When you use an online access panel for research, you depend on those respondents to help inform your critical business decisions.

But what if your survey is the ninth one your respondents have taken today? What if they just saw advertising for your competitor on the panel’s website before taking your survey? What if they are answering your questions while annoyed by their experience with the panel? What if your respondents are coming from a different source than the panel you selected?

Our 2009 report Dirty Little Secrets of Online Panels received overwhelming response from researchers who wanted to know more information, about even more panels. So, taking a cue from the sequel experts in Hollywood, in 2012 we released More Dirty Little Secrets of Online Panel Research.

Our report evaluates a variety of online access panels from the respondent viewpoint. Read about:

  • The panel that lets respondents sit and complete survey after survey non-stop off its website – up to 50 or 60 opportunities in a row
  • The panel that gives panelists “survey opportunities” that are actually invitations to compare car insurance rates or sign up for coupons – a direct violation of standard research ethics
  • The panel that invited panelists to complete up to 15 different invitations over just two days, with as many as 61 invitations in just one month
  • The panel that really seems to like convenience sampling – over four out of ten studies were closed within an average of 19 hours of the invitations being sent
  • The panel that actually blocks panel members from completing more than one questionnaire each week

e-Rewards. Synovate. Toluna. Lightspeed. Clear Voice. SSI. uSamp. All these and more are included in the report. And this time, we also take on some broader industry practices, such as questionnaire length and quality, respondent profiling, closed studies, bias caused by repeat use of respondents for standardized measurements, and incentives.

There are reliable panels and truly horrendous panels out there – and which one you select for your project can make a huge difference in the quality of the data you get. If you’re a researcher using (or considering) online access panels, and you’re serious about getting viable results, you need to read this report.

Please e-mail ron@greymatterresearch.com for a free copy of More Dirty Little Secrets of Online Panel Research.


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