Ctrl C + Ctrl V -> the most commonly used technology by plagiarizers. Often while searching the internet and looking to enhance my knowledge about online panel industry I come across so many dubious and fake panel suppliers. It is very easy to identify such fake suppliers as with all criminals they follow similar modus operandi. To make up for the complete absence of common sense and knowledge they use POMPOUS claims about their services. If a researcher observers closely they can easily see through the false claims. In my case I am a bit orthodox and go with established panel suppliers rather than risk my data integrity with a newbie. The article illustrates 8 common claims which fake online panel providers use – Know them to save your data!!
SENTENCE 1: “We have made strategic tie up with all major online panel companies to provide quality sample at very competitive price”.
REASON IT IS FAKE: The word ‘strategic tie up’ should be interpreted as ‘you give us an RFP and we forward it as it is to another online panel supplier – which in turn probably would forward it to someone else’.
In the online panel industry there might be few exceptions but there isn’t any kind of ‘tie ups’ amongst panel providers. Plain & Simple it is merely a ‘FORWARD THE RFP’ game which is running.
To have a ‘strategic tie up’ one needs to have some kind of agreement with terms & conditions – but alas! Nothing such happens here. Next time if your panel supplier uses the word ‘strategic tie up’ – ask them – ‘show me the proof’.
SENTENCE 2: “Countries that we can cover are as follows: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland , France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Taiwan, Turkey, USA and Planets such as MARS, VENUS, JUPITER, SATURN blah blah blah!!”.
REASON IT IS FAKE: A fake online panel company is out there to dupe you and destroy the credibility of your project. Therefore they would not restrict themselves to serving you in just few countries – their service suit would have every country available – even Afghanistan & Sierra Leone!!!
Very few online panel companies like Toluna, Research Now & SSI have the credibility and resources to provide a global coverage – if any other company claims multiple country access panels – just be sure to double check their credibility once.
SENTENCE 3: “Whether you’re looking to conduct B2B research on IT professionals, marketing professionals, C-level executives, software developers, or business owners, or B2C research on teens, moms etc. – WE HAVE THEM ALL”.
REASON IT IS FAKE: Like point 2 as a fake online panel company is simply in the game to trick you into buying from them – therefore their ‘imaginary’ respondents cover all the industry verticals and demographic profile you can think of.
The most difficult target audience to recruit is healthcare professionals – even established players think twice before claiming to have one. But your next door friendly fake online panel company does not have any such hitch.
One such fake company I came across even claim to have ‘millions’ of Oncologists in their panel but when asked failed to tell what Oncologists does!!!
SENTENCE 4: “Our aim is to make sure that all the quality & pricing parameters required by our clients are met in their committed time frame”.
REASON IT IS FAKE: Although there isn’t anything wrong with this sentence apart from the fact that a fake online panel company would never ever elaborate as to what quality measures they have put to practice.
I strongly believe that many companies are stuck up with the word ‘QUALITY’ – although ‘CREDIBILITY’ of the data is also of equal importance. By looking closely at the sales pitch of these fake online panel companies you can easily identify their trap.
SENTENCE 5:”We are experts in conducting F2F fieldwork, CATI, Web Surveys, FGD, blah blah blah blah”.
REASON IT IS FAKE: There are very few companies which have been able to provide the entire gamut of data collection services.
Very few online panel companies globally have been able to provide other data collection services – one such company which comes to my mind right now is SSI which apart from Online Panels also conduct CATI.
It takes years of efforts to have such a wide range of services – but a fake online panel company would have all of them in their mere 1-2 years of existence.
SENTENCE 6: “ ”
REASON IT IS FAKE: Well that is exactly what is written under the ‘ABOUT US’ page – NOTHING!! Because a fake online panel company first of all does not have a credible person to write about and secondly once they have duped you by giving crap data – you cannot identify them.
Any online panel company which does not provide info about the owners of the company should be treated as FAKE.
SENTENCE 7: “Our years of experience and expertise have made us the trusted online survey provider to over 300 clients worldwide, including Fortune 500 corporations, major government agencies, national associations, smaller companies and non-profit organizations”.
REASON IT IS FAKE: Like many of the above mentioned points – a fake online panel company would try hard to build their credibility by stating impressive figures.
To have these many numbers of clients you require years of hard work and dedication.
SENTENCE 8: “ ”
REASON IT IS FAKE: Again this is what you see under the “CONTACT US” page – Nothing!!
A fake online panel company is nothing but a failed cunning business man working from the confine of his home – so but obviously they don’t have an office address. What you find under the contact us page is a simple form with no mention of the office address.
Some ‘over smart’ fake online panel providers have gone one step ahead and are utilizing fake office addresses – beware of such panel companies.
BONUS POINT: The curious case of a Bangkok based online panel company with office address of Hong Kong!!! I was shocked to see such a case where the company was claiming to be a Bangkok based online panel company but when you check their contact us page – the office address was of Hong Kong – but the shock doesn’t ends here – I checked the company site on “http://www.whois.sc/” and came to know it was an Indian company – GOD SAVE THIS INDUSTRY!!!
Now you have a choice. You can comment, share, or implement. I prefer if you implement, but I’ll appreciate all three – Akshay Kanyal