I recently attended a webcast hosted by the American Marketing Association entitled Assessing the Accuracy of Online Panel Research.
Overall, online panels may seem ideal since they typically give you access to a large list of people from your target market. However, some panels often have a large number of “professional respondents” (those who participate in panels or surveys for the purpose of financial gain or rewards). Since these people usually care very little (if at all) about answering questions truthfully and completely, this could strongly affect the accuracy of your survey data.
To avoid this common pitfall, the next time you’re conducting panel research, make sure to ask your research partner how people were selected for the panel you’re using, how often the panel list is cleaned, and what safeguards they have to protect their lists from professional respondents.