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Online polls: the good, the bad and the ugly

Online polls: the good, the bad and the ugly

Online polls can be a fantastic way to gauge the opinions of the public. They offer a democratic, fair way to give people a say, and they are a fast and efficient way to gather market research. However, sometimes online polls can backfire. With online surveys having the ability to go viral, it can sometimes mean the person conducting the poll receives a result they may not want to hear. Here are five online polls that didn’t go to plan…

Boaty McBoatface fail

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) recently invited people to suggest names for their new £200m research vessel, due for launch in 2019. Although there were some ‘sensible’ suggestions one of the most popular names, with over 16,000 votes, was to call the new ship ‘Boaty McBoatface’. At least it would be memorable!

Bieber’s North Korea tour

In 2010 an online poll was set up to vote for a new tour destination for Justin Bieber. Unfortunately, North Korea came out the winning spot – somewhere where Mr Bieber would be unlikely to be welcomed by the authorities as Western music is usually outlawed. Sadly he therefore failed to add this to his schedule.

Whale of a time

Greenpeace decided to conduct an online poll back in 2007 to name a wild whale, in an attempt to prevent its pod from being hunted. With an incredible 78% of the vote, ‘Mr Splashy Pants’ was the clear winner. He even has his own Facebook page. Whether you’re a fan of the name or not, at least the poll successfully turned the world’s attention to the plight of the whales.

Rage against Simon Cowell

A slightly different example of an online poll giving the power to the public was when a campaign kicked off in 2009 to prevent another X-Factor winner from claiming the Christmas number 1. After a clever Facebook campaign, Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name’ sold 500,000 downloads - beating X-Factor winner Joe McElderry's ‘The Climb’ by 50,000 copies to clinch the top spot. Simon Cowell summed up his thoughts on the campaign by saying “it's stupid”.

Mountain Phew

An Italian restaurant launched a campaign in 2012 to find the name of a new soft drink. The campaign, called ‘Dub the Dew’, unfortunately failed to find a sensible idea. Popular suggestions included tounge-in-cheek titles such as ‘Hitler did nothing wrong’ and ‘Diabeetus’. The online poll was swiftly closed, with the name finally decided upon by the company bosses as ‘Mountain Dew’ – which seems rather boring in comparison.

So, as long as you can accept any possible outcome, and avoid a PR disaster, online polls can be an efficient way to gain the valuable input from the general public. Just be prepared that the result may not quite be what you had planned!

At Opinion Outpost, we offer paid surveys and online polls in the UK in exchange for rewards. Why not sign up for FREE and earn some extra money in your spare time, simply for sharing your opinion? Join us today and don’t forget to join in the conversation on our Facebook page.


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