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Data Privacy Part I:
Republicans, Democrats Seeing Eye to Eye on Data Privacy

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By Justin Wheeler, VP Product Innovation & Business Development

Ever since Edward Snowden shed light on NSA spying and data collection practices last year, the entire country and much of the world has been in a frenzy over data privacy. The so-called “Snowden Effect” is creating serious repercussions for American businesses, too, as many countries fear that partnering with a U.S. tech company could open the door to more spying.

Because our industry traffics in data to produce business insights, we should take note of the public outcry over data privacy, as it could ultimately catalyze legislative action that has lasting effects on the way we collect and share information. That’s why we decided to ask Americans directly how they feel about this issue. The results of our survey, much like the leaks themselves, were eye-opening.

Many of the political surveys we field paint a picture of a citizenry divided. But according to our latest research, data privacy is one issue that people from all political persuasions can get behind. The message is unequivocal: Liberals or Conservatives, Libertarians or Green-Party, want their data and information protected. Our survey also revealed that concern over data privacy will impact voting in 2014 and beyond, and that Americans are prepared to amend the U.S. Constitution to ensure their rights are protected.

To execute this study, we surveyed 1035 voters from across the political and demographic spectrum. Here’s what we learned about how data privacy plays into their lives:

  • 82% are familiar with recent news stories about the NSA and U.S. government gathering data from phones, websites, and social networks; only 5% are not familiar with this news.
  • 92% cite data privacy as a concern, with 48% indicated it is a major concern.
  • 63% say data privacy concerns will influence how they vote in upcoming elections.

A Proposal: To Amend, or Not to Amend

One way to measure whether or not people’s stated passion for a topic carries real-world impact is to propose an action and measure support for it. In this case, we proposed a new amendment to the Constitution to protect data privacy.

Before we get into the results, here’s a little context: There hasn’t been a meaningful amendment to the U.S. Constitution since 1971, when the voting age was set at 18. Since then, amendments have been proposed for many issues, including same-sex marriage, drug use, balanced budget, school prayer, flag burning, but none of them have ended up with the strong bi-partisan support necessary to make it out of Congress.

Based on our survey results, this issue has the potential to break that pattern, as respondents overwhelmingly support the idea of an amendment to protect data privacy. Here’s what we discovered:

  • 81% of respondents support the idea of an amendment to protect data privacy
  • 45% would “absolutely support” such an amendment, while only 2% were “absolutely opposed” to the idea
  • This level of support was consistent for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, as indicated in the chart below:

Support for Proposed Data Privacy

Amendment, By Political Party




More Than Newspapers—and Guns!

Such strong support across the political spectrum for a key issue, particularly when considering an important step like amending the U.S. Constitution, is interesting itself, but we decided to go deeper into the topic by asking comparative questions. When asked how protecting data privacy, a hypothetical constitutional right, stacked up against other rights, and the responses were surprising.

Our proposed Right to Privacy ranked only slightly behind some of our most sacred beliefs, Freedom of Speech and Religion, while it finished ahead of Freedom of the Press, Self-Incrimination, and well ahead of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Additionally, the study confirmed that some of the above issues are strongly partisan, while Right to Privacy seemed to transcend the political divide:

  • While 68% of respondents indicate the Right to Keep & Bear Arms as an important right, Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to rate it “Very Important” (65% of Republicans compared to only 37% of Democrats). That discrepancy isn’t true of Right to Privacy, which enjoys strong support regardless of political ideology.
  • Even among Republican voters, the Right to Privacy was scored as more important than the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, even if by a slim margin: 89% said the Right to Privacy was a 4 or 5 on our scale, where Right to Keep and Bear Arms scored an 85%.


Rating: Importance of Key Constitutional Rights
1- Not Important 2 3 4 5- Very Important
Freedom of Speech 0% 0% 3% 14% 82%
Freedom of Religion 2% 1% 6% 14% 78%
(Proposed) Right to Data Privacy 1% 1% 8% 22% 68%
Freedom of the Press 1% 2% 12% 24% 61%
Right Against Self-Incrimination 2% 2% 12% 23% 61%
Right to Keep & Bear Arms 9% 6% 16% 18% 50%


The people have spoken loud and clear: Data privacy should be a protected right. And while we may only be scratching the surface on what could become one of the defining issues of this century, the survey results raise an important question: What would an amendment on data privacy look like? Check back for parts two and three of this series, in which we reveal the survey’s qualitative data and let Americans write a new amendment. Plus, don’t miss our full-blown infographic based on the data privacy survey results.

Justin is entering his 15th year in the SaaS space, having helped to build and manage DIY business service and marketing platforms at Overture/Yahoo!, Perfect Market Technologies, and Spot Runner. Since joining uSamp, he has managed the insights platform providing Online and Mobile insights to over 40,000 clients in only 18 months of operation.

February 5th, 2014

Posted in Data Quality

Creating Your Questionnaire:
Backwards Is the Best Way Forward

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By Scott Worthge, VP, Research Solutions

In the course of my long career in the market research industry, I’ve seen a lot of questionnaires. They can range widely from the sublime and elegant to the just hideous and illogical. Some flow effortlessly, while others stumble along blindly. The major difference between questionnaires that work and ones that fail comes down to approach. To design a clear and effective questionnaire, you must begin at the end—not with the questions, but with the answers.

The better all of us are at crafting our instruments for the effective collection of data, the greater the value we bring to the various stakeholders who count on market research to inform their business decisions. I’d like to offer my own humble perspective, vastly summarized and shortened, to consider when designing your next questionnaire. My process may not be a pure science, but I’ve seen it work “better,” time and again, for my clients. Here are my three steps to questionnaire design:

1. Know your goals and objectives for creating the survey.

Sounds simple enough, but this first step is often overlooked, too easily assumed, or given short shrift, and it may well be the most important. Ask yourself some questions: What is the critical research that the questionnaire should yield? What kinds of decision will be made from the results delivered? If you can answer these questions, proceed to the next step. If it’s still a little hazy, stay here until all heads concerned are nodding in the same direction at the same time.

2. Create a priority list of the information you need and the learnings you hope to gain.

This list should include categories like pricing vs. competitive info vs. market trends, etc., and should be agreed upon by the client when defining the scope of the project. Good? Now proceed next to the measurements needed, not the questions. Nope, no questions at all—yet.

3. Look hard at the measurements that will lead to your results, not the questions.

This may seem backwards, but the first step to building a survey is to identify what data will result for each learning within each group—i.e., what’s needed, not just wanted. The measurements should be some combination of state of being (demographics typically), state of doing (previous/current actions and experiences), state of mind (perceptions, emotions, etc.), and state of intention (“likelihood to,” which can be quite tricky). Remember to stay focused on what you will actually do with the data and what difference your answers will make to your client.

Here’s an instructive example: Consider a question as simple as “What’s your favorite color?”

Are you immediately thinking of a list of colors and choosing your favorite? What you should be thinking of instead is this: What is the importance of respondents picking a color? What does color mean to the client and how is this information being used in the bigger picture?

What if your client is considering changing a brand-identifying packaging color, and you need to know strength of preference for different colors? You will need a scale of relative preference strength for each choice (at least), and different analytics entirely. The question itself would stay the same. But the data, the analysis of that data, and the story you tell about those results and insights would be completely different. So, same question, but very different measurements and results.

If you get this down, you have the foundation for your survey, and you can build from there. Remember, the measurements are what you build your survey on, not the questions.


[Stay tuned for Part Two of “Creating Your Questionnaire,” in which I cover how to structure questions for improved flow and data quality.]


January 22nd, 2014

Posted in Survey Design

INFOGRAPHIC: Hispanic Social Media Habits and Privacy Concerns Study

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Hispanics embrace social media such as Facebook, YouTube and Google+ more than the general population. But when it comes to sharing personal information about themselves, Hispanics are more cautious, according to survey results announced today.

uSamp, a leader in providing targeted audiences for global consumer insights, engaged 650 members from its newly inaugurated Hispanic panel, SúperOpinió, to survey participants on their attitudes toward social media compared to the general population. Here are the findings:

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April 11th, 2012

Posted in Infographics,Panel

Four Years of uSamp: The Men Behind The Story

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As uSamp blows out its fourth birthday candle, co-founders Matt Dusig & Gregg Lavin discuss what the number four means to them.

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March 20th, 2012

Posted in In The News

Sample Aggregation in Market Research: Critical Questions to Ask Online Suppliers

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by Matt Dusig, Co-Founder & CEO, uSamp





If you’ve worked in the industry long enough, you’ve experienced a five-alarm fire drill. You’ve carefully plotted out what you believe will be the perfectly executed project. Everything is running as scheduled when suddenly, incidence drops without warning, response rates tank, and the client unexpectedly adds that last minute “little” change that screens out potential respondents. Your best-laid plans are no longer suitable and more resources are needed—fast. What do you do to keep your project alive and your client satisfied? Did you say…aggregation?

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February 15th, 2012

Posted in Panel

INFOGRAPHIC: Why 13% Don’t Engage on Social Media Sites

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February 2nd, 2012

3 Tips for Successful Market Research Project Management

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By now you’ve heard a variety of voices from uSamp, and hopefully learned a little bit about our culture and position within the market research industry. From debates on panel size and DIY to European Union forecasts and remote management strategies, uSamp’s has attempted to wrangle diverse perspectives and reveal our willingness to be transparent. We recognize the importance of contributing to the heated discourses that are happening in various MR forums across the web and at conferences. But at the same time, we realize that it is important to let you know how we operate. One of the key pillars to our success as a client-facing firm is our project management team and the methodology they use to put our panelists to good use. So without further adieu, let’s go behind the curtain, and find out how our PMs make uSamp tick. Norm Williams shares tips that are not only valuable to other PMs, but can be applied to client-services and consultants across the board.

by Norm Williams, Project Manager

In the world of project management, the definition of a successful project is one that is adequately completed according to clients’ specifications, and within their established timeline. Although this definition may sound simple, it is anything but straightforward. There are various nuances that go into managing a successful project. Years of market-research expertise certainly helps, but you never know what issues will come up that can throw even the most seasoned veteran for a loop.

All projects managers know there are a myriad of issues that regularly arise—which is why, communication, preparation, awareness and flexibility are key components in determining the success of a project.

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February 1st, 2012

Posted in Online Research

Entrepreneur Journeys: Sramana Mitra Talks Sample

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uSamp’s CEO, Matt Dusig recently shared his entrepreneurial path with  Sramana Mitra, founder of the One Million by One Million global initiative aimed at helping a million entrepreneurs to reach a million dollars each in annual revenue and beyond by 2020.

The case study can be accessed in its seven-part entirety on Sramana’s blog.

January 18th, 2012

Posted in Online Research

From The CFO’s Chair: Strategies For Coming Out Top In 2012

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by John Woolard, Chief Financial Officer

What if we told you that one of our leaders was a big wave rider with a photographic memory who once was lost in the Saudi Arabian desert, and now can be found in a corner office in Encino? uSamp challenges you to find another CFO with that street-cred. John Woolard is a CPA with more than 20 years of diverse financial leadership experience in entertainment, retail, manufacturing and distribution, including positions as CFO, VP of Finance, and Controllership. Before taking this role as CFO, he led finance teams in the U.K., Netherlands and the Middle East. Woolard has a proven ability to manage and optimize financial results within rapidly changing environments. He possesses an extensive background in strategic planning, financial reporting, treasury operations and internal controls and has solid relationships in the investor and lending communities. Woolard earned a degree in accounting and finance from Cal State Northridge. Not listed on his resume, but worthy of mention: his ability to read minds and penchant for English pubs especially–when Chelsea is playing.

As we reach the end of a year of rapid growth, it is hard to imagine that three years ago, we were a small but ambitious start-up where office space was a non-issue, and elbow grease went a long way. uSamp has been successful in expanding its reach in terms of employees, projects, markets, and clients. But as with any success comes responsibility.

Over the next 12 months, we will continue to face key challenges like growing the business in proportion to the revenue, and managing this growth while maintaining quality. These challenges are not new nor are they unique to uSamp, but are an inevitable part of maturing in the venture ecosystem. At this stage in our own venture, we continue to think big but stay focused. These key points create the ambition and stability we need to keep our competition guessing in 2012.

Thinking Big:

Over the past year, uSamp expanded its reach across North America, Europe, and India, and hired 100 new employees for entry-level roles, software engineers, and senior level strategy heads. This fast growth was necessary to accommodate for our growing traditional sample business, and essential in building the optimal infrastructure for the suite of new products launched over the year. It all comes down to timing–investing in the right projects and resources, and hiring the right people at the right time.

uSamp announced the official launch of our European business and local presence in London. With the help of our Gaelle Normand, our Managing Director in Europe, our growth in Europe greatly surpassed our expectations. The excitement, energy and anticipation on Grays Inn Road is reminiscent of our early days in Encino.

Additionally, we have invested time and resources into our India presence. This past fall key executives including myself from our North American office had the opportunity to spend time in the Indian office, and to witness the intelligent and dynamic team in action.

We have done a solid job of managing many different moving parts, in large part due to our strong leadership team who operates independently. We do a good job of bringing new ideas to light, and constructing a plan to make those ideas a tangible reality.

But all of this growth doesn’t come easy. It requires the dedicated management of a global enterprise, and staying true to our original intentions. Which brings me to my second point….

Staying Focused:

As uSamp continues to grow in terms of revenue, market grasp, panel numbers, and product offerings, it’s important to remember our original mission and value proposition. At the heart of uSamp is our panel—one of our strongest assets. We will continue engaging current panelists, while sourcing new niche panelists. Our focus will be on cultivating business, medical and Hispanic audiences, and expanding our reach to the Asian Pacific in order to meet the demands of the marketplace and better serve our clients’ needs.

In 2011, we’ve are lucky to have been rewarded by tremendous growth in North America and around the world. But at the end of the day, it’s clients that matter most—the key contributors to our success. We have a dedicated operations team that is on call 24/7, so that we can efficiently meet all of our global clients’ needs day and night. In all of the noise, the excitement, the chaos, it is easy to lose sight of our intentions. But we will continue to prioritize listening to our clients, to our leadership, to our employees. And we will continue to imagine ourselves in start-up survival mode. This past year, uSamp was recognized by The Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the best places to work in Los Angeles. We will strive to live up to the praise, and bring a dynamic work culture to every office across the globe.


January 5th, 2012

Posted in Industry Trends

Best of Blogs: uSamp’s Farewell to 2011

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Fall 2011 marked uSamp’s foray into the market research blogosphere. The Greenbook Blog, Next Gen Market Research, Innovation Evolved, Research Access, Love Stats, Forrester, MRGA’s Social Advisory…you’ve certainly inspired and set the industry standards high! We wanted engage in the dialogue that is central to our field of work. We wanted to join in on the debates around  DIY, gamification, privacy, sample quality, and consumer insight. It has been our objective to add value to a space already a-buzz with information.

uSamp is comprised of thought-leaders both wizened MR folks, and young innovative minds. We will continue tapping the intel we have inside in hopes that we can provide a feisty debate, a helpful take-away, a peek into how we work, even just a chuckle or two. We pride ourselves on transparency, and will continue to develop our blog to foster an open, intelligent and colorful community. We hope that you have enjoyed uSamp’s perspective thus far, as we will continue ramping it up in the new year.

To close out 2011, we decide to bring back some of the greatest hits from our freshman album. Without further ado, we invite you to revisit the following posts:

As always, we encourage your feedback and live for your ideas. Thanks for a terrific 2011, and here’s to lots of discussion and insight in the new year!

December 21st, 2011

Posted in Industry Trends