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Internet

Firm creates polling tool based on user profiles

Research firm Greenfield Online is slated to launch a division focused on do-it-yourself surveys, allowing entrepreneurs, politicians and writers to get feedback from individuals on the Net.

    Research firm Greenfield Online on Monday is slated to launch a division focused on do-it-yourself surveys, allowing entrepreneurs, politicians and writers to get feedback from individuals on the Net.

    The new tool, called QuickTake.com, can be used to immediately test consumer reactions to ideas, products, concepts, packaging and political issues before companies sink time and money into a new venture, Greenfield executives said in an interview today.

    Respondents for the polls are located through partnerships with advertising firms that profile consumers, such as DoubleClick, AdAge and Flycast. A person who wants to participate in a poll can click on the survey banner ad sponsored by one of the partnership firms.

    Once the respondent clicks on the ad provided by one of the firms, a unique identifier, or cookie, will spell out a person's sex, age and other demographic information, which is critical for polling purposes, said Mark Hardy, QuickTake's general manager.

    If, for example, a company wants to tap the opinions of 100 females who live in New York and are between the ages of 40 and 50, the polling device will drop each survey until the right group emerges. Those who participate are entered into a sweepstakes for a $500 prize.

    Such profiling practices have recently raised the ire of privacy groups, which have lambasted DoubleClick for tracking and identifying Net users.

    But Hardy said the company believes surveys are a "positive use of Internet profiling."

    The QuickTake service has two functions: One is designed to randomly survey Net users, and the other allows company managers to poll their own employees through an in-house email list. QuickTake is designed to complement Greenfield Online's research offerings, Hardy said.