I’m not a fan of incentives in general, though I think they may sometimes be necessary.
The other day, I did some account management at Sprint’s website, which required a (pretty unsatisfying) live chat with a representative. Afterwards, the system asked me to take a survey about my experience, which I of course did. I didn’t notice them telling me there’d be an incentive — turns out they wanted to give you a free ring tone if you took the survey — most likely I just sped past that bit to get started.
I did, however, notice the details of what exactly I’d need to do in order to actually get my ring tone:
What could be easier?
From my standpoint, this is just another tiny nail in the coffin of online research. When you can’t get the incentive you were promised without jumping through seventeen hoops, how likely are you to believe the next researcher who claims you’ll be compensated for your time?
(Adding insult to injury: you’re not going to see this survey unless you interact with a Sprint representative in a chat. You’re not going to need to interact with a Sprint representative unless you’re already having a problem. Sprint already knows how bad its customer service is, so they can be reasonably sure the only people who take this survey were angry when they first got to the website and that a healthy percentage of them got even angrier after they had their chat. So now you’re going to ask them questions and then “reward” them with a nonredeemable incentive? Classy.)