free. I was able to do this by filling out surveys online. Your first reaction might be, "There's a catch”, “I have to jump through a lot of hoops to do this”, or "I wont qualify." Over the past few years (June 2010), I have been doing surveys online in my free time and during that time; I've been gifted cash, gift cards, shampoo, deodorant, facial cream, among other products. I usually get to keep these products although sometimes I do have to return them (infrequently though).
The two main survey companies I work with are MySurvey and e-Rewards. Both are completely free, both have given me samples to try out, and both have given me enough points or credit to redeem for cash, amazon gift cards, or express gift cards (although I could have also gotten hotel points, airline points, among a vast array of other options). I love both of these companies for different reasons.
Mysurvey is open and free to everyone; they'll notify you of many of the surveys that you receive however, some they wont so you have incentive to continue to log in daily. They also have monthly give-a-ways, which to my dismay I have never won. :-( Many of the surveys are easy to fill out and you'll frequently see the same questions across many of the surveys making it easier and faster to fill out. I don't get spam from them or their affiliates. However, to earn points from them is a long and slow process unless you do the longer surveys, which can take up to 15 minutes. When you first sign up, you'll get more short surveys, but the longer you are with them, the more long surveys you'll get. I think it took me a couple of months to start getting consistently long surveys among many short surveys. Looking over my history, I seem to redeem about $10 cash (although lately I'm doing amazon gift cards), every 1-2 month period. I'd say it's easy work to get an extra $120 a year. I recently decided to also put all of that money towards amazon to purchase a new kindle. Nothing better than a free kindle. :-)
E-Rewards is different than mysurvey, in that it is not open to the public and you have to be invited to use it. I frequently get emails from them and I can adjust how many I get per week. Their surveys you tend to either qualify for or not and frequently, I find that I don't qualify. However, even if you don't qualify they usually credit you a small amount, usually around $0.25 to $0.50. When you do qualify however, the amount is usually much higher, in the range of $5 to $25. When you have a certain amount of money built up you're able to redeem. Their rewards however are more limited. Personally I don't like to redeem for airline or hotel points, which is their main options, I much rather have cold hard cash. However they do have a few stores, which I enjoy shopping at occasionally when they have nice discounts. So, I opt for the Express gift card. They do have different levels of the gift card, but I usually try to aim for the $50, just so I don't have to fuss with many different cards and I can usually go ans pick out at least one or two things that would end up being completely covered by the card. How frequently do I redeem? I'd say I get $50 gift cards from express every 5-6 months, which is about the same as mysurvey, just clumped up into one pot.
So between the two survey companies, I make about $200 a year and free products as well. :-) The survey's require little time to take, I usually do them on the weekends now and maybe occasionally during the week. The samples that I try out are usually anonymous, so I have no idea who made them, what scent/flavor they are in (until I open them), etc. However, I do appreciate them, currently I'm using "Body Wash 407," and it smells wonderfully.