Does commercial market research deserve special exemptions?

In this month’s ESOMAR Research World magazine David Stark, GfK’s VP of Integrity, compliance and privacy for the Americas, has written a great article on W3C’s Do Not Track project (DNT). DNT extends the logic of Do Not Call legislation to the internet. If DNT (Do Not Track) is implemented, which it probably will be, probably next year, then a large part of online passive market research will become impossible. It will also be much harder for website to analyse their visitor and user statistics, which will, in turn, make it harder to optimise their sites and harder to make a living from selling advertising. ESOMAR is involved in the WC3 DNT working group and is making the case that market research should be exempted from the DNT rules (for anonymous market research), just as market research tends to be exempted from DNC (Do Not Call) rules and some provisions of data protection laws. Clearly, defending the role of market research in these discussions is in the financial interests of market research companies and market researchers. However, do we feel that there is a social justification for what we are asking for? In discussing ethics, we probably need to distinguish […]

Is your mobile market research ethical?

As I have mentioned before, Navin Williams, Reg Baker, and I are producing a course on mobile marketing research for the University of Georgia’s Principles of Marketing Research course. As the materials are developing, I am posting some of the items here to get your feedback on whether we are on the right track and to acquire additional cases for the course. I have just finished a section on laws, guidelines, regulations, and ethics and I have included a checklist. I would appreciate hearing you views on the checklist below. Ethics Checklist – Mobile Marketing Research No list can be complete or fully up-to-date, but this checklist should be useful when scoping a mobile marketing research project, in terms of ethics and guidelines: Is it legal? Check whether, in the country where the research is happening, with the approaches being used, and for the topic being researched, is it allowed within the relevant laws? In all cases the law should take precedence over industry or company guidelines. With a mobile study this includes when and how you can contact people (auto-dialers are not legal in some countries), what you can record (location and traffic data are restricted in some countries), […]