Ok… you get a lot of crap in the mail, and I was seconds away from shredding something I got from Arbitron, but on a whim I opened it.
Inside was a crispy dollar bill and a letter.
I have to admit the dollar got my attention.
Arbitron, according to their letter was a radio ratings company and they wanted me (randomly selected in the area) to fill out a survey of my radio listening habits. This info was used to make marketing and station programming decisions and I would be getting a call from someone who would want to sign me up. They did actually call a few days later like the original letter had stated, left a message that stated they hoped I would contact them to participate. No hard sell, not pushy, sort of matter of fact.
I went to the internet and Googled Arbitron. The webosphere was distinctly divided on the subject. There were some that said there were scams going on in Arbitron’s name. Watch out for letters without the Arbitron logo! They answered lengthy phone interviews and were promised cash and never got it. The Arbitron company itself seemed to be legit, and there were an equal amount of folks that said that they filled out the diary and got 5 bucks for their efforts and felt good about it.
I went to the website. Actually, it seemed for real.
What was an Aural Retentive to do?
I signed up online. I didn’t really want to talk to anyone. I was informed via e-mail that my diary would be coming in the mail and that I just needed to fill it out and return it postage paid. I figured I would turn the buck they sent into a discount record from Half Price Books.
My Radio Ratings Diary package came today.
With 2 dollars included, so now I am up to $3. It cost over 2 bucks to send the stuff to me.
Inside, the Diary seemed pretty straightforward. There is a specific week that they are collecting info on: Thursday August 29th to Wednesday September 4th. You fill out the grid for the days of the survey.
Seems innocuous. Mine will be easy since I basically only listen to 1 radio stations. WSUM, The Snake on the Lake. On occasion though I will surf, but rarely, so filling out the survey won’t take much effort. There are some “Quick Questions” at the back of the survey, but they are generic enough. If they are just trying to get this info from you, they are spending a lot (the diary kit cost $2.07 to send to me and they included 2 bucks) and getting little.
I’ll do it, buy 3 records with the money they sent and hopefully help the radio stations get some info, and hopefully not become inundated with “special offers” and MORE crap because of it.
Guess what? I just received another phone call from Arbitron as I was writing this. They were calling and confirming that the diary had been sent and that I should have received it and that if I had any issues filling it out to give them a call. A reminder of the dates of the survey and a friendly goodbye.
If they are scamming me somehow, at least they are nice about it. I have answered more probing questions over the phone for less reputable companies or political groups.
I hope that what I am filling out will somehow help the morning show guys on WSUM (DJ Wiki Ben – Pattern Recognition on Tuesdays 6-8am and DJ Renton – The Sum of All Parts on Thursdays 6-8am) and WSUM as a whole and maybe buy me some Karma points.
That makes me think of “Karma Police”.
Maybe I should request that song.