If you get a letter from the audience ratings company Nielsen, don’t throw it away—there’s money inside. While it might look like junk mail (addressed to “Area Household”), the envelope likely contains two crisp dollar bills, with the promise of $5 more if you fill out a survey about your TV and radio habits.
Is this Nielsen survey legit?
Yes, the reason why you’re getting money upfront is because media outlets pay Nielsen to conduct these nationwide surveys for market research purposes. Included in the letter is a 16-question survey about your TV and radio preferences, along with demographic information to be filled out, like your race, gender, and age. Nielsen says the survey helps media outlets decide which shows to keep (unfortunately, there is no write-in option to cancel Netflix’s Sexy Beasts).
If you fill out the survey and mail it back using the postage-paid envelope that’s provided, the company will send you an additional $5. Otherwise, the $2 in cash is yours, as “a thank you for considering our request.”
If you’re wondering why you were selected, it’s completely random. Per the company’s FAQ: “All possible phone numbers and addresses are considered, much as the winning lottery numbers are selected. Because all possible number combinations are eligible for selection, homes with listed and unlisted telephone numbers are represented.”
Should I be worried about my privacy?
Whether that works for you is your choice, but in terms of effort, it only takes a few minutes to fill out the survey—a very easy way to make $7.