Before the emergence of the Internet, there were two major conventional ways of doing intellectual property consumer surveys — mall intercept surveys and telephone surveys. Mall intercepts work best for branded, consumer products where there is a visual element to be tested. They are moderately expensive and require some incentive. Telephone interviews are good for brand names, genericness studies or other types of research where the respondent does not need to view a visual. Most telephone research requires no incentives.
The Internet, in theory, combines the best of both worlds. Internet surveys not only permit the asking of verbal questions and recording verbatim answers, they also permit transmission of visual images such as products, labels, logos and packaging. Internet technology also permits sound transmission. Transmission costs are minimal with an e-mail blast of 5,000 names costing about $800 or $160 per thousand. (Typical mall costs are $30-$40 per interview). Unfortunately, there is no telephone book for e-mail addresses, and in order to use this medium you have to hook into a vendor that has large opt-in consumer panel data bases. By using opt-in panels, you will bypass all the SPAM filers and anti-SPAM on-line watchdogs. Moreover, you have an instant, real-time tabulation process.