TLDR: Apex Focus Group is a legit resource to find paid market research studies. But there are enough red flags that it wouldn’t be my first choice in this field.
Still, paid focus groups are a fun and easy way to make extra money. That’s one reason why we’ve been covering them for years on Side Hustle Nation.
In this post, I’ll break down:
- How Apex Focus Group really works (hint: it’s not a market research company)
- How much you can earn with them
- Better alternatives to consider
Ready? Let’s do it!
Apex promises to send you legit paid focus groups via email. But you'll have to dodge some scammy offers along the way.
- Does send out viable paid market research studies.
- You can earn $50-150/hr from these studies.
- Also sends offers others have found to be scams.
- Engages in misleading marketing.
What is Apex Focus Group?
Apex Focus Group is a free email service that sends you paid market research opportunities. It is not a market research company itself, nor a facilitator of any paid focus groups.
That disclaimer is found in the footer of the website:
“Apex focus group (AFG) does not own or operate any paid opportunities. AFG matches subscribers with potential paid clinical trials, surveys, and focus groups from other providers. AFG may receive compensation from providers of opportunities it sends to subscribers.”
In short, it’s an affiliate business that makes money referring focus group participants to other research companies.
Nothing wrong with that, and they’re pretty upfront with how it works, even explaining as much on the homepage:
“Our team gathers focus groups from around the web … to bring you legitimate paid focus group opportunities.”
Cool. Done right, that’s definitely a valuable service.
Is Apex Focus Group Legit?
Apex Focus Group is legit, but there are some red flags to be aware of, and better alternatives for paid focus groups (see below).
Apex was founded in 2019 and started to grow rapidly in 2021:
If you sign-up, just know what you’re getting into. It’s an email service that occasionally sends money-making opportunities.
The company isn’t BBB accredited, but they are responsive to customer complaints on Better Business Bureau.
All the complaints relate to customer service issues with Apex’s 3rd-party partners. And to their credit, Apex’s responses are quite thoughtful and caring.
For example, here’s part of one response:
I appreciate you sharing this experience with us though so we can address it with them, too. While we are ultimately not responsible for transactions that consumers have with these third party partners, that does not mean I am unwilling to help.
I would like to personally provide you with the $20 that you were owed by [3rd-party partner] because they are one of our third party partner.
How Apex Focus Group Works
After you join Apex, you’ll start to get emails with paid market research opportunities. (And other semi-related offers — more on that below.)
With each of those, they’ll tell you the project incentive upfront (how much you’ll get paid), and approximately how long it will take.
Here’s an example email I received:
If the study sounds like a fit, complete the separate pre-screening process and hopefully you’ll get selected.
After the study, you’ll receive your reward — not from Apex, but from the 3rd-party market research company.
One thing that’s misleading about the Apex site is their list of “Available Focus Group Studies.” At press time, this list hadn’t been updated in at least 12 months.
Since most studies are time-sensitive, none of these are actually available.
On the positive side, they list several of their focus group referral partners, so you can easily go sign-up directly with those companies:
- Schlesinger Group (now called Sago)
- Focus Pointe Global (acquired by Sago)
- L&E Research
- Probe Market Research
- Canvas Marketing (no obvious way to join as a panelist)
How Much Can You Make with Apex Focus Group?
Apex claims you can earn “up to $750/week.”
While that is definitely possible through multi-session studies, don’t bank on that being a consistent source of income.
I keep a pretty close eye on paid research and may make $750 a year from this type of side hustle.
As an aggregator of paid research studies, the pay range with Apex will vary quite a bit. A typical range is $50-150/hour, depending on the study.
For example, here are some of the studies they sent me:
- $650-1,000 for a study on new technology products
- $100 for a 60-minute study on social media
- $150 for a 45-minute study on beverages
- $100 for a 60-minute study on pets
- $200 for a study on grocery shopping
Who is Behind Apex Focus Group?
Apex Focus Group emails from from Justin Jones from “Full Circle Media.”
Several employees report working for the company on LinkedIn, but Justin isn’t one of them.
There is no Google listing for Apex Focus Group or Full Circle Media at either of the US addresses given:
- 14350 60th St North, Suite #46131 Clearwater FL (appears to be a virtual address)
- 2160 Kingston Court SE Ste E, Marietta GA
The domain registration is also private.
All that said, it’s not uncommon for affiliate website owners to try and remain anonymous.
Getting Random Emails from Apex Focus Group?
In addition to the paid focus group emails, Apex tends to send other affiliate offers related to saving or making extra money.
Those have included:
- A car insurance quote service
- A Zantac class action settlement??
- A scammy-looking debt evaluation service
- A car-wrap advertising service that many reviewers called a scam
As always, do you own due diligence before giving your personal information to any of these 3rd-party services.
The selection and vetting of the partner offers Apex sends via email is definitely hurting the company’s reputation. At press time, Apex had earned a solidly-mediocre 2.4-star rating on Glassdoor.
The most common complaint is that they send too many emails promoting scammy offers.
That’s unfortunate — and unnecessary — because there are plenty of legit ways to make extra money.
Apex Focus Group Sign Up Process
The sign-up process for Apex is very simple. All you have to do is complete a short form with some basic information.
It asks questions like:
- Your name
- Email address
- Zip code
- Date of birth
- If you have kids
- What kind of phone you use
- Your employment status
- Your education
Compared to other market research companies, this is a pretty short onboarding form. But again, Apex isn’t a market research company; it’s an email list.
Another misleading thing on the Apex Focus Group site is the false scarcity on one of the sign-up pages. It says “Only 3 Positions Left.”
This is complete BS.
That would be like me saying, “Sign up for the Side Hustle Nation email list. There’s only 3 spots left!”
The more people who join the Apex Focus Group email list, the more money they’ll make. Some of the individual studies will have participation caps, but not the general Apex email list.
The other interesting thing is depending on which “Register” link you click on, you can get estimated hourly rates that are cut in half, to $35-75/hr:
All else being equal, I’ll sign up for the $75-150 version :)
Apex Focus Group Alternatives
While Apex may help connect you with some paid research opportunities, there are better options. Here are some of our top picks.
The most similar aggregator service was FindFocusGroups.com, but unfortunately it doesn’t look like it’s been maintained in several months.
User Interviews is a legit facilitator of online (and in-person) consumer research studies. Participants can get paid (generally $50-150/hr) to share their opinion and shape future products and services. While this won’t replace your day job, it can be a nice supplemental income.
- One of the best-paying survey companies I've found.
- Easy to sign-up.
- Lots of new studies added every week.
- Can be difficult to get selected.
The average rate of pay is in the ballpark of $100 an hour. I’ve earned $105 for about an hour and a half worth of “work” so far.
Check out my full User Interviews review for more.
Respondent also specializes in one-on-one market research interviews, mostly done over the phone or online.
According to the site, the average payout is over $100 an hour. Check out our full Respondent review for more.
(I’ve earned $395 so far — $190 of which was for a focus group that involved playing with Legos!)
Rare Patient Voice
A leading source for medical research, Rare Patient Voice pays patients and caregivers $120 an hour. Most of the studies are phone or webcam interviews, and you can browse a full list of available studies on their site.
If you suffer from any sort of medical condition (even if it’s not super rare), I think this one is worth a look.
FocusGroup.com is run by Sago, a long-running research company. They offer nationwide phone or webcam research opportunities that pay between $75 and $200.
I earned $115 for a 45-minute online survey — check out my full FocusGroup.com review to learn more.
Fieldwork is a company the runs (mostly) in-person focus groups. I took part in one of their studies in San Francisco, and earned $150 for a 2-hour focus group, plus a $50 bonus prize for showing up early.
They have locations throughout the US.
Fieldwork focus groups normally last 1-2 hours, and pay starts at $75.
Check out my full guide to Online Focus Groups for more money earning opportunities.
Other Online Survey Options
Most of the consumer-facing survey options below won’t have hourly rates nearly as strong as the more industry-specific studies that the options above do, but they can still add up and you can knock them out in your spare time.
Here are some of Side Hustle Nation’s top picks:
- Swagbucks – Earn up to $35 a survey with this mega-popular app, and get a $10 bonus just for signing up!
- Survey Junkie – Take 3 surveys a day and earn up to $100 a month.
- KashKick – Get paid to answer surveys, test games, and try new products.
- InboxDollars – Get a $5 bonus just for signing up!
- American Consumer Opinion – Join millions of free members and earn up to $50 per survey.
- Branded Surveys – One of the best-rated survey sites with millions paid out.
Serious About Making Extra Money?
- Start Your Free $500 Challenge. My free 5-day email course shows you how to add $500 to your bottom line.
- Join the free Side Hustle Nation Community. The free Facebook group is the best place to connect with other side hustlers and get your questions answered.
- Download The Side Hustle Show. My free podcast shares how to make extra money with actionable weekly episodes.