The Anonymous Survey Taker
With the advent of the internet, a truly global market was created, connecting million upon millions of people and presenting new business opportunities. It is now possible to reach a wide audience and offer specific needs to a niche market, regardless of location. But how exactly do companies know who to reach and what their customers want? It is part of the role of a business to know to whom they are selling and what it is they desire.
How Information is Collected
Much of the information gathered comes from third party market research in the form of interviews or surveys. There are a plethora of online survey companies people can sign up with and help contribute to this gathering of research that compile information from a large number of users. Because there is a relative ease of using computers connected to the the internet and its global reach, a wide range of demographics can be surveyed to chart consumer tendencies by age, race, gender, etc.
Some people are concerned when it comes to privacy. They do not want their personal information to be known or identity to be stolen and wish to remain anonymous. While these concerns are not unfounded, this is not the purpose of internet survey companies. Compiling statistics is not based on singular responses, but rather, total responses from a desired group of interest. A survey from only one person tells little. Thousands of surveys conducted and compiled from a chosen demographic will tell tendencies and help companies choose the direction they wish to pursue.
Many businesses only desire information from a specific demographic; for example, white men over 40 or shopping habits of women under 35. For this reason, preliminary questions are asked to weed out persons who do not match the desired area of interest. Businesses who offer these surveys will collect information from users who repeatedly do market research for them. This means that it is nearly impossible for a person to lie unless they continually do so with extreme accuracy. If a user is seen to answer age, gender and race differently on surveys in attempt to complete more, their accounts will be terminated.
Types of Questions Asked
But the question remains about what kind of questions the survey companies will ask and how personal it will get. There will most likely be questions concerning income level and discretionary spending. However, a trusted survey company will never ask for something confidential like a social security number or access to a personal bank account. This sort of information means little to trusted survey companies. What is of more interest is how similar people in a chosen group act. While the company who performs the survey will get a general profile of their users, they will acquire very little personal information. Most likely, in order to pay their users, the company will ask for a third party subscription to a business like Paypal to pay their clients for their work.
Overall, participating in market research by doing online surveys is safe and secure. There is a layer of anonymity that still remains, even for seasoned survey takers. Remember to do research on a survey company before signing up. If a survey company does ask for personal information, such as a social security number, this should be seen as a warning that the business is a scam. With a trustworthy company, there is little to worry about when it comes to confidential and private information.