Google Consumer Surveys: "Super Important" For Publishers?

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Google has introduced Google Consumer Surveys, trying to kill multiple birds with a single stone. Those birds would be publishers looking for revenue sources and less-than-stellar market research.

With the product, publishers can use this instead of a pay wall , so they can get something out of readers who may not want to pay to read an article, or even take the time to register.

"The idea behind Google Consumer Surveys is to create a model that benefits everyone," says Google product manager Paul McDonald. "You get to keep enjoying your favorite online content, publishers have an additional option for making money from that content, and businesses have a new way of finding out what their customers want."

He further explains on the Google News blog:

Publishers get paid for hosting surveys. A number of publishers, such as the The Texas Tribune, the Star Tribune and Adweek have already started running these microsurveys on their sites.

So what’s the point of these questions? From international brands to local food trucks, every business owner wants to make important decisions with their customers’ feedback in mind. That’s why we’ve created Google Consumer Surveys, a new business-facing product that makes custom market research easy. It enables companies to ask questions (the ones you'll later see on your screen) and get back quantitative results quickly, accurately and cost-effectively. Companies have already been using it to research everything from online shopping behavior (Lucky Brand Jeans) to gluten-free baking mixes (King Arthur Flour), and to assess brand awareness (Timbuk2) and inform product development (479 Popcorn). Google shares the money these companies spend with our publisher partners.

Google's head of web spam, Matt Cutts, had this to say about the new offering on Google+:

Problem: Newspapers and publishers want more funding options so they can produce premium, high-quality content.

Problem: Market research is slow and broken in many ways.

Solution: When a visitor lands on a page with premium content, they can answer a question to get to the content (much friendlier than asking people to pay for content directly). Publishers earn money and visitors get higher-quality content. Meanwhile, market research and polling gets easier, faster, and cheap enough that almost anyone can do it.

I really like that this is a new option to help produce higher-quality content on the web. It's like micropayments, but users don't have to pay with money--they can pay with their time or opinions.

Google's Chris Messina says:

It's pretty straight-forward (shamelessly pulled from their site [1]):

1. You create online surveys to gain consumer insight
2. People complete questions to access premium content
3. Publishers get paid as their visitors answer
4. You get nicely aggregated and analyzed data
I've watched this product grow from a kernel of an idea to a full-fledged product and think it has great potential.

Google's Chris DiBona says, "I think this is actually a super important product for writers and publishers."

At least we know Googlers like it.

Here's an example of one being used (from

Survey in action

There's a form publishers can use to sign up for the service here.

Do you think this is a significant offering? Will it help fill a void in publisher revenue?

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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