Newsflash: online surveys are rife with cheaters who attempt to game the results for fun or for profit, monkeywrenching the $4 billion online research business. Now, according to AdAge, Time Warner (TWX), Microsoft (MSFT) and about 20 other firms that depend on market research have had enough of it and joined Peanut Labs in a trial to create a national blacklist of suspected cheaters, eliminating them from future surveys.
Peanut Labs is employing a digital fingerprinting system called Optimus, similar to ones used in online banking to root out the estimated 0.25% of respondents who account for 30% of online survey results, according to a recent comScore estimate. The technology won’t be fooled by the cheaters’ favourite trick: dumping their cookie cache before filling out another survey.
Privacy advocates won’t be assured by this, but Peanut Labs makes the standard promise that Optimus won’t match computer IDs with personal information. Unfortunately for marketers, that means it won’t be able to tell if that 45-year-old mother is really an 18-year-old male. Our question: Who spends their time answering online surveys?
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