Manipulation of blog research study worries advertisers

My unexpected love for research came when I first met Prof. Dan Petre – later on, Prof. Septimiu Chelcea made me see beyond the studies, samples, SPSS sheets.

I recently received a press release and I could easily identify classical manipulation techniques. This is probably why amateurs can scare away advertisers from blogs.

The press release was called “Majoritatea internauÅ£ilor români citesc zilnic între două ÅŸi cinci bloguri – studiu” (Most of Romanian Internet users read between two and five blogs on daily basis). The first technique, used from the title, was generalizing on the Romanian Internet users.

I stopped after reading the first paragraph on Mediafax:

“Majoritatea internauÅ£ilor români citesc zilnic între două ÅŸi cinci bloguri, numai 2,9% lecturând mai mult de 50, este rezultatul unui studiu de audienţă al blogurilor realizat pe cele mai vizitate 40 de bloguri româneÅŸti, informează un comunicat.”

Most of Romanian Internet users read between two and five blogs on daily basis – only 2,9% of them read more than 50 blogs – this is the result of a study regarding blog audiences made on the most visited 40 romanian blogs

Why is this a manipulation?

Researchers call it “representative sample” when making a study. This means that the population participating in the study has to be representative for the whole universe (in this case, the Romanian Internet Users).

The participants in the study were not random Romanian Internet Users since the study was made on the blogs. They were blog readers and of course, if you make a study on a people reading blogs they all are going to say that they indeed read blogs 🙂 It’s obvious.

“The most visited 40 romanian blogs” are also not representative for all the Romanian Internet users and I’m afraid that their traffic cumulated is not even close to a medium .ro Internet website.

I don’t support amateurs doing complex socio-demographic researches and I don’t think that manipulating a study in such a manner can help anyone. It’s bad for the Romanian internet industry, it’s bad for the bloggers and it’s ridiculous.

Ridiculous because some people (self declared media analysts) wrote that the study shows that the audience reading blogs is better than the audience reading quality newspapers. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to laugh or to cry, but I’m pretty sure that Prof. Septimiu Chelcea would be pretty mad seeing how some people are an embarrassment for sociology.

I wrote this article because some of the people in the agencies were amused with the findings of the study and told me that we need much more time to see maturity on this market. The blogs present in the study are not even in BRAT/SATI, they are not audited nor participating in SATI’s audience research but they promise too many things they cannot deliver.