Standing for Quality at ESOMAR 2022




Toronto, September 2022.-  A very enlightening panel discussion was held during ESOMAR’s 2022 annual conference in Toronto around survey quality. 

More specifically speakers highlighted the evolving methods of survey imposters as an increasingly critical problem in the insights industry.

InnovateMR and Opinion Route shared an original work through their presentation “Freeze Fraudster” which included videos with real fraudsters disclosing their tricks, something that was never seen is this type of events.

Later an expert panel discussion was lead by Diego Casaravilla (FINE’s CEO and Conference Programme Committee Member) with the participation of Sandy Casey (SVP of Global Supply at InnovateMR), Rich Ratcliff (Chief Product Officer of OpinionRoute), Vignesh Krishnan (CEO and Founder of Research Defender), Kyle Hope (head of Supply and Partnerships at Quest Mindshare) and Leib Litman (co-founder and Chief Research Officer at CloudResearch).

An eye-opening exchange included detailing current solutions and also proposed actions to address this serious risk.

Some takeaways from this discussion were:

1.  Fraud is a serious threat to our activity since is putting in jeopardy the trust in our surveys. No matter how sophisticated the statistical or analytical models are, they become useless if not fed by real human beings providing genuine responses. While fraud is not new, it has been accelerated by the increased adoption of virtual currencies, as a means for respondents compensation.

2.  Fraud is everywhere not just in Market Research, and experience shows that only way to properly handle it, is to have a specific strategy and this should include proper fraud detection procedures and full transparency. There are a variety of tricks fraudsters employ, some involving sophisticated software or clicking farms and robots, others more manual procedures and each of these require specific detection responses.

3. Sample partners should be accountable and take responsibility for the quality they deliver, and is critical to know who is working in each project and what are they doing to prevent fraud. But is also an industry problem and all stakeholders should participate including the associations, sample suppliers, agency and end users. We need to define a set of best practices and guidelines to agree on a universally and verifiable approach that takes care of the privacy but also provides transparency and confidence.

At FINE we take quality very seriously. We understand as our primary responsibility to have an active role in controlling sample quality. 

Some of our procedures include:

– We only invite previously verified respondents (namely doctors verified by national medical registries)

– Avoid virtual currencies and only pay through named bank accounts by wire transfer thus ensuring traceability and using same identification procedures as the banking industry.

– Use digital fingerprint technology to fully track responses and detect duplications.

– Have an active blacklisting procedure avoiding not only potential fraudsters but also speeders and disengaged respondents from taking part.

– Run due diligence on any name change request to ensure is not a fraud. 

– Make a company commitment from our CEO, to every PM, quality officer and field staff member to employ all needed controls and technologies to ensure we only provide genuine data to our clients.