The scrip I'm using is free. And even though handling scripts is tough for me, I found it easy to install.
Surveys Can Produce Powerful Results
The only surveys I've tried on Web have been offered via "STAT News." It's difficult to get a significant response in this format. For one thing, we're all quite busy and it takes time to figure answers to questions. Additionally survey taker must reply via email; many are hesitant to do so for fear of their address being misused.
One way to obtain anonymous response is to put a survey up on your site. SurveyMonkey.Com makes this easy to do. While I haven't tried it yet, I will. Again, more interesting topic, more input you'll get. And quality is likely to be correspondingly better.
About Those Responding
An honest poll or survey seeks a random sample, a small part of whole. It's tough to obtain. And few get it right. With a survey or poll in your newsletter or on your site, sample you get will *not* be random. Why?
Those responding may be more aggressive types, not representative of whole. Or you may have phrased your questions in such a way as to turn off readers and visitors of one sort or another. Composing questions which all or even most will understand as you meant them, is a real challenge.
If you get a relatively large response, results can be taken more seriously. This is not usual case, however. The mode is to get a few responses, but not nearly enough to consider results representative of whole.
I personally am willing to extrapolate and say that any one response represents that of nine others, had they taken time to participate. But I won't go further. Thus given say 4000 subscribers and a response of 100 to a survey, you may be able to draw some reasonable conclusions about 1000 subscribers, but nothing much about other 3000.
How To Screw Up Results
If you require an email address, you will turn off those unwilling to give one. Input will come only from those who will, and those who give a phony address. Either way, any randomness in sample is gone. And results are likely to be meaningless.
Offering a freebie will almost always kick back on you. At least some will participate just to get freebie. Some will even try to twist results, just for fun of it. The greater perceived value of freebie, muddier results are likely to be.
Other Ways To Gather Input
Forums, bulletin boards, and chats are terrific. But they don't work well without sufficient traffic. On Web, image is everything, at least initially. Nothing I can think of at this writing can destroy an image quicker than a "dead" forum in which last message was posted a month back. (And don't think for a moment you can fake it; only luck in trying this is all bad.)