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Your opinions saved these businesses

Market research comes in all shapes and sizes. It could rely on a phone call between you and a marketing representative at a company, or it might look like some paid surveys you use online. The point is that your opinion is the data that businesses need to improve.

For the majority of big businesses, that's a cold hard fact. Consumers can be fickle and flighty. To stay on top, companies need to thoroughly research the market, discover what the customer wants the most and give it to them. Failing to do so doesn't just mean lost profits. It could mean being taken over by a competitor, laying off hard-working employees or closing up shop for good.

Luckily, market research - those email, phone call and online surveys, mixed with other ways you share your opinion - have saved a lot of businesses from the brink of failure. A few of them may have ended up being your favorite companies today. 

Here are a few examples.

Today's largest video database was formerly a video dating site called Tune In Hook Up. Unfortunately, that business model wasn't working out for founders Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. As the site was taking a nose dive, they decided to do a little market research about other ventures they could explore. 

The trio found that, back in the day, online videos were tremendously hard to find. The sites that did offer them were often unreliable and filled with problems, and sharing the videos with friends was a difficult endeavor. Considering their former video space business model, the three decided they were the best company to solve the online video problem, and YouTube was born.

Way back when you couldn't send a random message to a celebrity of your choosing, Twitter was a podcast sharing, browsing and creating business called Odeo, according to MarketResearch.com. Podcasts were a growing industry, but Odeo ran into staunch competition when iTunes launched podcast support in June 2005. 

The founders dropped out of the race against Apple and started considering some new plans. After collecting a flurry of information regarding customer dissatisfaction with social networks, they concluded another site similar to Facebook, but with a less-cluttered news feed page. Twitter was born out of that user feedback, and it's become one of the most successful social media sites in the world.

Happy Goat
And for every huge business, there are dozens more small businesses that pick back up thanks to online surveys. Happy Goat is a caramel company that used those tools to find what shoppers cared most about with its candies, according to USA Today. After researching consumers' opinions, the company found that more people wanted a quality treat with a lot of taste rather than one made strictly from organic ingredients.

Market research makes companies bigger, better and more helpful for you every day. Just make sure you're giving them the right information on those paid online surveys.

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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?