If you’re like most people, you roll your eyes every time you get a piece of junk mail. These days, you are likely so inundated with it virtually (hello, overflowing spam folder!) that it feels both pointless and wasteful to have physical junk mail sent to your home. You feel like you have unsubscribed from everything you can think of, but your efforts have been futile. The product catalogs you could have just as easily viewed online, phone books from a bygone era, and coupons for things you have never needed or wanted are still piling up on your kitchen counter.
What if, instead of immediately tossing it in the recycling bin, there was a way for you to monetize that irksome pile of credit offers and marketing flyers?
There could be real money hiding in those envelopes
Should you be lucky enough to receive some mail from Nielsen, the famous data and analytics company that tracks audience ratings of movies and TV shows, open that envelope, and you might just find a couple of dollars to entice you to fill out a survey. When you mail said survey back to Nielsen, it will reward you with five more dollars. Not bad for two minutes of your time!
Aside from Nielsen, other market research companies, such as the Pew Research Center and the Consumer Opinion Institute, work similarly.
This company will pay you for your junk mail
If you have opened all of your junk mail and were dismayed when you didn’t see those crisp George Washingtons, fear not! There is actually a legit company called the Small Business Knowledge Center (SBKC) that will buy your junk mail from you. Yes, you read that correctly!
When you sign up to become a consumer panelist, you will be asked to send in any mail you have received that follows SBKC’s guidelines (in a postage-paid envelope, naturally), and the organization will give you points that you can later redeem for a Visa debit card you will be able to use anywhere. It even accepts email solicitations, so don’t be too hasty in emptying out that spam folder!
SBKC is interested in junk mail from a huge variety of industries, including home decor, auto parts, pet supplies, and sporting goods stores. In fact, if you check out its website, there are dozens of types of junk mail that will definitely qualify for points.
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You might be asking yourself why SBKC cares about your junk mail. According to its FAQ page, its “insurance, and financial services clients use this information for competitive intelligence and product development purposes.” SBKS also seems deeply committed to protecting the privacy of its participants, and a simple Google search proves that people have had good experiences with the company.
There are a handful of similar companies out there, but SBKC appears to be the most trustworthy and reliable of the bunch. However, The Hauser Group, US Monitor, and Quotas World Mail Panel are also legitimate and safe although they all work a little differently.
Of course, you’re not going to get crazy rich from sending in your junk mail—you might need a few other side hustles in the mix before you can retire on that megayacht floating near a tropical island—but it is way better than just throwing it away, right? Maybe you can use the money for your holiday shopping, treating your mom to dinner, or splurging on something for yourself once in a while.
So, let Nielsen or SBKC buy you your next cup of coffee. Go ahead, spring for the whipped cream in that triple espresso. We won’t tell.