I was reading Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people and then time.com asked me to fill out “a short online survey”.
I love filling out short online surveys. They usually have silly questions about the experience with the website – “Did you find the information you were looking for?”, “Was the information easy to find?”, “How often do you visit ourstupidsite.com?”, etc. The kind of questions that clueless marketing departments and web design studios live by. In the end i am usually presented with a field where i can add personal comments. I always add personal comments and get the warm fuzzy feeling that nobody will read them. I only received a reply to a personal comment once. Guess from which site (the answer is at the end of this post).
Well, i was wrong. This survey is not about time.com. It’s about the financial crisis:
- Please write three brands of car brands, in particular luxury car brands. (I wrote Lexus, Lincoln and Mercedes. How do you know that this survey was written by an idiot? Any website style guide will tell you to use underlining only for links.)
- Next time you are looking to lease or purchase a vehicle, how likely are you to consider each of the following luxury automotive brands? [ ] Infiniti [ ] BMW [ ] Mercedes Benz
- Please indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements about Infiniti:
- Makes vehicles with inspiring performance
- Makes vehicles people feel inspired by
- Makes vehicles with exhilarating performance
- Is inspired about the way they design and engineer their vehicles
- Is for people who enjoy doing their own thing
- Is a brand I aspire to own
- (Well, none of the above, but it inspired me to do my own thing and write this blog post, and i sure hope that it’s exhilarating!)
- Which of the following websites have you visited in the last 4 weeks? Partial list: Amex.com, CNN.com, Food&Wine.com, MyRecipes.com, SI.com, SouthernAccents.com. (I totally had to visit SouthernAccents.com after i saw its URL, but was disappointed to find that it’s not a linguistics site. Plus, how do you know that this survey was written by an idiot, part II? Food&Wine.com cannot be a URL.)
And, damn it, they didn’t have a field in which i could put a personal comment in the end. This puts them at the bad end on the scale of websites that care about their visitors. On the good end there is scientology.com – the only website that ever sent me a reply to my personal comment at the end of a “short online survey”. What’s even stranger is that they didn’t offer me to take a personality test. They just said: “Thank you for your comments, they were very well-received!”. And i had a feeling that it was written by a human being. That was scary thought number 1.
Scary thought number 2: A degree in Sociology was probably required to get a job writing these surveys.
A friend of mine told me that he came from a small-town Yemenite family. “They didn’t teach us a lot in the school there,” he said, “the math teacher, for example, called the infinity symbol ‘Eight Taking a Rest'”.