Thursday, 29 October 2009

Argus Reader Panel

I received this invitation from the Argus by email. At first glance it looks interesting, attractive even, but I wonder how it will work out in practice.

The Argus endeavour to become a vital part of the community is obviously the right commercial choice for them but it is also a considerable advantage to that community to have a local paper that produces relevant, accurate, editorial content.

In pursuit of these ends and notwithstanding the commercial angle, an Argus reader might be happy to freely give of their time and join this panel. The effort required certainly does not appear to be too onerous. Once registered one would  be contacted by email and asked to participate in the first questionnaire online.  A visual image of an editorial feature or advert would be shown, and  a series of related questions, to gather feedback, asked. All subsequent surveys would be carried out in the same way.

No pecuniary advantage accrues to the participant (apart from the chance of winning vouchers and "other prizes" but I suspect not many would be influenced by this). Even so I was sufficiently persuaded of the interest and value of such a survey to go to the final step and register. It was here that things started to go wrong. The survey is carried out by a research company called RAM (which confusingly doesn't recognise one's Argus login) and the entry form is long and intrusive. I am not naive. I realise that this is so that the research results can be classified according to socio-economic group to make them of maximum value, but as my mouse hovered over the buttons, I felt the willpower to complete the form draining away. I wonder how many others will feel like this and what peculiar kind of skewness it will add to the results?

1 comment:

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