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ARF set to test online panel research quality

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New York—The Advertising Research Foundation and eight major advertisers will test a pilot program to ensure that online research panels are reliable, nonduplicated sources of demographic samples.

ARF's new Quality Enhancement Process will be tested later this year by Procter & Gamble Co., Coca-Cola Co., Kraft Foods, Microsoft Corp., Bayer, Capital One, General Motors and ESPN. Among other factors, respondents on online research panels will be tracked for how long they've been panel members and how they are compensated for their participation.

Advertisers often rely on surveyed panels of prospective buyers to gather sentiment and product feedback. However, results have been skewed by a small group of individuals who participate in numerous panels and surveys. There also have been instances of cheating, in which respondents answer the same question in different ways or simply give the same response to a series of questions.

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