In this age of data, approximately 95% of organizations use data to guide their marketing and decision-making. Yet, disturbingly, these organizations believe that 25% of their information is actually inaccurate. They are left with two options: accommodate the bad data into their everyday work or spend time and resources to correct it. The result is “lost productivity, wasted resources, increased cost per customer, fewer conversions, reduced revenue, and reduced profits."
How big is this impact, you ask? Shockingly large—IBM had calculated that poor data quality costs the US economy around $3.1 trillion a year! At the firm level, the MIT Sloan Management Review puts the average cost at “an astonishing 15% to 25% of revenue."
But it doesn’t have to be this way. With some collective effort, we can minimize the occurrence of dirty data. At Op4G, for example, we have implemented a number of measures to achieve this end:
- Clean ID: In 2020, after testing all available fraud prevention solutions, Op4G migrated our survey platform to CleanID. This solution gives a unique ID to each panelist who enters a survey and flags (in real-time) any fraud or re-entry. In addition to this, the software is connected with 30+ global blacklisting references to stop repeat offenders in their tracks. In the words of our COO, Frank Hayden, “CleanID caught the most fraudulent respondents across all tests…We’re excited for our panels to now have this level of security and our clients to have this level of quality."
- IP Blockers: Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are “numerical labels assigned to each device connected to a computer network” to identify the host and its location. When an Op4G panelist begins a survey, software logs his/her IP address. Later, if he/she attempts to start the survey again, an IP blocker springs into action! It blocks requests from the host, thus preventing the panelist from taking the same survey multiple times.
- Digital Fingerprinting: Of course, IP addresses are not always static. Internet service providers can change users’ addresses, as needed. To safeguard against such “dynamic IP addresses”, Op4G also employs digital fingerprinting. Digital fingerprinting uses “other details to pin down the identity” of a device, whether it’s the login information, operating system, browser, etc. This is yet another measure that helps ensure that a specific device completes each Op4G survey only once.
- ReCAPTCHA: Like Youtube, Ticketmaster, Twitter, and others, Op4G uses a ReCAPTCHA system during the registration process. ReCAPTCHA asks users to “decipher hard to read text” or identify/match images, e.g. “click all photos that feature a car”. Though annoying to some, ReCAPTCHA serves a vital purpose. As the name implies (CAPTCHA = Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart), it prevents malicious bots from posing as panelists and taking surveys. (Fun fact: It has also helped digitize the entire New York Times archives!)
- Double Opt-In: During registration, Op4G also uses a double (or confirmed) opt-in process. This requires each panelist to provide an email address and then click a link in an email (sent to that address) to confirm registration. This double opt-in is an effective tool for warding off bots. Plus, as added benefits, it keeps Op4G survey invites out of spam folders and deters less engaged users from joining the panel.
- Traffic Cop: Op4G relies on Traffic Cop, essentially a firewall that “allows legitimate users in and repels any unwanted invaders” (i.e. hackers). The software is proprietary, however, is it analogous to a lock with a constantly changing combination code.
In addition to the above measures, Op4G administrators actively monitor our panelists. They pay particular attention to panelists who display suspicious patterns of behavior, according to algorithms. If administrators verify that a panelist is speeding, cheating, or lying, they immediately remove and blacklist him/her and follow up with the source they were recruited from. It is all part of a “zero tolerance” policy that sets us apart from other panel companies. To learn more, download our Data Security One-Pager below or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.