Friday, December 16, 2011

Change the methodology, please

Disclosure: AT&T pays me a salary, but these thoughts are all mine. If anyone has a problem, it's my nick at my nick dot com. I also am writing this quickly, I will expand this on my Google+ post.

I decided to do a blog post today because a tweet is not enough to get it out.

When I decided to get into the workforce, it wasn't by my choice. My mother told me I needed to get a job because, well, I don't know why for sure. I would only assume that my mother wanted me to learn that the real world doesn't care about attempts, only results.

I'm reminded of that again when I read articles about the annual Consumer Reports wireless carrier survey results. AT&T gets rated last again, year after year, by the most non-scientific survey ever.

True surveys, by statistical and scientific standards, try to take a sample as broad, random, and unbiased as possible. This is to prevent skewed result towards one answer or another, and is accepted by most disciplines as the proper way to conduct surveys.

I'm not upset with the position that one company has over another, I'm upset with the methodology that Consumer Reports uses in order to conduct its surveys. The biggest issue I have is the fact that they only allow subscribers to take part in the survey. I can believe that Consumer Reports is using the ability to take the survey as a carrot for purchasing the magazine, but this mindset allows for people to use this platform to "hang" companies they don't like.

I have people that I know on a personal level that can't wait until the summertime to get their Consumer Reports survey for wireless carriers. I know two people that subscribe to the magazine just to bash another carrier I am not involved with. I cannot condone this behavior by Consumer Reports anymore.

I am asking Consumer Reports to consider going to a random sample for the surveys that they conduct, not just wireless, but all of them. I like their methodology for their product testing, and I am willing to consider their actual product reviews when I am shopping. I wish that Consumer Reports would take a more scientific approach when it comes to surveys in order to decrease the appearance of impropriety that always gets called out every year by everyone involved except for the winner.