Monday, July 31, 2006

note that manipulation begins with 'man'

nielsen payment
(it's not illegal or anything to scan cash, right?)

So last week I agreed to do a Nielsen survey for $15 but then, upon considering lessons to be taken from my recent quasi-epiphanic reading of Women Don't Ask, I sent them an e-mail saying I'd only do it if they gave me more money. The original payment was already on its way, of course, and I received the check the other day. If you believe the previous sentence, you are ignorant of the ways of contemporary science-based surveys. Of course they wouldn't send me a check. The science is to say cash, because I'll feel more morally obligated that way, whereas with a check I can always just not deposit it. (Note, incidentally, that it costs Nielsen nontrivially more to send cash than a check, for a variety of reasons, but they do cash anyway because cash works so much better.) Not only did I know they would send the $15 as cash, but I knew the bills would be crispy new (survey respondents are known to respond more favorably to crisp bills) and that they wouldn't send me a $10 and a $5 (for a $10 incentive, it's known that two $5 bills work better than one $10 bill, presumably because it somehow seems like more money).

I learned I'm not fully up on the science, though, because I was expecting three $5 bills. Instead, I get two $5s and five $1s. Which has to be more effective than three $5s, because it costs more to send $5s and $1s than just $5s, and everything Nielsen does is either going to be respondent-manipulation-science optimal or an experiment to figure out something even more optimally optimal.

You might wonder whether I would be reticient to spend the $15 even though I'm not doing the survey without more money. I mean: isn't that dishonest? Perhaps Old Me would have thought that. I didn't ask them to send me cash, however. They sent me cash precisely because it's supposed to make me feel more guilty and do their survey. New Me is not so easily maniupulated. New Me got some ice cream yesterday, and paid for it with crispy-new $1 bills.

16 comments:

A+ said...

When I was a Nielsen family ths month, they sent me a 10 and a 5.

jeremy said...

So either there's a difference between Nielsen Internet and TV respondents, or we're part of an experiment

Lucy said...

The two fives and five ones do look like a lot more money than just a ten and a five.
How do you get Nielsen to send you money, anyway?

Anonymous said...

"The science is to say cash, because I'll feel more morally obligated that way, whereas with a cash I can always just not deposit it."

I'm confused by these two sentences. typo?

jeremy said...

Lucy: It takes a certain skill to be selected as a random sample respondent. Also, your likelihood of being selected is proportional to a household's person to phone line ratio. I don't know if have access to cel phone lines for sampling purposes; my guess is no, and I was called on my landline.

Anon: It was a typo. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

May your tummy grow ever rounder, compliments of Nielson.

kjkulsbx

Anonymous said...

So. You agreed. Then asked for more money after the agreement. Then retired with cash to eat ice cream. What a guy. I'll now cross the street when I see you coming.

jeremy said...

Yes, get out of the way when you see my manly-self sauntering down the street.

Tonya said...

Just reading this post sends shivers down my spine.

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

Mostly it makes me want ice cream.

Anonymous said...

Here comes the man. Wow.

Winston said...

The MAN who MANipulates for MANna...

Was it perhaps MANgo ice cream? Or just some variation of Rocky Road?

Sister A said...

I want to know what you're going to buy with the five's?

marc said...

If only I could be so manly. I did however try to ask Jeeves about the legality thing. He retired, but according to ask.com, well, check it out.

Karton said...

Color reproduction of U.S. currency is allowed, per specific guidelines. The allowance for color reproductions was made in the mid-1990s; previously, only B&W was allowed. We are guided by the U.S. Code, which text I am copying from the Web site of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing:

"Authority: 18 UNITED STATES CODE; 504: Treasury Directive Number 15-56 FR 48539 (September 15,1993) 411.1 Color illustrations authorized.

"(a) Notwithstanding any provision of chapter 25 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, authority is hereby given for the printing, publishing or importation, or the making or importation of the necessary plates or items for such printing or publication, of color illustrations of U.S. currency provided that:

"1. The illustration must be of a size less than three-fourths or more than one and one-half, in linear dimension, of each part of any matter so illustrated;

"2. The illustration must be one sided; and

"3. All negatives, plates, digitized storage medium, graphic files, magnetic medium, optical storage devices, and any other thing used in the making of the illustration that contain an image of the illustration or any part thereof shall be destroyed and or deleted or erased after their final use in accordance with this section."

Anonymous said...

Cheating is manly.