The ARF Response to "Life-Support" Threat: Online Research Quality Council

Geoffrey Precourt

In September 2006, when a voice no less persuasive than one of the chief market researchers for the world's largest advertiser cautioned that the industry soon would "be on life support" if it did not react immediately to changing market conditions, the sense of urgency was palpable.

"[It was a] sense of convergence of associations, of thinking, of developing problem-solving approaches," remembered Joel Rubinson, chief research officer of the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF). "It was a period of stormy weather for the marketing-research business. Procter & Gamble had publicly stated that it had received online research results from successive projects that appeared to be inconsistent.  And others shared similar experiences. Questions were raised publicly about 'professional respondents.' The trustworthiness of online research was in question."