Tue 19th May 2009, 12:14pm
I'm on some of those Internet survey panels myself; perhaps I even answered some of the surveys Kohs commissioned (some of the questions in the article sound vaguely familiar). Sometimes the surveys ask weird stuff making me wonder just what the point of a survey is; your commentary gives me more background on that.
They can be pretty annoying with their repetitive questions; I'm sick of constantly getting asked my age, sex, zip code, and education level even though those are already on file in my record, and sometimes the same survey will ask those demographic questions more than once (it's pretty common for a survey to ask my age at the beginning, then my birthdate at the end).
If a survey is too long, with lots and lots of questions about stuff I don't give a flip about, like asking me a long series of questions of what I think of the difference between different brands of salty chips, their taste, their commercials, whether a particular brand gives "an impression of wholesomeness" or is one I "feel good about letting my kids eat" (I don't actually have any kids), eventually I get to a point where I just want to get the darn thing over with so I'm not so careful in reading and answering the questions, perhaps producing some of the phenomena you see. On the other hand, I do often try to diligently answer questions even if it requires an annoying amount of digging through stuff like receipts that show, to the nearest dollar, how much I spent for my last tank of gas or printer ink cartridge (I'm fortunately enough of a packrat to usually have those receipts even a few weeks later when the survey is asked; I imagine most others, who threw away the receipt, just give the survey-takers a guesstimate off the top of their head.)
Am I breaking their rules where they keep reminding me that one condition of participating in their surveys is to never tell anybody else about what they ask in their surveys? (But then they keep sending me stuff branded with their name as bonus prizes, meaning that if I actually use it, people may notice that I'm a member of that survey panel and ask me about it.)
Now playing: "Weird Al" Yankovic - I Lost on Jeopardy