From the frying pan to the fire
It's free!

Yes, but . . .

Catching up on some things that have been sitting around my inbox I came across this little tidbit from the Q&A part of a Peanut Labs Webinar in which the company pitched its social network sample product. Someone asked, "How do you ensure "Representative" sample from these social media outlets. I was more than a little surprised at their answer:

"[The sample] Peanut Labs delivers is "representative" of Internet users that belong to social networks. We cannot make claims beyond that – just as no other online sample provider can claim that their samples are representative of anyone other than people who want to join panels."

This sort of truth in advertising has been in short supply in our industry for some while, and not just in all the buzz about social networking and social media. To no small extent the disappointment that many clients have come to feel about online has its roots in the extravagant claims often made by panel companies in particular, but also online evangelists in research agencies whose business models were built around online methods.

But these moments of truth speaking can be fleeting and the PL spokesperson went on to say:

"However, research-on-research studies to be released early on in the new year show that Peanut Labs sample differs very little from offline and online sample in terms of behavior or attitude. The one exception is in their attitude to online advertising, with which they are more intensely involved."

OK, so nobody is perfect.