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Why are surveys appearing on our website?

A few online readers are wondering why they're being asked to take a Google survey that pops up with a story they're reading on the Wadena Pioneer Journal and other Forum Communications Co. websites.

Some are worried that it might be a scam. Some don't like the hassle of filling out a survey.

First off, this is not a scam. It's a legitimate consumer survey from Google.

Readers don't pay the Pioneer Journal for online content, but Google will pay us 5 cents per completed survey.

To keep our content free for readers online, we need to look at other ways to monetize our offerings, so we appreciate it when readers take a few seconds to fill out the Google surveys.

Readers are not forced to take the survey to read the story. They can opt out by clicking on that option when the survey appears.

Other things to know about the surveys:

• Surveys don't appear on the front page. They will appear after a reader clicks on his or her first online story.

• The surveys are placed on top of the first two or so paragraphs of the story. Readers can answer the question(s) or click to opt-out.

• If the reader answers one question, the survey won't appear again for 24 hours. If two questions are answered, the survey won't appear again for 48 hours. If three questions are answered, the survey won't appear for 72 hours, etc.

• If the reader opts-out of answering the question, the survey will go away, allowing the story to be read.

• If the reader opts-out of answering, reads the first story and clicks on a second story, the survey pops up again. The reader can opt out again and read the next story. The survey continues to appear and continues to allow the reader to opt-out no matter the number of stories.

We know in today's world, people want information fast and free with no hassles. But maintaining a website 24/7 with fresh updates, photos, video and world, national, state and local news coverage doesn't just magically happen. There are people behind it. It takes a team of dedicated and skilled people to provide this kind of service, day in and day out. The Pioneer Journal and other newspapers that are in the Forum Communications Company family are all part of that team.

Across the nation, thousands of publishers require readers to pay for their online content. We do not.

More than 200,000 publishers are using Google surveys. It's a no-cost way for online readers to access high quality content.