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3 products you may have completed a free survey for

Thousands of companies rely on consumer surveys, paid or otherwise, to drive business strategies and make informed decisions in product development. Many are willing to spend some money to get users to take online surveys, but others find ways to get your opinion without paying for it.

It happens all the time, mostly in the form of promotions. If you've helped contribute to some of these products, you've given your opinion to a company free of charge. 

The Lay's 'Do Us a Flavor' contest
The quest for the world's next greatest chip flavor is ongoing, and Lay's may be picking and creating it, but you're deciding what it should be. It's part of the company's "Do Us a Flavor" contest. The idea is simple: Lay's created a promotion that gave customers the opportunity to come up with a simple idea for a chip flavor, and it intends to make that flavor for release by August.

Thousands upon thousands of people entered the contest, submitting valuable and creative opinions to the company, but Lay's isn't exactly profiting off that input free of charge. According to the official rules of the contest, finalists will receive a $50,000 prize, and the grand prize winner will receive at least $1 million. Not a bad deal for creating a chip flavor - that is, if you become a finalist.

Mountain Dew's 'Dub the Dew' contest
Lay's wasn't the only company to attempt a consumer-driven campaign naming a new product flavor. Mountain Dew and its parent company PepsiCo tried to do the same thing in 2012 with the "Dub the Dew" contest. Users were intended to come up with a name for the company's new green apple-flavored soda. The names were ranked by a voting system and plastered on the dubthedew.com website. 

Unfortunately, the creators of the promotion didn't account for Web trolls to hijack the campaign. According to The Huffington Post, the folks at PepsiCo took down the website after the online community 4Chan started submitting heinous names in massive numbers. Dubthedew.com was eventually hacked and carried an offensive banner for a brief period of time before it was taken down. 

LG Product Review Sweepstakes
LG Electronics is a multinational electronics company that sells products all around the world. TVs, cameras, refrigerators, phones, washing machines - they do a little bit of everything, and they want to know what you think of the items. In fact, the company encourages users to enter the LG Product Review Sweepstakes, where customers offer opinions about style, performance, features and more regarding the products.

The only problem - they're not guaranteed any money. Instead, those who give that feedback are entered into a sweepstakes for a $500 gift card. In all certainty, the chances of winning could be reasonable, or they may be slim. Either way, why take a chance? 

You could be taking paid surveys and devoting your time to a sure thing, so think carefully about what you'd rather spend your time on.

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Nobody's voice is as powerful as yours. As a consumer, you are uniquely positioned to share your perspective with businesses, telling them what you expect in order for them to receive your money in a transaction. So, why not make money online by taking surveys that provide information to your favorite company?