According to this Inc. article, online survey software is the most profitable industry in the US. There are only a handful of top-shelf systems out there and they are pricey. In fact, after personnel and taxes, they are our #3 expense. I think the reason this industry is so profitable is there really isn’t a lot of competition and, after having programmers learn a system for years there is a significant barrier preventing firms from moving to a new system.
There are quite a few “quick and dirty” systems out there for DIY-ers. But, in terms of the major systems that most suppliers tend to use, a lack of competition has driven the pricing very high. I think that will change over time, as it has with online panels. Online panels used to be expensive, but became reasonably priced over time, as new firms emerged in the space. That hasn’t happened yet for online survey software – at least not for the really good systems.