I don't exactly recall how I came to be a member of this panel (perhaps through my frequent flying with Northworst?), but as a survey-taking monkey on e-Rewards, I actually earn "money" with which I can "buy things."
These market surveys cover everything from car insurance preferences to grocery shopping to cable and internet providers. I answer their questions, I earn "money," and I don't feel like I'm wasting time, since I would have been online anyway, probably getting lost following links on wikipedia or watching movie trailers on imdb.
For example, I've cashed in my virtual money for gift cards to Target, huge discounts on flowers, and even magazine subscriptions - Smithsonian and Interview, to name a few. My latest cash-out was for two previously-viewed DVDs at Blockbuster.
After grocery shopping yesterday, in which I returned $7.00 worth of cans and bottles (Michigan's ten cent bottle deposit is SO worth it when you're short on cash, and it paid for fresh baby spinach and blueberries. Score!), I waltzed over to Blockbuster.
Now, since joining Netflix, it's been quite a while since I set foot in one of those movie-ish retail establishments. It was interesting to note that they've lowered their rental fees, but they sell DVD players now! Weird! Like someone just decided, "I want to rent a movie. It sure is a shame that I don't have a DVD player. Maybe I'll just go to Blockbuster anyway."
I went through racks of DVDs, not noticing that the newer releases were behind me, annoying myself and the staff in the process (I am assuming this, of course. I am never annoying). After much decision-making, I settled on Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Stardust. Both are on my Netflix queue, and both have been unseen by me.
And you know? They were free. If they're not my cup of tea, I'll pass them along to someone else.
All for answering bullshit questions about car insurance. Awesome.