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Thread: I'm a Neal Sun Net Rat ings participant

  1. #1
    Wow. Life is short. Erin's Avatar
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    Question I'm a Neal Sun Net Rat ings participant

    Sorry for the obfuscation, but I don't want to appear in the search engines.

    There are a few things I didn't want to share on SP, but I might be willing to here. For some reason, I get picked a lot for focus groups and what-not. I've been interviewed by M$ (two people came to my office to watch me for a couple hours), Amaz (a run-of-the-mill focus group), and G (several times).

    Now for some reason, I get a call about Ne el Sun ratings (I honestly think it was a cold call). They have sent me their software to track my web usage. I've installed the software to track the sites I visit. According to the demographics that they sent me, they have only a couple hundred people in my bracket, which makes them very interested in me.

    I'm wondering if anybody has experience with this kind of thing.

    Edit: Oh, if anybody's wondering--I get paid $50/6 months for participating. I almost said no, but then I thought better of it.
    Last edited by Erin; 03-26-2006 at 09:00 PM.

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    Administrator Chris's Avatar
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    Cool.
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    Registered Jon's Avatar
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    I'm sorry.. but Chris' response made me crack up so hard for some reason. So simple, yet so funny!!

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    Registered Steelsun's Avatar
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    I don't know. A little over $8 a month for someone to install legit spyware on your computer that tracks all your habits? Sounds awful to me.
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    Site Contributor KLB's Avatar
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    I would be interested in learning more about how the system works. Not that I would want their software on my computers

    My hunch is that these folks find you for surveys because you are a frequent user of membership cards at stores or have mailed in surveys before for other companies. Sometimes those store discount membership cards are used to aggergate information on people from many sources into one database that participating businesses can use to get a bigger demographic picture of people who end up in the database. This would allow someone like those who are paying you to run their software on your computer to know to target you.
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  6. #6
    Wow. Life is short. Erin's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm well aware of the implications of being tracked. But the software is truly on a work-only computer, and there's very little of interest to track. I actually do most of my serious surfing from home, since I don't have much time at work to spend on the Internet. I *think* I'm safe with privacy issues since I haven't even given them my real name for the survey; for the check, I've given only my first initial and last name. They haven't asked for the name of the business, nor for its address or phone numbers. So I think it shouldn't be easy to put two and two together in this case.

    KLB, I believe this one was truly a cold call--they didn't ask for me by name, and it was a number that I myself do not use, but I happened to be there at the time.

    Again, this is the same company that tracks TV; I don't think they're interested in me as an individual to add to a db somewhere (e.g., for bulk-mailing), but more for what my usage indicates for my demographic.

    Oh, I do NOT complete surveys, fill in registration forms, or ANYTHING like that. I don't even get magazine subscriptions in my real name. I often use variations of different names to track who's doing what with my info. For example (and no, these aren't the real names I use; I'm just making them up), Peanut M. Keebler could be the name I gave Microsoft; Peanut C. Keebler could be for Columbia House (the CD club), etc.

    Sound paranoid? Well, I could tell some stories about telephone terrorism and identity theft that might make you change your mind.

    So I'm pretty careful about protecting my identity, hence my request in another forum for a non-spiderable forum.

  7. #7
    Registered Steelsun's Avatar
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    Peanut M Keebler would be a cool name for all of us to use for awhile? Googlebomb that one!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erin
    Sound paranoid? Well, I could tell some stories about telephone terrorism and identity theft that might make you change your mind.

    So I'm pretty careful about protecting my identity, hence my request in another forum for a non-spiderable forum.
    I'd say youre pretty naive and careless if you willingly install tracking software on your computer for 8 dollars a month.

  9. #9
    Wow. Life is short. Erin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peach
    I'd say youre pretty naive and careless if you willingly install tracking software on your computer for 8 dollars a month.
    I respectfully disagree.

    It's not about the money. At all.

  10. #10
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    Yeah, Nielsen is known to be pretty shady
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  11. #11
    Wow. Life is short. Erin's Avatar
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    Yeah, the shadiest of all ratings companies.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erin
    I often use variations of different names to track who's doing what with my info. For example (and no, these aren't the real names I use; I'm just making them up), Peanut M. Keebler could be the name I gave Microsoft; Peanut C. Keebler could be for Columbia House (the CD club), etc.
    That's a great idea. I do something similar with my email address. I set up a catch-all address for<anything>@mydomain.com and then give different email addresses to any company that requires my email address for some reason. i.e. microsoft@mydomain.com , google@mydomain.com, etc...

    This way if I start getting spam I can easily tell who leaked my address, and blackhole that individual address if needed.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Kyle's Avatar
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    What's telephone terrorism?
    Kyle

  14. #14
    Wow. Life is short. Erin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icebane
    What's telephone terrorism?
    It refers to when an unscrupulous telemarketer, debt collector, or data collector flouts the law and repeatedly calls your number after being told specifically to desist.

    Yes, you're thinking that there are laws and safeguards in place to protect people from this type of harassment, but they actually don't always work as advertised.

    I had one such person call my office. He said, "Don't call you?! I'll call you thirty times an hour! I'll light up your switchboard until you put XYZ on the phone!" And he did. For a month. Yes, I called my local phone company (they have an "annoyance call" division). Yes, I called the local police and made a report. Yes, I paid to have a "trap" placed on my phone so that the company's telephone number, which was obfuscated on my caller ID, would be reported to the phone company. He seemed to have the ability to control what was displayed on the caller ID--it could read his real number, all zeros, a local number, private, whatever.

    Nothing I did stopped him. My calls to the police department and phone company were not returned.

    I know I could have filed a complaint with the FCC, but I didn't for many reasons, which I don't want to go into right now.
    Last edited by Erin; 05-07-2006 at 08:11 PM. Reason: "Grammo."

  15. #15
    Senior Member Kyle's Avatar
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    Ok, thanks for the interesting definition.
    Kyle

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