The Internet has become a massively powerful tool in changing the way in which companies to business. In creating a way for customers to give their opinions on products – and rewarding them for doing so – the paid survey has become a major niche in the online world. Companies who have spent millions on advertising their products in the past have still seen their bottom line fall as they failed to take some things into account, and unilaterally made decisions which have become unpopular. The response to this was to invite more customer opinions.
The way in which customer opinion has been courted is a testament to how the Internet affects our consumer habits. Not so long ago, companies would distribute leaflets entitling customers to a free portion of whatever they sell in return for filling out a short, essentially uninformative survey which told the company little more than the demographic of their existing customer base. Now, by offering money or transferable vouchers for the purpose of eliciting more information, they are able to find out more, while the consumer is able to make a choice as to what form their reward takes.
This is a sign that as the millennium heads towards its second decade, the consumer now has more power than ever. Companies are resurrecting products which they had previously felt to be unprofitable because the consumer is telling them that this is what they want. The benefits are tangible on both sides, and this seems set to continue.