Research is important. Be that academic, commercial or government led. We need to know how things work and whether or not they work well. You can’t build robust policies (or laws) in a vacuum and you need to know how well (or badly) they’re working. For us as a company the kind of research we come across most often is that conducted by the various vendors we work with. So, for example, a registry operator might do research on domain name renewal rates, pricing or attachment of various services. Seeing how these various things work together can help us all to understand what kind of services the market needs or how to position them more effectively.
But when we are asked to help with research we know full well that it is for some kind of research or survey. We can choose to participate or not and we also know why we’re being asked the questions we get.
Unfortunately some people don’t seem to “get” this and think it’s perfectly acceptable to suck people and companies into their research dishonestly.
Some privacy researchers at Princeton fall into this category. I’ve written about it all in more detail here.
What I don’t understand is why so many people seem to think that the non-apology from the main guy is so “wonderful”. Is this a cultural thing?
We’re yet to receive an apology. And many of the recipients of the original bogus emails still won’t be aware that they were all part of a “study”.