Get paid to talk about PC operating systems

strickmanrippsNeedless to say, there’s a lot of people here who are genuinely passionate about operating systems and generate a lot of constructive feedback, which is why I think this offer is going to be hard to top.

In short, Strickman Ripps, a people-casting and marketing research company is looking for people who have voiced concerns about operating systems regarding features and functions in the past and are offering $100 for a short 20 minute video interview over the web. Enough money to preorder a particular OS you might be after I might add.

Here’s the offer in full.

Strickman Research, a marketing research firm, has contacted us [or in this case, me] for assistance in reaching out to you [in this case, the plural you] with this invitation to participate in a paid research study. If you qualify for the study, they would ask for no more than 20 minutes of your time and would pay you $100 US:

What are we researching?

We are looking for people who have left comments on various blogs and forums about operating system software they’ve used. We are looking for people who have previously “published” their suggestions online and expressed their wishes for certain features or functions they would like to see in future versions of various PC operating systems [the Windows 7 Taskforce qualifies perfectly]. Such comments can run the gamut from very technical to very broad, for instance comments like: “I wish it would boot faster.” or “How can I share files between my home computers?” would suffice. The wishes and suggestions can be implied in a question where one is hoping to find a solution to a particular problem.

We are looking for comments published online between 1/2004 – 12/2008. More recent assessments of newer operating systems, published in 2009, may also be pertinent.

How do I participate?

If you left a written comment on a blog, forum or informational website which was, broadly speaking, a suggestion or wish for a certain feature or function you would like to see improved in your computer’s operating system, please find your specific comment or comments online and paste the link/s in an email to us at

Please include:

1. The link to your comment/s including the date when it/they was/were posted
2. Your username on that/those site/s
3. Full name
4. Email address
5. Phone number
6. Location (City/State/Country)
7. Best time to be reached

We are looking for participants age 19 and older in, or very near the following regions: UK, France, Germany, Australia, USA.

What should I expect?

Once we have received your email, and reviewed your comment/s, a representative from Strickman Research will contact you by phone to ask you a few qualifying questions. This call will take no more than 10 minutes of your time. If you qualify (95% of applicants should qualify) we will schedule you for a recorded internet video chat at your convenience that would take no more than 20 minutes of your time and for which you would be paid $100 US in the form of a VISA cash card.

What if I don’t qualify?

If you do not meet the criteria for our research study, we will most likely let you know in the first few minutes of our phone call. We will not trouble you any further and we will not store or share you contact information.

I know this might sound too good to be true, but I have since come across one person I trust who is already involved and assures me that this is indeed legitimate. Furthermore if you’re worried about the email address, the official company twitter page confirms that these email addresses are indeed real and provides further evidence of this research study. Those who can read between the lines can probably figure out what this is all about too.

If you have any personal concerns, feel free to discuss them in the comments or simply ignore this offer.

Disclaimer: In the spirit of transparency, I have been informed that I do receive a commission for every successful participant but I can safely say that it did not affect my decision to support this project since I made the decision without knowledge of any commissions.

Update: Added clarifications regarding age and region requirements.

27 insightful thoughts

  1. @Glen: I’m not involved with the research actually. I can’t comment because I was told not to 😛

  2. I found out enough about this setup to be quite satisfied of its legitimacy but after being invited to take part I decided against so doing due to the “Agreement” I was required to sign in advance. It was liberally scattered with “I hereby irrevocably submit to the jurisdiction of such courts”, “agree to waive any objection”, hereby waive the benefits of any law known as droit moral (or moral rights).” Our rights have been earned at significant cost (financial and other) over many years and I am unwilling to trade them for the princely sum of $100.

  3. @Pat Cooke: Thanks for letting us know that you’ve come across this and I think your concern is legitimate. :)

  4. @Pat Cooke: I’m glad I read your comment before participating. It sounds like revisiting the agreement wording might be a good idea for them.

  5. How do they know that 95% of applicants should qualify when they don’t have any applications yet and have no idea of the general quality of an application?

  6. @Fred: I would assume because they specialize in these sort of things, they’re basing this off past experiences.

  7. >>Just curious, does this have anything to do with Microsoft? Are they looking for ideas/suggestions for Windows 8?

    > @Garion: I cannot comment on that.

    I’m sorry, but the idea that the company that commissions a marketing survey is a HUGE SECRET that must be kept from people filling out the survey is just *such* utter nonsense.

    For those who were wondering, the original email apparently included the paragraph:

    “We are wondering if we could pay you for your assistance in reaching out to your site users? We would like to find these people by announcing our search in a system-wide email to all your users. In order to preserve the integrity of our findings, we must withhold Microsoft’s name from this study. We kindly ask for your understanding and cooperation in this. It is imperative that Microsoft’s name not appear in any further written or verbal communication.”

    Long: I remind you that whilst you may feel you have an obligation to abide by the whims of a marketing company that is giving you money (!), I have no such, and so you should not feel yourself under any obligation to delete or censor comments revealing information that you would not want to yourself.

  8. These guys contacted me on another tech related forum via PM – I thought it was a scam :S I googled the company and it didnt turn up anything, I didn tinvestigate very thoroughly though. Hrmm might have to reconsider a free $100 for 20 minutes on something I like if its real.

  9. @Simon: I don’t censor comments :)

    Like I said, if you read between the lines, you could have easily figured out what its about.

  10. @Osiris Yes – $100 for free if you consider signing away legal rights has no value – see my info above.

  11. I can imagine a marketing campaign around the footage collected with this. I don’t know…for some reason a strict “research” purpose sounds too basic for going all out on getting people paid for video while companies already get feedback through many other means. Of course, this would have to be Microsoft-backed for it to make sense, so it would be a “we answered your demands with Windows 7”-esque marketing campaign. For example, an ad could start with a few short clips with one-liners by different people “I wanted it to start up faster,” “I would like to make home movies,” “Give me the power to control my kids’ PC use,” “Less UAC pop-ups please!,” etc. and then they could be like “Well, we’ve listened, and we present to you Windows 7.”

  12. @Albert: That’s exactly what I was thinking. And to be quite honest, I think it’s a fantastic campaign.

    Would be successful in getting the point across. And if it is that, then it would definitely seem to be the most genuine campaign I can recall from any of the *big guns* in IT. All I really wanna see though…

    Video clip of forum poster “I just wish someone would shut up that ‘I’m a Mac’ Guy”
    – I’m a Mac
    – And I’m a PC. And you asked for this (Ties and Gags the Mac guys and shoves him back in his box)

    @Pat: I think you have made your point already with your helpful post. Don’t start criticizing others for not feeling the same way as you. Perhaps they either feel it IS in fact worth $100. Or know that signing a piece of paper does not actually take away any basic rights you have. The only thing it would take away is people demanding a marketing salary, or suing for using footage without permission.

  13. Since this is solely a Microsoft-based blog, you can’t really deny who is behind this, haha. I hope they put the suggestions into Windows 8. Or maybe even the super-duper top secret oh-my-gosh-don’t-even-whisper-it”Midori Project” that they won’t tell us about.

  14. Commissions for personal information – now thats a new concept I don’t think.
    Free speech never cost anything – not even one’s identity – unless the State discovered who you really were – that could be pricey!
    Free Speech – Priceless!

    For the best interview by far visit: for the most eloquently put argument for Open Source!

    Now it’s time to open your mind, your source, and your ears (

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