Consumer FAQ

About MindSwarms

  1. What is MindSwarms?

    MindSwarms allows you to participate in paid research studies using a webcam and high speed internet connection. So whether you are at home, in the office, traveling abroad, on your private jet, or down below in your submarine, you’ll be able to participate.

  2. How much do I get paid and what do I have to do?

    We pay you $50 to answer seven questions via webcam. It’s that simple. It’s also fast; most people take less than 20 minutes from logging in to signing out.

  3. Who can sign up?

    Anyone anywhere in the world can apply to join our database.

  4. Do I have to speak English?

    All of the instructions on the site are currently only in English, so it will help if you can understand English.

    For English language studies seeking international respondents, English does not need to be your first language. Our clients understand that your English may not be perfect if you are not a native speaker.

  5. How do I sign up?

    You can apply to join our database by going to the consumer home page ( http://www.mindswarms.com/consumers/new ) and signing up as a new user.

  6. What’s the catch?

    We get this question a lot. People worry that they’ll have to do something special to qualify, like dress up as Batman or sing and dance while twirling a baton. We want to assure you up front that, while we do appreciate your unique talents and large inventory of super hero costumes, we are most interested in what you think and how well you are able to share those thoughts with our clients.

    We believe that everyone is an expert in something, whether that means expert business traveler, technology geek, or stay at home mom. Our clients--including product design firms, advertising agencies, and large corporations--want to hear your thoughts and opinions about your unique expertise. Ultimately, they will use what they learn from you to make better products, services, and advertising.

    In the past, companies have used focus groups and surveys to obtain this information, but these forms of market research are often expensive and time consuming. The MindSwarms platform enables companies to gather valuable qualitative data in an affordable, hassle free way.

    When a company wants to conduct market research, they pay us to set up a study for them. Since we want to encourage you to participate in our studies, we pay you for your responses. In the end, everyone wins – the companies get their research data, we get business, and you get paid for answering seven questions via webcam.

  7. Are you going to sell my information to companies?

    We take your privacy seriously and only share minimal information with our clients: first name, last initial, age, and geography. We keep the rest of your information, including contact details, private and never share them with our clients or any other third parties.

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Applying to Studies

  1. How do I apply to studies?

    Before you can participate in a study, you need to apply and be accepted. All of the studies you qualify for are automatically listed under the "Studies for You" heading. To apply for a study, click the "Apply" tab to the right of the study name.

    You will then answer up to five application questions, which should take you less than a minute. The researcher will then review your answers and accept or reject your study application. This usually happens within 24 hours, and you will be notified of the researcher's decision via email.

    If you don't see any studies listed under the "Studies for You" heading it just means that we don't have any studies for you right now and that you should check back later.

  2. How do I hear about new studies?

    Aside from the listing under the "Studies for You" heading on the dashboard, we can also email you when you qualify for new studies. You can set your email preferences under your account and choose to receive daily emails when there are new studies that you qualify for.

  3. How long do I have to apply to a study?

    Studies have limited spots for participants and are filled on a first come, first served basis. That means you will want to apply as soon as possible to order to increase your chances of being able to participate.

  4. Why does the website say that the study I wanted to apply to is closed?

    You get this error when you attempt to apply to a study that has already been filled. Study spots are limited, so you will want to reply faster in the future. We suggest you sign up for daily emails, if you haven't already.

  5. How do I increase my chances of being selected for a study?

    In addition to reviewing your screening application, researchers watch your sample video to determine if you are a good fit for their study. The better your video quality, the more likely you are to be selected for a study. Researchers are also looking to see how you respond to questions and go into detail with your answers. You can always

    re-record your sample video
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Completing Studies

  1. What happens after I have been accepted to a study?

    Congratulations! Now that you have been accepted, you just need to complete the study. Your acceptance email will have a link to the study, but you can also access the study by selecting it from the "Active Studies" area on your dashboard and clicking the "Start" tab. To complete the study, read each question and record a video response.

  2. How does the video recorder work?

    To begin a recording, click the red "record" button in the video window. Once you are done with your answer, click the yellow "done" button in the video window. After recording an answer, we recommend you review it (to make sure your audio and video recorded correctly) by clicking the grey "review" button. Once you are satisfied with your answer, click the "save" button. You will not be able to re-record your answer after saving it.

    The "back" button on the video recorder simply erases your video and forces you to re-record. We realize this is stupid, and we suggest you avoid this button. We're working on redesigning our recorder in an upcoming version of MindSwarms.

  3. How long do I have to complete a study?

    Completing studies in a timely manner is a big deal, and we strongly suggest you complete studies as soon as possible. All studies have limited slots for participants. You are guaranteed your slot until 3 days before the close of a study. After that time, researchers may invite additional people to the study and all slots will be available on a first come, first served basis. Once all the slots are filled, you will no longer be able to complete the study.

  4. How am I supposed to answer the questions?

    We realize many of you may want to dress up in formal attire and talk like news anchors in your videos. Please don't do this. Our clients want to see the real you, so wear what you usually wear and talk like you usually talk. Share your thoughts and opinions and don't be afraid to be honest. No one is going to judge you, and we want to hear the unique perspective that you bring to the questions. The best answers we see are real, honest, and unfiltered.

    Also, don't be afraid to gesture, point, or show us what you mean. If you want to talk about your shoes, show us a pair of them. If you need to discuss your dinner preparation process, feel free to walk your laptop webcam to the freezer for a live tour.

    To bottom line this point: don't place limits on yourself or worry about how you are "supposed" to answer the questions. Instead, free yourself to be open and honest. Not only will the experience be more enjoyable for you, but the researcher will also be happier with your reply.

  5. I received an email that says my answers were rejected. What do I do now?

    Don't panic. This happens from time to time. Read the note from the researcher and see what you can do to correct the problem. Most of the time, there is a problem with your video or audio that will require you to re-record one or more answers. To avoid this issue, always review your videos before saving them.

    Your researcher should never comment on the content of your videos. If you review your videos and feel the researcher's comments are out of line, please contact us at support@mindswarms.com .

  6. What do I have to do to re-record a study?

    To re-record a study, simple follow the link in the email you received or log in to your dashboard and click the "Review My Responses" tab under the "Notifications" heading. You can then review your responses and either re-record as necessary or report that you don't see any problems.

  7. How long do I have to re-record my answers?

    You need to address a request to re-record within 24 hours. If you do not re-record within that time frame, we may offer your study slot to other candidates and you will lose the opportunity to re-record.

  8. What if I don't re-record?

    If you don't address a researcher's objection by re-recording your responses or report that you don't see any problems, you will not be paid.

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Getting Paid

  1. Why wasn't I paid for the multiple choice survey I answered?

    The multiple choice surveys that you take when you apply to a study are unpaid. They are used only to see whether or not you qualify for a study. For example, if a client is looking for ice cream fanatics, the multiple choice survey may ask you how many times you have had ice cream in the past month.

    The actual study involves recording your responses to question via webcam. If you are accepted to a study, you will be notified by email and the study will appear under the "Active Studies" header on your dashboard.

  2. I just completed a study and have not been paid. What is going on?

    Our system automatically pays you 24 hours after you post your response to a study. This gives us time to review your answers and make sure that there aren't any problems with your recording.

    If it has been more than 24 hours since you logged your response, email us at support@mindswarms.com and we will look into it.

  3. How do you pay me?

    We pay all study participants via PayPal, so you will need a PayPal account to get paid. You can sign up for a free PayPal account at http://www.paypal.com . We send your payment to the PayPal address listed under the "Payment" section of the "Your Account" page. You can visit the "Your Account" to update or change the address where you would like us to send your PayPal payments.

  4. Why haven't I been paid for the study that asked about my favorite type of music?

    The music question is simply a sample question designed to teach you how to use the site. To participate in paid studies, apply to any of the studies listed under the "Studies for You" header on your dashboard.

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Technical Questions

  1. Why isn't my camera working?

    If you can't see yourself in your camera, try the solutions below. Usually, one of them will resolve your issue.

    Solution One: If that box is all black, right click on it and click Settings. Then, find the Camera tab (it's probably the furthest right tab). It'll look like this: http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/help04.html Once you've found that tab, try each of the options in the drop down box (in the example, it shows DV Video). On a Mac, "USB Video Class Video" is usually the one that works, but at least one of them should suddenly cause the video to appear.

    Solution Two: Switch browsers. Amazingly, the video will sometimes work in one and not the other.

    Solution Three: Try updating Flash. Go http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/ to and download the newest version.

    Solution Four: If you are using the Google Voice plugin, uninstall it. It interferes with webcams and the problem has not been resolved. You can reinstall the plugin after completing the study.

    If you tried these tips and you still are having trouble recording yourself, email us at support@mindswarms.com .

  2. Why isn't my sound being recorded?

    Usually sound malfunctions because the wrong audio input is selected. Try right clicking on the video area and choosing "Settings" from the menu. Next, find the Microphone tab. It will look like this: http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/help03.html

    Once you have clicked on that tab, try each of the settings in the drop down box. When you choose a setting, speak into your computer. You will know that you have found the setting that works for your microphone when the indicator bar on the left shows movement.

    When you speak at a normal volume, the indicator bar should rise about half way up, and turn yellow. If it does not (it is too high and red or too low and green), adjust the "Record Volume" slider right next to it until it does.

    If you tried these tips and you still are having trouble recording yourself, email us at support@mindswarms.com .

  3. Why is my recording choppy and/or pixelated?

    Poor recording quality generally results from a slow or spotty internet connection. If you are using wireless internet, try plugging your cable or DSL modem directly into your computer. You may also do a speed test at http://www.speedtest.net to ensure that your connection meets the minimum requirements to use MindSwarms (1Mbps upstream or greater).

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Other Questions

If you have any other questions that are not answered here, please email us at support@mindswarms.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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