Why I stopped filling out online surveys for free?


Ever since Amazon gifted me a $50 voucher for filling out a survey about their cloud services, I have stopped filling out surveys for free (with the exception of when it’s for a good non-profit cause), and I recommend you to do the same. The simple reason is that I want to help teach all organizations that my sincere opinion about anything is my asset that I am prepared to sell, but not to give away for free. Nowadays, I always reply to any free rider survey request with a question, “what’s in it for me?”, but I rarely get an answer.

That’s not so strange, because there is still a wide-spread misconception that actually asking customers what they think is all that is needed to create customer satisfaction.  This is no longer the case, but the issue is even bigger, because it’s really about me sharing all of my personal data. Not only my personal information, like name, address, phone, date of birth, etc but also what I do online, like the sites I visit, what I do there, the apps that I use, and the features I use in those apps, etc. Everything is very interesting to most companies, but these are my assets and I want to be in total control of them and even have the choice to sell them at the right price.

The days of capturing user information and interactions in a hidden way are over. Doing that today will only risk yet another “privacy” scandal, which have been very common these days. Instead, my recommendation to all organizations is to be completely transparent with what they want to capture and what they are offering in return. It could be as simple as just informing about the use of cookies (which is actually a law in EU) to track user interaction, which everyone currently seems to accept to allow for free, but this might change. It could be a more advanced integration between a site or an app with the Facebook Ad network to understand social interaction around an organizations products and services.

What will probably surprise most organizations is that many people are willing to trade their personal online data for a decent compensation, so why not try it?

Christian Forsberg


Chris Forsberg is Sogeti's Global Chief Architect, and his current passion is serverless architectures with microservices, cognitive solutions like chatbots, automation, and beautiful delivery. He has a long background as an architect of digital solutions for many clients on all the major platforms, and love to experiment with new technology. For example, he has put together a YouTube video series on how to get started with the Internet of Things, and has been involved in the implementation of more than 100 apps on iOS and Android. With a global network of 600 architects, he is devoted to creating intellectual property, and one example is Digitecture, a reference architecture for digital platforms. Other examples are Appitecture®, a start package for app projects, and Appcademy®, a certification program for app developers. Chris has received several technology leadership awards including Top 100 Developers (Sweden), and ten years awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) by Microsoft. He was an official writer for Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) for many years and has also co-authored a book on mobile development in 2001.

More on Christian Forsberg.

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